In a landmark move towards combating poverty and fostering inclusive growth, the submission of Senate Bill 782 or the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) program marks a significant milestone. “The essence of the PRESENT bill,” Joji Pantoja explains, “lies in its commitment to empower communities through social entrepreneurship.” By recognizing the impoverished not merely as recipients of aid but as active participants in the economic landscape, the program aims to create sustainable solutions to systemic issues. Ms Pantoja was invited to the Philippines Senate to share the vision of collaborative progress, where communities are equipped with the tools and resources to uplift themselves. “Through the PRESENT Program,” Joji adds, “we embark on a journey towards a more equitable and prosperous future… let us embrace the power of social entrepreneurship to transform lives and build thriving communities.”

The growing social entrepreneurial initiatives in the country

In recent years, social enterprises have emerged as powerful agents of change, blending economic success with social impact. These entities, distinct from traditional businesses, prioritize addressing social issues while pursuing profitability. The Philippines stands as a notable example of this global trend, boasting a significant number of social enterprises committed to creating positive change within communities.

Bill 782 is partly based on a study conducted by the British Council and the Philippine Social Enterprise Network. Accordingly, the Philippines hosts a remarkable 164,473 social enterprises. These enterprises actively engage in job creation, poverty alleviation, and the empowerment of marginalized groups. Their presence underscores a growing recognition of the vital role that social enterprises play in addressing pressing societal challenges.

The regulatory challenges faced by social enterprises in the country

Despite their commendable contributions, social enterprises in the Philippines encounter a regulatory landscape that fails to adequately address their unique characteristics and needs. Currently, they are treated no differently from traditional micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), despite their distinct focus on social impact.

This one-size-fits-all approach poses significant hurdles for social enterprises. It fails to recognize their specific challenges and inhibits their ability to maximize their potential for positive change. To unleash the full power of social enterprises as catalysts for inclusive development, a more tailored and supportive regulatory framework is urgently needed.

Experts advocate for a paradigm shift in the regulatory approach towards social enterprises in the Philippines. By acknowledging their distinctiveness and crafting policies that cater to their needs, the country can create an enabling environment for their growth and impact. Such a framework would foster greater participation of marginalized groups in entrepreneurial activities, leading to a more equitable distribution of wealth and opportunities.

The rise of social enterprises in the Philippines signals a promising path towards inclusive development. However, to fully harness their potential, policymakers must recognize the unique role and challenges of social enterprises and implement supportive measures accordingly. By doing so, the Philippines can embark on a journey towards a more equitable and sustainable future, where prosperity is shared by all.

Permanent link to this article:


We are sent by Mennonite Church Canada Witness in partnership with our international community.