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8k entrepreneurs qualify for Sugbo Negosyo
By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Thursday, December 17, 2020
The Cebu Provincial Government and partner merchants for Sugbo Negosyo program sign a memorandum of agreement for the goods, supplies and materials to be given to the program beneficiaries. (Junjie Mendoza)

Christmas tidings await 8,250 Cebuano micro-entrepreneurs after qualifying for the Sugbo Negosyo micro-assistance program of the Province of Cebu.

On Monday, December 14, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between the Province of Cebu and the merchant suppliers of the goods and materials that the beneficiaries will avail of.

The qualified beneficiaries were also announced on the same day.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia expects distribution of coupons with the QR code to happen by next week. These will be released in batches. 

“Ang importante man gud dinha i-matching ni nato kun unsa imong negosyo. They were asked to submit a needs list para ma-identify, matagaan sad sila sa lista sa mga partner merchants nato,” Garcia told local media in a press conference held Wednesday, December 16.

Sugbo Negosyo is considered the first government initiative in the Philippines that seeks to help small and micro entrepreneurs affected by the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Sugbo or Sustainable Upliftment and Growth through Business Opportunities Negosyo” is a full grant program spearheaded by Garcia in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).

The program is unique as it uses a digital voucher to purchase the goods and materials instead of cash. 

A total of 17,881 entrepreneurs applied for the program but only 8,250 qualified the rigorous evaluation by the Provincial Board (PB), DTI and MCCI. Total funding amount is P97,990,000.

Some 251 micro and small entrepreneurs qualified for Category A or “Negosyong Padayonon” intended for established micro enterprise that need recovery and enhancement with a budget of P12 million.

Category B or “Produktong Sugbuanon” intended for new and existing micro-enterprise engaged in manufacturing or processing got 545 beneficiaries for a total amount of P10.9 million; and 7,454 for Category C or “Mga Serbisyo ug Gagmay’ng Patigayon” for a total of P74.54 million.

A continuing work

At the MOA signing, key Capitol officials and the private sector hailed the governor’s initiative that gave a clear direction for Province of Cebu to move towards economic recovery.

“It is a continuously evolving program and we would like to thank our governor, Gov. Gwen, for setting the direction very clear, nga tungod ang Province of Cebu is already going to open the economy then it is time that we have to look into supporting atong micro-enterprises nga mao gyuy naglisud ug nagkinahanglan sa atong tabang,” PB Member Glenn Anthony Soco said.

“We are backing it up with actions not just with words. You know half of the job is done, but the other half still needs to be worked on,” the chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Trade and Industry added.

Vice Governor Hilario Davide III expressed his trust and belief on the program’s success because of its rarity. Cebu is the only province in the country that offers such a program. 

“I will not be surprised na sa sunod tuig naa’y probinsya pud tingali mosunod pero kita’y nauna,” he said, adding that the PB will continue to assure its commitment to the programs of the governor. 

MCCI president Steven Alain Yu said Cebu businessmen are grateful to the Province and the governor for the “strong support” to the business community amidst these trying times. 

“Lisud na gyud kaayo. We have been on a nine-month lockdown and while we are conscious with the health situation, we should really be very serious in strongly moving forward and reopening businesses and the economy,” he said.

The business sector, he said, is “very excited” to be part of the Sugbo Negosyo program “which is the first of such program in the whole Philippines.”

“This sends a very strong message to the business community that the whole Province of Cebu is pro-life and pro-livelihood, as well,” he added.

DTI Assistant Director for Central Visayas Rose May Quiñanola said the Sugbo Negosyo program “is a worthy and commendable project which we hope will be adopted and replicated in other provinces.”

“Likewise, we encourage everyone to prioritize buying local products in support of our local businesses especially our micro and small medium enterprises,” Quiñanola said.

Garcia emphasized that while she started the idea, it was the full cooperation and collaboration of the leaders in the province and the business sector that turned it into a full-blown program.

“Nasayod ko nga ang mosunod nga mga lakang gikinahanglan gayud og panagtambayayong, pagtinabangay, makuti nga paghunahuna og unsaon ni nato pagpadagan ang maong programa,” she said.

“Kay dili ko buot nga mahimo kining usa lamang ka dole-out, nga basta nalang nakahatag ta og P100 million, naka press release na ta, pagkahuman way resulta. Kwarta ni sa katawahan, ibalik man tuod sa katawhan apan atong gibalik aron sila mismo makabalik pagbarug gikan sa kalisdanan nga ila karon gitagamtam tungod niining mga paghigpit sa Covid-19,” the governor expressed.

As the program is now rolling, Garcia said the next phase will be mentoring beneficiaries to make their endeavors successful. 

‘Through the Vice Governor’s and PB offices, DTI and MCCI will take on the even more challenging task of mentoring our beneficiaries. So, this is really a continuing work in progress,” she said. 

“But we have met this, what I might say, quiet a unique challenge because well, this is an original. Wa ta’y playbook nga sundan, wala’y set rules nga nahimo kay wala’y precedence. Karon pa ni nahimo. Tibuok nasud kita ray probinsyana nga nagsugod ani. But we move forward with a deep and abiding sense of hope because all hands are on deck, nagtinabangay ang tanan,” she added.

Garcia also emphasized that the MOA signing and announcement of beneficiaries is timely during this Christmas season which brings hope to everyone. 

“Because no matter what we may have gone through in each of our personal journeys, in each of our personal stories, Christmas always brings with it a sense of hope. The birth of the Child Jesus was like a clarion call throughout the entire world that God has come down from heaven to be born as man to save mankind,” she said.

“And it is with this deep and abiding sense of hope that we shall continue, we shall tackle the continuing challenge of now matching our beneficiaries with our merchants, of now seeing to it that the cards will be well-distributed and that when they do go to each of your establishments, the proper items will be secured,” she said.

“Daghan pa tang trabaho ug daghan pa ang atong kinahanglan plantsahon. But we’re halfway there,” the governor said.

With the continuing cooperation of everyone, Sugbo Negosyo, she said, will be “a shining example of what people, when working together, can achieve.”

“Busa, dinhi sa Sugbo ipakita nato, mga Sugbuanon nagtinabangay alang sa Sugbuanon,” she ended her speech.

The partner merchants that participated in the ceremonial MOA signing included SM Supermarket and Super Value, Cebu Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Virginia Foods, Cebu Commercial Equipment, Pahina, Cebu Home Builders, Habagat Outdoor Equipment, and Robox Cebu Manufacturing Inc, among others. (Vanessa L. Almeda)