Press Release
September 22, 2016

Social inclusion, key component to end poverty - Villar

Stressing that times have changed and mere dole-outs do not help the poor at all, Senator Cynthia A. Villar said social inclusion is now a key component of putting an end to the country's extreme poverty.

The World Bank defines social inclusion as "the process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society". It promotes shared prosperity and equal access to opportunities.

Speaking during the 24th Foundation Anniversary of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Taguig (PUPT) with the theme-- "PUPT and Government: Partnership through Community Engagement and Livelihood Initiatives," Villar said social inclusion is now the trend.

She noted that even in the private sector, foundations and corporate social responsibility (CSR) arms of companies are implementing social development programs that go beyond the livelihood skills training implementation.

"Many are now using livelihood enterprise development as a holistic strategy to improve the socio-economic status of indigent communities, " said Villar, chair of the Senate committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.

Due to this, Villar, who transitioned from being a business entrepreneur to becoming a social entrepreneur, used her role as a public servant and legislator not only to advance the causes of social entrepreneurship, but also establish her own livelihood programs or social enterprises.

?As a social entrepreneur, the senator said she is aware that it is hard to pursue and sustain a project. So her support does not start and end with providing legislative support through Senate bills, but also establishing livelihood projects as well as providing skills training.

"I want to encourage more people and groups, like you, to create social enterprises as well, " said Villar.

? She related that the livelihood component of her United Nations-awarded Las Pinas-Zapote river rehabilitation program when She was still a congresswoman started her journey in building livelihood projects, which are under the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance or Villar SIPAG.

"These are also considered as green social enterprises since the raw materials they use come from wastes or garbage: water hyacinths for the waterlily basket-weaving enterprise and the handmade paper factory; waste coconut husks for the coconet-weaving enterprise and the charcoal-making factory; kitchen wastes for the organic fertilizer composting facility; and waste plastics for the school chairs factory," said Villar. She said this was one of the reasons why they established Villar SIPAG which trains, teaches and empowers women, the youth, the jobless and even relatives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by enhancing their skills and know-how.

?On top of that, Villar said they also recognize the leading community enterprises through the yearly Villar SIPAG Awards.

"It recognizes good practices or innovations of community enterprises, which create jobs and increase household income. It also highlights outstanding initiatives of community enterprises as models of good practices in income poverty reduction. Every year, we name the 20 Most Outstanding Community Enterprises," she said.

According to the senator, job creation and livelihood generation through various program, including creating social enterprises or livelihood projects, are needed to reduce poverty in our country.

She noted that this is the difference of social entrepreneurs from the others. While social entrepreneurs aspire for the sustainability of their ventures or enterprises, they are not focused solely on profits since they help develop and empower communities and the society in general.

In doing so, Villar said social entrepreneurs also contribute to the country's growth and development.

"You, the youth, are a key component in that growth and development of the Philippines. The youth (with age ranging from 15 to 29) comprises 27 percent or about 27 million of the Philippine population. The youth have one of the highest potentials in breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty by not only engaging communities but empowering them through livelihood initiatives," the senator further told her audience.

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