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PBSP tackles idea of 'inclusive business' to stamp out poverty

January 22, 2013 7:42pm
The Philippines needs to grow by over 6 percent for 10 successive years to achieve inclusive growth and eradicate poverty, a process that can be accelerated if the private sector will practice the concept of “inclusive business,” the country's Economic chief said Tuesday.
“We see inclusive growth happening especially if economic growth continues its pace at 6 to 7 percent over the next 10 years,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told businessmen during the Philippine Business for Social Progress’ (PBSP) annual forum in Makati City.
Inclusive business means providing quality employment and creating products for the benefit of the poor, Balisacan noted. 
“There is a need to build strong social protection for Filipinos. We need to stop people from falling on poverty, and the private sector has a role to play in this,” he said.
“The private sector can help in providing high quality employment and expanding opportunities for the poor through their products,” Balisacan added. 
But Markus Dietrich, founder of Asian Social Enterprise Incubator, said businesses can do this if poverty eradication is integrated in the core business plan. “An inclusive business is a core activity within the company's business strategy that integrates the low income segment,” he told businessmen at the same forum. 
For this to happen, Manuel V. Pangilinan, PSBP chairman and head of various homegrown companies, said that providing the poor access to certain products means “Businesses have to see that inclusive is part and parcel of their business policy,” he said. 
Aside from providing jobs, Pangilinan noted that businesses should later on provide products to the “C, D and the base market.”    
Ramon Del Rosario Jr., president and CEO of property developer Philippine Investment Management Inc. (PHINMA), said the company sold row houses in a former squatter area for P2,000 a month, roughly the same amount the families there pay the local syndicate for the “right” to inhabit a certain space. 
“We negotiated through the help of the local government if the community would want to have a better home. It's part of our goal,” he said. 
For food and beverage manufacturer Nestle Philippines Inc. integrating poverty eradicating measures into the operations processes is key to achieving inclusive growth.
Nestle president and CEO John Martin Miller said the company adopted a business program that include buying coffee from local farmers.
Through these partnerships at the grassroots level “businesses [also] help in knowledge transfer,” Miller added. — VS, GMA News
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