Senator Villar Highlights Importance of Entrepreneurship in Nation Building

Categorized under: Newsletters

March 16, 2015

DSAP BOD with Camille2

Senator Villar Highlights Importance of Entrepreneurship During DSAP 1st GMM

Camille Villar, daughter of Senator Cynthia Villar inducts DSAP’s  2015 Officers and Board of Directors and relayed the senator’s message to DSAP during DSAP’s 1st General Membership Meeting  held at Max International Headquarters, Rockwell Center, Ortigas Center Pasig City.


Camille Villar reads Senator Villar’s message to the association which focuses on “The Heightening Relevance of Filipino Entrepreneurship”. Senator Villar in her message thanked DSAP  for bringing attention to entrepreneurship and stressed the value of encouraging the youth to be entrepreneurs.


“We should really join efforts in changing mindsets, equipping entrepreneurial-minded people with concepts, tools and strategies to excel and succeed in pursuing business opportunities.

Here is the full transcript of the message of Senator Villar to DSAP:


March 16, 2015

Proxy Speech for Senator Cynthia Villar (to be read by Ms. Camille Villar)

General Membership Meeting of the Direct Selling Association of the Philippines (DSAP)

Topic: “The Heightening Relevance of Filipino Entrepreneurship”

Max International Training Hall, 7/F Rockwell Business Center, Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City


Thank you very much to Direct Selling Association of the Philippines (DSAP) for inviting my mother, Senator Cynthia Villar, to be part of your general membership meeting today. Unfortunately, she could not come here today personally, so she sent me to be here. I am happy and honored to be here with all of you. My mother has prepared a speech for this event, please allow me to read it to you.

First of all, I would like to commend DSAP for your all-out and steadfast support to entrepreneurship and of course, entrepreneurs. I am always happy to talk about entrepreneurship and all its forms—particularly business entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and about agri-entrepreneurship (since I am presently the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food).

I am glad that your organization is bringing attention to entrepreneurship, through the topic assigned to me, Topic: “The Heightening Relevance of Filipino Entrepreneurship”. We should really join efforts in changing mindsets, equipping entrepreneurial-minded people with concepts, tools and strategies to excel and succeed in pursuing business opportunities. Particularly, the youth, we need to encourage and entice them to become entrepreneurs.

Former Senate President Manny Villar and I, as most of you know, are advocates of entrepreneurship and we have been calling out for a new generation of entrepreneurs. In fact, we are happy that an increasing number of schools and universities are now offering entrepreneurship courses.

A few months ago, we passed Senate Bill No. 2212 or the Youth Entrepreneurship Act of 2014, which I co-authored. That will further promote entrepreneurship among the youth, since it calls for the inclusion of entrepreneurship as a separate subject in   secondary education of our students. We really need to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset among the youth.

And among the salient points of the Youth Entrepreneurship Act of 2014 is setting up “enterprise incubation laboratories and creative spaces in schools and communities in coordination with eligible entities. It also requires information on the availability of government assistance and other training programs and possible entrepreneurial and financial ventures will be provided to the youth, through the use of website and other forms of communications.

I think that provision of the said bill is sending a message to young people and future entrepreneurs that we support you. We encourage you to pursue entrepreneurship in all its forms. These youngsters, I am sure, are the ones involved and interested in direct selling, too.

Even small start-ups are a good indication of the growing entrepreneurial mindset in the country. More than 95 per cent of the businesses in the country are micro, small, and medium enterprises or MSMEs, which provide more than 50 per cent of jobs or employment.

We need entrepreneurs and MSMEs to grow the economy of our country. DSAP itself is growing strongly over the years or since you started in the late 1970’s with only seven companies. Now, you have a total membership base of 26 companies or maybe more, with over two million direct sellers and network marketers nationwide.

Direct sellers are a major driver of the growth of entrepreneurship. Wealth and jobs are created by small businesses started out by entrepreneurially-minded individuals, many of whom go on to create big businesses. DSAP’s members alone employ hundreds of thousands of people.

Kaya naman sa taunang OFW and Family Summit ng Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance or Villar SIPAG, we always include direct sellers as resource speakers and exhibitors. Direct selling is one of the best ways to venture into entrepreneurship, especially for overseas Filipino workers or their family members, because it is relatively easy and the returns are almost always guaranteed. Madaling pasukin ang direct selling at kung masipag at matiyaga ka, garantisado ang pag-unlad.

Bilang mga entrepreneurs, like your members here, we also started small. In fact, parte ng aming capital ay hiniram lang namin. Ang real estate company namin ay nag-umpisa bilang maliit na gravel and sand company. Nang mag-resign si Manny sa kanyang trabaho noong 1975, umutang sya sa bangko ng P70,000 and with our P10,000 savings  bumili kami ng dalawang second-hand trucks na ginamit namin sa pagdeliver ng graba at buhangin sa mga real estate developers. Sa awa ng Diyos at dahil sa aming sipag at tiyaga, napaunlad namin ang aming negosyo.

But entrepreneurship also has another form—social entrepreneurship. I am glad that I have transitioned from a business entrepreneur to becoming a social entrepreneur. I have also used my role as a public servant and legislator not only to advance the causes of social entrepreneurship, but also establish my own social enterprises.

​       As most of you are aware of, my advocacy is poverty reduction through job creation and livelihood generation. I have managed to realize those advocacies while pursuing another important advocacy, that of environment protection.

Nakapag-tatag ako ng mga livelihood enterprises under the Villar Foundation (now: Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) mula sa United Nations-awarded na Las Pinas-Zapote river rehabilitation program. Nabigyan namin ng kabuhayan at karagdagang-kita ang mahigit 500 families sa Las Pinas.

The livelihood enterprises include the waterlily basket-weaving, handloom blanket-weaving, coco net weaving enterprises, and organic fertilizer-making. Recently, we also started with handmade paper-making, charcoal briquettes-making, citronella oil-making and we also opened a waste plastics recycling factory, which produces school chairs from recycled waste plastics that we give away to various schools in Metro Manila and in other parts of the country, too.

I am proud to say that nakapagtayo na kami ng mga livelihod projects ng sa mahigit 500 towns and cities all over the Philippines. And counting, because there are 1,600 municipalities and cities in the Philippines. My goal is to establish at least one in every town or city.

The raw materials of these livelihood enterprises are 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 plastic wastes for the plastic chairs factory.

The benefits that these livelihood projects provide to the people, especially the poor, are direct and fast. They do not need capital also because the raw materials are from wastes and we provide the training and technology.

​As a social entrepreneur, I know that it is hard to pursue and sustain a project. So my support does not start and end at providing legislative support through Senate bills and through my livelihood projects as well as skills training. We are encouraging more people and groups to create social enterprises.

That is one of the reasons why we built Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance or Villar SIPAG. Villar SIPAG guides, trains, teaches and empowers women, the youth, the unemployed, and even relatives of OFWs to uplift their lives as well as enhance their skills and know-how. You are welcome to participate in our regular seminars and symposia.

On top of that, we nurture and recognize community-based social enterprises through continuously scheduled workshops, training sessions and symposia. We also recognize the leading and promising community enterprises through the yearly Villar SIPAG Awards (which started last year). It recognizes good practices or innovations of community enterprises, which grow 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 Top 10 Most Outstanding and the Top 10 Most Promising Community Enterprises.

We did not want to stop however by merely granting awards and recognition. We wanted to document their efforts—from their early struggles to eventual success. And we did this through the publication of the book, ‘Development Initiatives on Poverty Reduction: Learning from Community and Social Enterprises’ that now serves as a guide and inspiration to individuals and organizations in charting their own path to success. We will come up with a new book, featuring the strategies and success stories of last year’s winners of Villar SIPAG Awards.

As the current chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, I have also been promoting agri-entrepreneurship. There are concerns raised the Philippine farmers are getting older, so we need to get the young generation interested in agriculture. We can do so, through agri-entrepreneurship. Agriculture is not all about just tilling the land anymore. The young ones should realize that there are a lot of exciting opportunities in agriculture, and among which is agri-entrepreneurship or agri-business.

​About two-thirds of the country’s population lives in agricultural areas. ​There is still a lot of untapped potential in the agriculture sector. And that dormant force could very well be one of the major contributors for our goal of making our country’s economic growth more inclusive. Particularly for Filipino farmers and fisherfolks, who have always been considered as among the poorest sectors. Venturing into agri-business will help farmers diversify and supplement their agricultural incomes. Kailangan rin natin sila tulungan na makahanap at magkaroon pa ng ibang oportunidad upang lumaki ang kanilang kita. They can be direct sellers, too, you know.

​       I have been attending various trade fairs and exhibits here and abroad, many of the participants are ‘food-entrepreneurs’ which are under the category of agri-entrepreneurs. Half of the MSMEs in the country are involved in the food and beverage sector.

It is also a welcome development that direct selling is spreading outside of Metro Manila and into the provinces. It will really boost countryside development. I am encouraging entrepreneurs to tap the rural market in order to  slow the trend towards increasing urbanization, which is placing stress on public services in urban areas that is really getting congested with an increasing number of population.

As I cited, there are various avenues to entrepreneurship—business, agri or social entrepreneurship. And the possibilities are endless. So I hope that your organization will continue to promote entrepreneurship and that many more Filipinos will take the entrepreneurial path to be among those contributing to the economic development of our country.

On that note, thank you once again and I wish DSAP and all its members continued success. Mabuhay ang DSAP at ang direct selling industry sa ating bansa!