Cebuana entrepreneur vows to push for digitalization in Visayas MSME sector

A CEBUANA entrepreneur has underscored technology update and digitalization initiatives as her top priorities to help propel micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Visayas forward in the technology-driven business landscape.

This was the promise of Melanie Ng, who has been named the Visayas representative in the country’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council, another role she is taking after being elected as the regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Central Visayas.

In an interview on Friday, May 19, 2023, Ng said she “will bring insights and inputs from the Visayas business and our MSMEs to the national council.”

“I’m humbled to have been appointed and I’m determined to work hard on the MSMEs’ initiatives from the three regions in the Visayas,” said Ng. “I will communicate and align with the MSMED Councils from the three regions in the Visayas and get inputs as soon as possible so I can relay the same to the national council.”

Visayas comprises Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas.

Primary agency

According to the Magna Carta for MSMEs, the MSMED Council is the primary agency responsible for the promotion, growth and development of small and medium enterprises in the country by way of facilitating and closely coordinating national efforts to promote the viability and growth of small and medium enterprises, including assisting relevant agencies in the tapping of local and foreign funds for small and medium enterprise development, as well as promoting the use of existing programs, as well as seeking ways to maximize the use of our labor resources.

The Council is attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Ng said her role as the regional governor of PCCI Central Visayas is advantageous as she could get inputs from fellow governors in the Visayas on specific concerns of MSMEs in their respective regions.

“We can be the channel to elevate MSMEs’ concerns and best practices from the countryside to the national level as we work together to uplift our economy in the country,” she said.

In a separate interview, DTI 7 Director Ma. Elena Arbon welcomed Ng’s appointment, saying MSMEs in the Visayas will now have a voice in the national level.

Arbon said Ng will act as the bridge to relay all MSME-related concerns from the province to the higher office.


According to Ng, access to finance; impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and natural calamities; lack of management and operational skills and technology to scale up; market expansion and sales reach; volume and value creation of MSME produce as well as proficiency in digital technology; familiarity with e-commerce; financial management; branding, packaging and marketing to help increase market reach; and business planning and business resiliency planning are some of the challenges faced by the MSME sector.

The Marcos administration has set aside P1.2 billion to fund various government programs for MSMEs under the 2023 General Appropriations Act.

These programs are part of the MSME Development Plan and other initiatives of the DTI to promote the growth of MSMEs, establishment of Negosyo Centers, One Town One Product (Otop) Next Gen, and Shared Service Facilities (SSF), according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Of the total funding, some P583 million is allocated for the implementation of the MSME Development Plan and similar government programs while P487 million is earmarked to help establish Negosyo Centers.

The DBM is also allotting P97 million for the Otop Next Gen — a program that assists MSMEs in product development initiatives, training and referral, among others, to level up the products in design, quality and volume, and P80 million for the SSF, that gives MSMEs access to sophisticated machines and equipment to improve the quality of their products, increase their production capacity, accelerate their competitiveness, and expand their businesses.

The MSME sector comprises 99.5 percent of business establishments, 63 percent of the country’s workforce, and 40 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.