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What's New in FSSI

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented health, economic, and social crisis affecting the most vulnerable sectors. Social enterprises will be critical to our COVID-19 response and recovery. 

Social enterprises, like every other form of business, have been affected and are among the worst hit by the pandemic, and often with people who need the most support. But despite not having systemic government assistance, many social enterprises have survived and adopted measures to respond and pursue innovations to help local communities adapt and recover.  

Social enterprises have proven to be effective models in creating employment and scalable local productivity, and building the capacities of poor communities in managing their resources. They not only try to fill gaps and serve needs, but also enable local communities to become agents of their own change.   

With the COVID-19 crisis, social enterprises have had to grapple with recovery even as they continue to pursue their social mission. When the pandemic threw markets into disarray, social enterprises stepped in as partners to support communities and local governments and spearheaded efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic – from the delivery of essential services to providing humanitarian relief.   

The disruption caused by the pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen and support social enterprises and create an enabling environment for them to prosper. It is time to bring them from the sidelines to the front lines in terms of decision and policy-making and allocation of resources. Social enterprises will create jobs, come up with solutions to global challenges, and accelerate sustainable business practices.   

Towards building back fairer, the PRESENT Coalition has embarked on various platforms to assist social enterprises recover in pursuit of food security, health and decent work for all, women’s economic empowerment and resilient and sustainable communities.  Social enterprises need an enabling environment and support programs that the government can and should provide, as embodied in the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill.  

The PRESENT Bill primarily aims to acknowledge and support social enterprises for their role in poverty reduction. It includes incentives and a governing body that will create an enabling environment for them to thrive and lift more people out of poverty.  

Support the call to pass the PRESENT Bill now. Sign the petition here 

I. What are Social Enterprises? 
A social enterprise or SE refers to primarily a social mission-driven wealth-creating organization, however organized, including non-stock or non-profit non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs), foundations, associations, cooperatives, sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, established to improve societal well-being as well as ecological sustainability. A social enterprise for purposes of the proposed PRESENT Act shall also mean a Social Enterprise with Marginalized Sectors as Primary Stakeholders (SEMPS).  

II. Key Features of the PRESENT Bill 
1. Recognition of Social Enterprises (SEMPS) 

SEMPS are social enterprises that explicitly declare and pursue poverty reduction or improving the quality of life of specific segments of marginalized sectors as a principal objective. A SEMPS engages and invests in the poor to become effective workers, suppliers, clients, and/or owners, and ensures that a substantive part of the wealth created by the enterprise is distributed to them. In addition to reinvesting its surplus or profits back towards the fulfillment of its social mission in a sustainable way, a SEMPS also uses its surplus or profits and mobilizes other resources to assist the poor to become partners in SE or value chain management/ governance and to become partners in community, sectoral and societal transformation. 

 2. National PRESENT Program: strategic economic sub-sectors as units of planning  
The planning framework of the PRESENT Program and its planning process shall ensure that the marginalized sectors are engaged as primary stakeholders. It shall add value and complement ecosystem-based, area-based, community-based and other tools and processes in local economic development by promoting and utilizing the economic subsector as a strategic unit of analysis and planning SE development interventions.  
The PRESENT Program shall identify and develop key SEMPS and resource institutions as partners in strategic economic subsectors that have the potential for growth and where large numbers of the poor are concentrated.  SEMPs shall be developed as vehicles to ensure that the marginalized sectors benefit the most from sustainable subsector development. 

3. Qualification of SEMPS  

To qualify for the benefits and incentives provided for in this Act, the SE shall: 

  • Provide or facilitate the provision of a combination of transactional and/or transformational services to improve the position and benefits derived by the poor from the SE and the value chain or economic subsector where the SE is located; 
  • Invest a substantive part of its surplus, profits or mobilize other resources to assist the poor to become partners in SE or value chain management/governance and/or to become partners in community, sectoral and societal transformation 
  • Make a proactive contribution to resolving social and environmental problems and generate profit or surplus with due regard to social and environmental costs 
  • Be engaged in economic activity within the sectors of agriculture and fisheries, industry and services which, for purposes of this Act, shall refer to an activity in any of the economic subsectors 
  • Ensure that a substantive part of the wealth created by the enterprise is distributed to the poor in the form of services, dividends and other forms of benefits, and payments and incentives for products or services rendered consistent with the principles of fair trade 
  • Be duly registered with the appropriate agencies as provided under the Corporation Code or the Cooperative Code of the Philippines, Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act, Microfinance NGOs’ Act, and other laws 

4. SE Support Programs 

  • SE Capability Building and Sustainability Program  
  • Social Enterprise Recovery and Rehabilitation Fund for financing programs and projects supporting adaptation and resilience of social enterprises, including stimulus grants 

5. Incentives for SEs and Social Investors  

  • Special Credit Windows with non-collateralized loans  
  • Grants to qualified social enterprises and resource institutions   
  • Strengthening of the Agriculture and Fisheries Credit Policy  
  • Exemption from payment of VAT, tariff, and duties for the importation of all types of product inputs, equipment, machinery, implements, and spare parts 

 6. Appropriate government structure  

  • The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to serve as the central planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring body of the program 
  • Creation of a Social Enterprise Development Council (SEDC) attached to DTI to carry out the policy under the Act 
  • Establishment of a National Center for Social Enterprise Development (NCSED) under the SEDC which shall 1.) Provide SEMPs with capability-training and education through the Social Enterprise Capability Building and Sustainability Program; 2.) Develop and enhance a research and development system which shall equip every SE with innovative and sustainable approaches; 3.) Manage a Social Enterprise Marketing Assistance Program (SMAP); 4.) Implement Capability Building Projects as approved by the Council  

7. A budget that supports the PRESENT Program and SE development through hybrid financing 
Hybrid financing shall refer to the combination of grants with loans and other financial instruments to support the unique nature of SEs as wealth-creating organizations that pursue social missions to improve societal well-being – in ways that are ecologically and financially sustainable.  

Help support the call to pass the PRESENT Bill now.

Sign the petition:

For updates, follow the PRESENT Coalition here


What's New in FSSI

ONE PH’s “Tayo-Tayo” featured FSSI Executive Director Mr. Sixto Donato C. Macasaet and LiveGreen President and CEO, Mr. Paris Uy during the teleradyo’s episode about sustainable communities on July 20, 2019.

Hosted by environmental lawyers Atty. Niner Guiao and Atty. Aya de Leon, the whole interview can be viewed at


What's New in FSSI
On May 29, 2019, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI) and its members and partners gathered in Quezon City for the Foundation’s 30th General Assembly, with the theme “Braving Challenges, Sustaining Enterprises.”
FSSI’s board of trustees, representatives of FSSI’s member organizations, staff and social enterprise partners during the 30th General Assembly with the theme, “Braving Challenges, Sustaining Enterprises.”

On May 29, 2019, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI) and its members and partners gathered in Quezon City for the Foundation’s 30th General Assembly, with the theme “Braving Challenges, Sustaining Enterprises.”

The morning session was filled with insightful discussion as resource speakers Ms. Rosalina Dulabay of the Malabog Integrated Enterprises Development Cooperative (MIEDECO) of Davao City, Mr. Freddie Langpaoen of the Self-Reliant Team of La Trinidad Cooperative (SRT Co-op) of Benguet, and Ms. Christie Rowena Plantilla of the Federation of Peoples’ Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC) shared their organization’s experiences and lessons learned in overcoming challenges, as well as using these challenges as opportunities for innovation.

“We cannot do away with organizational problems or challenges as these are necessary ingredients of success,” shared Langpaoen as he recalled how their first few years were the most challenging. “So if you are faced with such, do not easily give up, hold on, and stand your ground,” he said.

FSSI Executive Director Sixto Donato C. Macasaet noted that the beginnings of the three cooperatives may be different, but they all performed similar strategies to sustain their enterprises. He summed these up as 1) Shared ownership, 2) Strong leadership, 3) Service that bring satisfaction to members and customers, and 4) Strong support network. 

During the afternoon session, FSSI Board Chairperson Norman Joseph Jiao, Treasurer Sylvia Paraguya and the chairpersons of FSSI committees gave updates and reports on the Foundation’s accomplishments for 2018. FSSI subsidiaries Pilipinas Ecofiber Corporation (PEC) and Cocobind, Inc. also reported their performance in the past year.

“We have weathered a challenging year and we look forward to a brighter future,” said Jiao. “This year, we will be evaluating our 2017-2019 MTDP and draft our new strategic plan. We hope that the challenges we braved in 2018 and the reforms we have instituted will bring us to the achievement of our mission of providing social investments to vulnerable communities to achieve sustainable development,” he added.

The afternoon Business Session was followed by the election of new members of the Board of Trustees and of the Good Governance Committee (GGC). The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE), and National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) join the Association of Foundations (AF), Federation of People’s Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC), National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO), and Philippine Cooperative Central Fund Federation (PCF) as new members of the Board. Meanwhile, Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Society, Inc. – Southern Philippines Educational Center for Cooperatives (MASS-SPECC) and National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) were elected as new members of the GGC.

The Assembly also expressed its gratitude to Ms. June Rodriguez of CONVERGENCE, Ms. Agnes Bolanos of MINCODE, and Mr. Lauro Millan of NCCP, who completed their term as Board members.

The following are the officers and members comprising the new Board of Trustees:

Chairperson: Norman Joseph Jiao (Representing AF)

Vice Chairperson: Lauro Millan (Representing NCCP)

Corporate Secretary: Christie Rowena Plantilla (Representing FPSDC)

Treasurer: Sylvia Paraguya (Representing NATCCO)

Auditor: Betta Socorro Salera (Representing PCF)

Member: Agnes Bolanos (Representing MINCODE)

Member: Reynaldo Antonio Laguda (Representing PBSP)

Pictures of the General Assembly are available at