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EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT dated March 25, 2021

JOIN THE ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON EMPOWERING ASEAN WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE – APRIL 7 3:00 PM (GMT+8)

The ASEAN Secretariat, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) through its sub-regional office for Southeast Asia, Grow Asia, the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA) and Oxfam invite you to a roundtable Dialogue on Empowering ASEAN Women in Agriculture on April 7, Wednesday, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (GMT+8) via Zoom.

To register, go to https://lnkd.in/g6pJFWX or scan the QR code in the poster.

Agriculture is a key sector in ASEAN, accounting for a substantial share in the region’s GDP and employing an important segment of the workforce. Statistics show that as many as 64 percent of employed women in Lao PDR are engaged in agriculture, 39 per cent in Vietnam, and 34 per cent in Cambodia. In other member states, Thailand’s one third of GDP is attributed to agriculture, more than 30 per cent in Indonesia and about 8 per cent in the Philippines. There has been a shift to manufacturing and other off-farm service sectors in several of these countries, but a significant part of the population remains dependent on agriculture. While agriculture is at varying stages of development, there are remarkable similarities in the constraints faced by women in the agriculture sector.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for the agricultural sector highly impacting women stakeholders. The pandemic threatens to not only stagnate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals but has the potential to reverse the gains made in recent years, thus jeopardizing our shared promise to ‘leave no one behind’.   

This roundtable will explore the challenges and promote solutions in the agriculture sector in ASEAN, with focus on women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. 


MEDIA RELEASE dated February 11, 2021

PRESENT COALITION CONVENER STATEMENT: PURSUE A PEACEFUL AND INNOVATIVE PATH TO END POVERTY! TAG THE PRESENT BILL AS URGENT!

PURSUE A PEACEFUL AND INNOVATIVE PATH TO END POVERTY! TAG THE PRESENT BILL AS URGENT! 

It has been almost a decade since we set up our Coalition to lobby for the enactment of the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill. We convey our appreciation for the support that some members of the Senate and its Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship have given. It is of utmost importance that a Bill to recognize, support and enable social enterprises as critical partners of government to end poverty is tagged as urgent and passed now. 

As social mission-driven businesses that have demonstrated their role in transforming the lives of the rural and urban poor, and the women of these marginalized sectors, social enterprises have grown by leaps and bounds despite no systematic government support. In 2017, they numbered over 160,000, representing about 18% of all enterprises in the country. With the COVID-19 pandemic, social enterprises have had to grapple with recovery even as they continue to pursue their social mission. Ninety six percent (96%) of social enterprises we have surveyed have either experienced moderate to severe downturn, with the more vulnerable stopping operations. But those that have survived have adopted measures to respond to a drastically changed situation and are rebuilding and pursuing innovations to recover. In this regard, we propose strengthening the PRESENT Bill’s provisions supportive to building the resilience and recovery of social enterprises in times of pandemics and disasters. With the recognition and support for social enterprises embodied in the PRESENT Bill, not only will this important sector and the poor they serve effectively recover, such will pave a peaceful and innovative pathway to end poverty. 

I couldn’t agree more with DND Secretary Lorenzana when he called the recent red-tagging of former UP student leaders an “unpardonable gaffe”. Because I was irresponsibly included in that list, it was not only my family and I, but also the organizations I lead, including the PRESENT Coalition where I am Convener, who have been unduly put at risk. Over and above my indignation, I would like to respond to the DND Secretary’s appeal for everyone to work towards ending the age-old communist insurgency in our country. As a development manager and social innovation thought leader, I believe that the best way to end the insurgency is to address its root causes. Poverty and inequality are the root causes of the insurgency and are the very social problems that the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill addresses. 

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. In this ambitious effort, we are striving to innovate with all stakeholders. But to end poverty, social enterprises need the enabling environment and support programs that government can and should provide, as embodied in the PRESENT Bill. 

Towards Ambisyon 2040, NEDA has already identified enabling legislation for social enterprises to be a priority measure in the Philippine Medium Term Development Plan. WE APPEAL TO THE CABINET CLUSTERS FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION as well as ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, government agencies that we have been in dialogue with since 2012, to be CHAMPIONS IN SOCIAL INNOVATION BY HELPING US PUSH THE PRESENT BILL NOW! WE CALL ON BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS TO SPEED UP THE PUBLIC HEARINGS AND EXPEDITE THE WORK OF THEIR RESPECTIVE TECHNICAL WORKING GROUPS. WE CALL ON PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE TO PURSUE AN INNOVATIVE AND PEACEFUL PATH TO END POVERTY BY TAGGING THE PRESENT BILL AS URGENT! 

– Marie Lisa Dacanay, PhD 
Convener, Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Coalition 


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To know more about the PRESENT Bill, contact us at (0917) 546 9660 or email presentcoalition@gmail.com

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MEDIA RELEASE dated February 2, 2021

ISEA CHAIR STATEMENT ON THE RED-TAGGING OF THE ISEA PRESIDENT

We view with grave concern the baseless inclusion of Dr. Marie Lisa Dacanay in a list of “Some of the UP Students who became NPA (Dead or Captured)” by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through official posts in their social media sites on January 22, 2021.  Such did not only malign Dr. Dacanay’s person and integrity, but also put her life and the organizations she leads at risk.   

As an economist and as Dean of the John Gokongwei School of Management of the Ateneo de Manila University (A-JGSOM), I have known Dr. Dacanay as President of the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA).  ISEA is a regional network of scholars, practitioners and resource institutions spanning 10 countries in Asia-Pacific promoting social entrepreneurship as a peaceful pathway towards poverty reduction and sustainable development.

I have had the privilege of working closely with Dr. Dacanay since I became ISEA Chairperson in 2017.  We know Dr. Dacanay as a pioneering scholar, author, teacher and mentor of social entrepreneurship.  Under Dr. Dacanay’s leadership, ISEA has been in the forefront of stakeholders’ consultations and the advocacy of the Poverty Reduction through Social Entrepreneurship (PRESENT) Bill since 2012.  She led an ISEA action research on the impact of COVID-19 that came up with useful recommendations on how social enterprises could be supported as vehicles for the recovery of the poor towards building back fairer.  Dr. Dacanay became the first Asian to be awarded as Outstanding Social Innovation Thought Leader of the Year in 2019 by the World Economic Forum and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in recognition of her “visionary, pragmatic and courageous contributions to significantly improve the state of the world”.  

Responding to a public outcry, DND Secretary Lorenzana called the red-tagging incident of the former U.P. student leaders including Dr. Dacanay  “an unpardonable gaffe”.  The list has since been taken down,  an apology  has been issued, the intelligence chief of the AFP has been sacked and the chief for civilian-military operations has taken a leave of absence.   While these are welcome developments, we are worried for Dr. Dacanay’s safety because of the senseless killing of citizens similarly red-tagged in recent months.  We are also worried that the Anti-Terror Law allows detention of individuals and freezing of individual and organizational bank accounts on mere suspicion of being part of a group identified as terrorist by the state.  Specially in the context of Ateneo de Manila University’s inclusion in the list of 38 universities wrongly accused of serving as a haven of the NPA, we need to prevent the irresponsible inclusion of our former and current students in a similar list by the AFP.  

As chair of ISEA, I call on our community to be vigilant in ensuring the protection of an enabling environment to work without fear with partners like ISEA towards fulfilling our mission of educating the youth to contribute to nation building as men and women for others. 

Dr. Luis Dumlao

Chairperson, Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia (ISEA)



For inquiries, contact us at +63916-546-4870 or e-mail at inquiry@isea-group.net