In the Neighborgoods fair, social entrepreneurs from Pasig got to show off their wares.
Culture Spotlight

As he revs up for a busier 2020, Mayor Vico Sotto makes a push for social entrepreneurship

From a baker who aims to help single mothers to a soap artisan who supports farmers, these social entrepreneurs are part of a series of initiatives aimed at providing sustainable livelihood for Pasigueños.
Bam V. Abellon | Sep 11 2019

Michelim Bakery, owned by Michelle Lim, gives 10 percent of its profits to initiatives that help single mothers ameliorate their lives. Michelle was raised by a single mother herself.

Michelle Lim, owner of Michelim Bakery, was raised by a single mother. Now, she supports single mothers through her business.

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Ecoish Market sells a variety of products that help their customers save the environment, from organic soaps to shampoo bars to plantable seed pencils. The owner, Melody Paglinawan, also collaborates with the Department of Agriculture to help Filipino farmers sell their produce.

Geraldine C. Santos is from Kilus Foundation, a group of mothers who make a living by turning juice packs into bags and accessories. They also give additional source of income to other mothers within their community. It was founded by the late Alejandro Santiago, a former councilor.

Melody Paglinawan, owner of Ecoish Market: All Things Eco, supports the environment and Filipino farmers.

These are just a few of the social entrepreneurs, who are participating in an initiative called Neighborgoods. Ayala Malls The 30th partnered with the city of Pasig to create a venue where their community members can develop their entrepreneurial skills, and, in the long run, create a more sustainable form of livelihood.

Leading the ceremony during its recent launch was Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto. The first-time mayor told ANCX and some members of the media that their “goal here is not just to help people in the short term. Our goal here is to empower people to help themselves and to have better lives. Eto po, sa livelihood program natin, binibigyan natin sila ng mga tools, ika nga, para mapaganda ang mga buhay nila.”

Kilusan Foundation employs women Pasigueños to create their products. Manning the booth is their treasurer Geraldine C. Santos.

Before he was elected as mayor, the Pasig Livelihood Center, a place where Pasigueños can study entrepreneurship, has already been running for years. In fact, some of the women who make the bags for Kilusan Foundation are graduates of the center.

The Neighborgoods fair provides an option for these graduates to showcase their skills. Fortunately, this is only the first in a series of events that The 30th and the city of Pasig are putting together. Mayor Vico says the initiative will help the Pasigueños further improve some of the skills needed in running a business, such as marketing and packaging. “Eto galing sa grassroots,” he says. “Kaya very proud kami dito.”

 

Pasig 2020

The mayor reveals that he and his team have been busy trying to implement their plans for the city—starting with road-clearing projects. “I-reclaim natin ang public roads natin for public use,” he says. “Hindi dapat ginagamit pang pribado.”

Mayor Vico Sotto (center) led the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Neighborgoods fair launch.

Frankly, he says, most of their plans will see fruition next year, because they first had to fix the budget. His priority is still health care: 2020 will have three times the budget of 2019 for medicines.

 “Kung napansin niyo, no’ng kampanya naman, very realistic naman ako mangako,” he reiterates. “Kahit na tumatakbo ako no’ng mga panahon na ’yon, hindi ko pinangako ’yong langit at lupa.”

 

The first Neighborgoods fair ran throughout August, but the organizers are hoping to put up another series of events every quarter. Many of the vendors also participate in the weekly bazaars arranged by the mall