Honorable Senator Grace Poe, Rising Tigers Magazine group, fellow awardees, and distinguished guests—good evening.

I accept the honor of this award with deep humility and gratitude. It is an embodiment of our hope that leading reaches far beyond the confines of our organizations, and makes a difference in the lives of those whom we serve—the Filipino people especially those in need.

I emphasize leadership’s meaning as being with those in need, because marginalized or indigent Filipinos are more than the beneficiaries of our efforts. We work with them. We empower them to participate in decisions that involve their welfare. And ultimately, we serve them. I see this in the work of fellow awardees, and for this I am honored to be among the first recipients of the “Beyond Leadership” award. At the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), our aspiration has been service that goes beyond what is expected of us—serbisyong higit sa inaasahan.

Filipinos, especially indigents, inspire our vision of shared prosperity for all. For them and with them, we move toward our country’s robust economic growth.

We build strong, dynamic, modern, and competitive industries—driven by science, technology, and innovation—because we believe that this way, we can help create quality, more stable, and better-paying jobs for Filipinos. We promote game-changing reforms to make our country more attractive to investments. And this is because businesses contribute to economic expansion, and because they are our partners in responding to compelling issues that affect the most vulnerable Filipinos—from making goods and

services accessible, to strengthening disaster risk management and climate action. We also promote the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises, because they either employ or provide goods and services to our people who are most in need. Our efforts further prioritize protecting and promoting all Filipino consumers’ rights. With the rest of government, we continue to do all that we can to help ease the burden of increasing prices of basic commodities and goods to our people. We do all these, and commit to going beyond all these, believing that the whole of our society should work together in the service of Filipinos, especially those most in need.

Patuloy ang aming serbisyong higit pa sa inaasahan. We at DTI will continue to work hand in hand with other government agencies to continue supporting MSMEs, facilitating the entry of more investments, upskilling the Filipino workforce, and protecting the rights of consumers. I commit myself to service beyond call of duty.

Maraming salamat. Mabuhay kayong lahat.*

Date of release: 30 March 2023