MANILA, July 25 (Mabuhay)– The government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has launched different programs to improve market access to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the Duterte administration.

In its technical report to the Office of the President, DTI said it has established 37 One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) Philippines stores nationwide.

OTOP Philippines, a stimulus program of DTI, targets to determine, enhance, and promote products of localities and communities.

The DTI launched the OTOP Next Gen Program in 2017, and has helped 30,759 MSMEs to bring their products closer to consumers.

Some 17,602 products, which the OTOP Next Gen helped in improving their packaging, were introduced in these OTOP Philippines hubs.

Since 2017, DTI said the OTOP Philippines program generated sales amounting to PHP3.11 billion.

As the DTI advocates buying products from local suppliers, it opened 123 Go Lokal! outlets in malls across the country to bring Filipino MSME products in the mainstream market.

To date, there are 17 partners for the Go Lokal! program of the DTI that provides rent-free space in prime retail establishments such as Ayala Malls, City Mall, Duty Free, Robinsons, and Rustan’s.

“Since its inception in December 2016, Go Lokal! has assisted 607 MSMEs,” it said.

Moreover, the DTI also expanded the reach of Filipino MSMEs through the luxury sub-brand of Go Lokal! –Marahuyo– that caters to the high-end market and foreign tourists.

DTI opened a 50-square meter Marahuyo retail store at Luxe Duty Free Mall in Mall of Asia Complex in November 2019.

“It (Marahuyo) aims to bring Philippine design brands into the limelight and widen the domestic and international reach of Go Lokal!,” DTI said.

Market access amid the pandemic

With the limited movement of people during the Covid-19 pandemic, the DTI encourages MSMEs to adapt to digital and omnichannel to reach their market.

DTI Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) Director Senen Perlada said Friday at the National MSME Week e-forum that digital transformation is the way to go in order for businesses to survive during the pandemic.

“All businesses must refocus digital efforts toward changing customer expectations,” he said.

Perlada said they are helping exporters to reach new markets as he also urged MSMEs to tap the international market.

Since March, the EMB has moved its events online to continue linking Filipino exporters to the global market, he said.

On July 28, EMB will be having a webinar on export opportunities in Latin America.

“Latin America is a market of over 600 million consumers with opportunities for Philippine exports of processed food, personal care products, and other fast-moving consumer items,” he said.

Perlada added the Philippines will also participate in fair trade events in China, such as the 2020 Guangzhou World Agriculture Expo in August and the China International Import Expo in November.

Meanwhile, DTI continues to open OTOP physical stores despite the pandemic.

On Thursday, it opened the 38th OTOP Philippines hub in Sorsogon.(MNS)

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