LOCAL  PRODUCT  SALES  FROM  MSEs  REACH  P2.3 B

MANILA, DECEMBER 29, 2008
(STAR) Sales of local products from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) reached over P2.3 billion in the first nine months of 2008 and this helped sustain the country’s growth despite the global economic crisis, a top Malacañang official said yesterday.

Presidential Management Staff chief Secretary Cerge Remonde, who is also the Oversight Cabinet Official for MSMEs, credited the Department of Trade and Industry’s One Town One Product (OTOP) program for the surge in the sales of local products.

Remonde added that OTOP “typify the kind of effective support programs that the Arroyo government is implementing to boost the growth of local businesses.”

During the last meeting of the MSME Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (ICC), Remonde said the OTOP was able to develop 5,283 OTOP products and helped a total of 25,578 MSMEs from 2004 to September 2008 in its goal “to improve the quality of products made from indigenous materials and thus increase sales.”

In the same period, another 8,646 new MSMEs were established through OTOP. The DTI also organized OTOP Island Fairs in the three major island groups of the country from 2006 to 2008. The OTOP Mindanao Island Fair generated the highest amount of sales at P119 million.

Today, OTOP products can be bought from 3,618 market outlets around the country, Remonde said.

He said these activities in turn expanded local employment opportunities. As of the DTI’s reckoning, OTOP activities have so far led to 268,519 Filipinos getting jobs, he said.

“The availability of these local high-quality products ultimately opens the door for more Filipinos to contribute to efforts to keep the country’s head above the economic tsunami inundating the globe—by patronizing OTOP and other native Filipino products and services,” Remonde said.

“Spending on these products would help bring about the multiplier effect that would fuel the continued growth of the Philippine economy,” he said.

Domestic sales of OTOP products reached P2.303 billion pesos in the first three quarters of 2008. “That is P2.303 billion that was once more plowed back into the Philippine economy,” Remonde said.

“Making this ‘Buy Filipino’ thrust more attractive is the prospect of helping the environment. Advocates of the OTOP plan to bring back into the mainstream the use of the once-ubiquitous ‘bayong’ (native woven bag) for a variety of reasons,” he said.

Remonde cited that the bayong, aside from being a part of Filipino culture, is environmentally friendly because the materials used in its manufacture are biodegradable. Restoring the use of the bayong should also revive the bayong-making industry, he said. – Paolo Romero


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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