By Othel V. Campos
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has lauded the approval of the Senate Bill No. 1594 also known as the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act of 2022 envisioned to effectively empower the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to further innovate and gain global recognition.
“As we all know, more than 99 percent of the country’s business enterprises are MSMEs. When we uplift them, we uplift the nation and our economy. Through this, the department will be able to customize interventions that will pave the way for the development of new and innovative products from various regions of the country. It will also help promote our cultural identity in the international market,” said DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual.
Through the establishment of OTOP Hubs and as part of the national government’s inclusive economic growth agenda, OTOPreneurs or budding MSMEs from the grassroots are given the opportunity to showcase their unique products in various locations and access larger market and earning potentials.
From 2017 to 2023, OTOP Philippines already assisted 79,985 MSMEs,generated P10.9 million in sales, developed 39,815 products, established 111 OTOP hubs nationwide and conducted 1,390 trade fairs.
Some of the assistance provided to MSMEs were tips on standards compliance, product development, capacity building, and promotional activities.
“Since we aim to introduce Filipino-made products in the international market, we also want to assist MSMEs in terms of standards and market compliance. We aim to preserve the OTOP brand as a mark of excellence and for that to happen, Filipino entrepreneurs must be capacitated in observing various standards and requirements. We need to make our products export quality, and this is where the DTI-Bureau of Philippine Standards comes in. They oversee the establishment of standards that will increase the competitiveness of our products,” Pascual said.
Through the OTOP Philippines Act of 2022, the DTI is likewise authorized to establish the OTOP Philippines Trustmark, an assurance that products under the OTOP Program represent the country’s best and that these have been marked as excellent in terms of quality, design, value, and marketability.
The OTOP Philippines Program covers products that are known to an area or locality and those that are ingrained in the community’s cultural identity such as processed foods, agricultural-based products, home and fashion and creative artisanal products, and arts and crafts.
The Senate unanimously passed the OTOP bill on Monday, March 20, 2023. The passage of the bill marks the institutionalization of OTOP as a program aimed to drive inclusive economic growth by supporting MSMEs.
Acknowledging the significant contribution of MSMEs toward economic growth and development, OTOP Philippines Act of 2022 warrants the provision of assistance for MSMEs to develop new, innovative, and more complex products with significant improvement in the areas of quality, product development, design, packaging, standards and regulatory compliance, marketability, production capability, and brand development.
Likewise, rural communities will be given assistance to foster local economic development by creating higher quality and innovative products. Furthermore, the act shall promote the convergence of initiatives from local government units (LGUs), national government agencies (NGAs), and the private sector in developing and promoting Filipino-made products that can compete in the local and international market.