Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda said on Tuesday the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act, which secured 22 votes from the Senate on Monday, will “address gaps” in entrepreneurial skills and “enhance” product promotion across different platforms, among others.
“It remains a strategic tool for inclusive local economic growth, with assistance coming from local government units, national government agencies, and the private sector,” Legarda said in a statement.
Senate Bill No. 1594 or the OTOP Philippines Act of 2023 was approved by the Senate on third and final reading on Monday with 22 votes, zero negative votes and no abstention.
As the principal author and co-sponsor of the bill, Legarda said the OTOP program shall include product development as the primary instrument of assistance for beneficiaries.
The senator said the bill also proposes that OTOP products must meet a set of criteria to be established by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which shall serve as the lead agency for the said measure.
“The products should be consistent with the cultural values rooted in a locality, derive its sources from the community, evoke a sense of connection among locals, exemplify the Filipino people’s creativity and innovation, and draw from the locality’s innate and endemic strengths,” Legarda explained.
According to SB 1594, the OTOP Philippines Program shall be “one of the government’s stimulus programs that will encourage the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises [MSME] in the countryside through the development of indigenous raw materials utilizing local skills and talents and featuring local traditions and cultures across the country.”
For the trade department’s part, it said the country currently has a total of 111 OTOP hubs, 22 of which were launched from January 2022 to February 2023.
In a Viber message sent to reporters, DTI said the hubs established from January 2022 to February 2023, were created “in partnership with external partners such as Alagang Ayala and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines [CAAP], who provided rent-free spaces for some OTOP Hubs.”
Section 12 of the SB 1594 mandates the CAAP, along with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and other similar agencies to support the construction and allocation of spaces for the establishment of OTOP Philippines hubs.
In line with this, the bill stated, “To promote access to the market, the DTI shall ensure that the OTOP Philippines hubs are established in strategic ports of entry, such as but not limited to airports, seaports, bus terminals, high-traffic retail outlets like malls, tourist destinations, and other consumer-frequented locations.”
As to the budget allocated, the DTI said the “standard budget” allotted for each of the 22 OTOP hubs is P500,000, drawn from the General Appropriations Act.