The One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act of 2022, which recently got Senate’s approval will help promote the country’s cultural identity in the international market, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said on Wednesday.
Pascual thanked the Senate for passing the said legislation which he described as “very important,” noting this will increase the capacity of the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by “addressing gaps in terms of training and product development.”
On Monday, the upper chamber passed Senate Bill No. 1594 or the OTOP Philippines Act of 2022 with 22 affirmative votes and no negative votes.
According to DTI, this measure “institutionalizes” OTOP as a program that aims to drive inclusive economic growth by supporting the small merchants in the country, which it deemed as “the backbone of the Philippine economy.”
“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,” DTI said in a statement.
Likewise, DTI said rural communities would be given assistance to foster local economic development by creating higher quality and innovative products.
Meanwhile, the measure also aims to promote the combined initiatives from local government units (LGUs), national government agencies, and the private sector in developing and promoting Filipino-made products that can compete in the local and international market, DTI noted.
Through this, Pascual said the agency would be able to “customize interventions that will pave the way for the development of new and innovative products from various regions of the country.” He added that this legislation would help promote the country’s cultural identity in the international market.
Further, through the establishment of OTOP hubs and as part of the national government’s inclusive economic growth agenda, DTI said budding MSMEs from the grassroots are given the opportunity to showcase their unique products in various locations and access larger markets and earning potential.
From 2017 to 2023, OTOP Philippines has already assisted 79,985 MSMEs, generated P10.9 million in sales, developed 39,815 products, established 111 OTOP hubs (52 in Luzon, 18 in Visayas and 41 in Mindanao), and conducted 1,390 trade fairs, DTI said.
The trade department noted MSMEs were assisted in the form of standards compliance, product development, capacity building, and promotional activities.
As the agency aims to onboard Filipino-made products in the international market, the trade chief has tapped the DTI’s standards arm, underscoring the need 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 [BPS] comes in,” Pascual said, adding that the BPS oversees the establishment of standards which he said “will increase the competitiveness of our products.”
“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 DTI statement added.