The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) formally launched the next five-year chapter of the One Town, One Product (OTOP) program with the staging of the first OTOP National Expo calling in promising OTOP entrepreneurs from across the country and generating sales that could add up to some P80 million.
During the opening ceremony, Undersecretary Merly Cruz of the DTI-Regional Operations and Development Group said that the OTOP program has set its sights on generating two million jobs by 2016. She told local executives, entrepreneurs and expo participants that this and other OTOP goals can be achieved by enabling the growth of “progressive municipalities” that have local economies generating their own products and services.
The program has so far created 444,709 jobs from 2005 to 2010 – a substantial figure that the DTI wants to more than triple under the present administration. President Aquino has given his nod to continue the OTOP program as a flagship government undertaking to expand the trade of products highlighting the distinct culture and tradition of the different provinces, cities and municipalities.
"OTOP is one of the programs of the department that has brought progress to the countryside. It is a popular program of the Department of Trade and Industry. We are not only able to help the countryside entrepreneurs, but most especially we are able to converge, to work harmoniously and effectively with the different partners from the local government units, our congressmen, and the private sector," Cruz said.
The OTOP program has surpassed almost all its performance indicators from 2005 to 2010. The DTI reported at the expo that OTOP during this period generated investments worth 11.197 billion pesos (50 percent above the program's target); 16.558 billion pesos in domestic sales (over by 34 percent); exports of $677.2 million (over by 30 percent); and, assisted in the development of 45,820 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs or MSMEs (over by 71 percent).
Bataan Rep. Albert Raymond S. Garcia, chair of the House Committee on Trade and Industry, who delivered the keynote address at the expo, assured that, “the OTOP Program can count on the House” in terms of budget support, enactment of enabling laws, and the exercise of legislative oversight to support the program.
“For small and medium enterprise (SME) development alone, the House approved a total budget of 402 million pesos, which shall be used for, among others, entrepreneurship and skills training, policy studies formulation, and MSME development advocacy,” he said.
Almost P80 M in five days
As the DTI sets higher goals, it mounted the first-ever OTOP National Expo on the strength of 282SMEs from 72 provinces selling food, furniture, home and holiday decor, fashion accessories, footwear, tourism services and a range of delicacies that are identified with particular hometowns.
Marievic Bonoan, Director-in-Charge of the Bureau of Domestic Trade reported that the expo’s partial sales reached P45.10 million in cash and booked sales over a five-day period. However, the total climbs to P79.8 million after adding orders under negotiation with booked orders and cash collections.
The DTI had conducted OTOP island fairs in previous years for entrepreneurs based in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The national expo, however, proved to be a stronger draw for customers as cash and booked sales was 37 percent higher than last year’s three island fairs combined. Comparing year-on-year figures including orders under negotiation, the rise is 68 percent.
The event showcased products and services that are identified with their manufacturing origin and maximize the use of local skills and resources. Buyers had the opportunity to compare quality of products from the different provinces and ask for bargains as well.
Most innovative products
Recognizing the skill and talent of the Filipino entrepreneur, the DTI handed out the Most Innovative Product awards at the expo for standout merchandise that embodied the spirit of the OTOP program.
The winning entry in the food category was the young coconut bukayo with peanuts by the Arado Sweet Delicacies Producers Association of Burawen, Leyte. In the non-food category, applause was in order for the Precious Herbal Pillow from Quezon City, which is a microwaveable herb-filled pillow that serves as a hot compress good for body aches and pains. When thrown in the freezer, it can be a cold compress as well.
Then in the furniture category, the Nitz Furniture and Piano Center of Naga City in Camarines Sur was given top honors for its space-saving modular sofa-bed. Ideal for condominiums, it can be assembled as a single bed or transformed into a three-piece living room set.
Best dressed booth awards were also given to Niña’s Food Products (banana chips) of Oriental Mindoro; S’atin Crafts (coco shell lamps) of Candelaria, Quezon; and, Nitz Furniture for a double win at the expo.
Modeled after Japan's "One Village, One Product" project for regional development, the OTOP program equips the DTI to engage local officials in identifying, developing and promoting specific products and services which are seen to have a competitive advantage.
The Regional Operations and Development Group and the Bureau of Domestic Trade served as DTI’s lead proponents for the OTOP National Expo, with the DTI regional and provincial offices and the Product Design and Development Center serving as co-implementing agencies. Public Relations Office, Department of Trade and Industry