By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — To further encourage the growth of local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), considered as the backbone of the country’s economy, Senator Win Gatchalian sought to institutionalize “One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines” through Senate Bill No. 2366 or the One Town, One Product Philippines Act.
The bill seeks to enable the recovery of local economies, especially the countryside, from the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic, further promote rural development and generate employment and livelihood opportunities.
The proposed OTOP Philippines Program highlights the use of indigenous raw materials and utilization of local skills and talents. It covers processed food, craft or artisanal products, wellness products and cosmetics, agricultural-based products such as coffee and cacao, and skills-based services such as hilot or traditional Filipino massage and sculpting, among others.
“Habang itinataguyod natin ang mga ipinagmamalaking sariling produkto ng bawat bayan, siyudad, at rehiyon sa buong bansa, mabibigyan pa natin sila ng pagkakataong makabuo ng iba’t ibang inobasyon sa kanilang mga produkto at serbisyo na magpapalago sa kanilang lokal na ekonomiya at makapagbibigay ng mas maraming trabaho,” said Gatchalian.
The Vice Chairperson of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee noted that the OTOP concept has been in existence since 2012 and was entrenched in Executive Order No. 176 s. 2003 as “Isang Bayan, Isang Produkto, Isang Milyon” and relaunched in 2017 as OTOP.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s Impact Assessment Surveys of COVID-19 on the MSME sector showed that 52.7% MSMEs partially closed as of end September 2021 from 52.5% in June 2020. The same survey showed that although 27.7% of MSMEs stopped operations in June 2020, the figures went down to 6.9% as of end September 2021.
Under Gatchalian’s “One Town, One Product Philippines Act,” the Department of Tourism (DOT), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and other similar agencies shall support the construction and allocation of spaces for the establishment of OTOP Philippines hubs.
Data also obtained from the DTI showed that there were 66 OTOP hubs established, 13 of which are shifting to online platforms. A total of P56.89 million sales were generated by MSMEs as of September 30, 2021.