Villar cites importance of OTOP to help spur eco growth amid pandemic

Villar cites importance of OTOP to help spur eco growth amid pandemic

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Saying that the coronavirus has crippled our livelihood and means of earning, Senator Cynthia Villar has recognized the important role of the “One Town One Pasko” (OTOP) program of the Department of Industry (DOT) to help the economy bounce back.

During the opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Grand OTOP Provincial Trade Fair with the theme: “OTOPasko: Atinito!” last December16 at Vista Mall in Santa Rosa City, Laguna, Villar commended the DTI Laguna for supporting local micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“The OTOP program of the government is really intended for MSMEs and I am glad that the DTI has levelled it up through its OTOP Next Gen program that assists the inproduct development and enhances services in terms of assistance in improving quality, design, packaging, marketability, standards compliance among others,” related the senator.

And with the eased restrictions, she said many people will go out to buy their needs for the Christmas season, and this would be lead by Laguna residents here in this place.

“That is really the essence of OTOP—to patronize our own. It enables localities and communities to develop, support, and promote products or services that are rooted in its local culture, community resource, creativity, connection, and competitive advantage,” noted Villar.

“As their own ‘pride-of-place,’ these are offerings where they can be the best at or best renowned for,” she further stated.

Villar also said there are indeed many areas where we can help our MSMEs to further improve their businesses and income. “We can make this happen with the collaborative efforts of the private sector and the government especially since the MSMEs is the engine of the country’s growth.”

The MSMEs, Villar said, comprise more than 99 percent of businesses in our country and provide employment to over 65 percent of Filipinos. She also related that many of our big companies started as MSMEs.

She specifically cited the real estate business of their family which started with a small gravel and sand company. Now, it is already a publicly listed corporation.

“So I can relate with small entrepreneurs and that is why we have a soft spot for MSMEs and we promote entrepreneurship. (Former Senate President ) Manny (Villar) and I as well as the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG), have always been active advocates of entrepreneurship,” she said.

As entrepreneurs ourselves, Villar said they know that entrepreneurship is the key to economic freedom of Filipinos. She mentioned that from a small gravel and sand company, with two second-hand delivery trucks, she said her husband has created the country’s largest homebuilder (Vista Land).

As a lawmaker, Villar helps pursue legislations that will benefit MSMEs. She led the passage of legislations for entrepreneurs. Among which is the Magna Carta of Micro-Enterprises and Republic Act No. 9178 or the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs).

Villar was also the co-author and co-sponsor of the “Youth Entrepreneurship Act” or Republic Act 10679 (enacted into law in 2015). It encourages a new generation of entrepreneurs by promoting entrepreneurship and financial education among Filipino youth.

“As we promote entrepreneurship and we develop a new generation of entrepreneurs, we also pave the way for the creation of more MSMEs,” she said.

She noted thaf wealth and a high majority of jobs are created by small businesses started by entrepreneurially-minded individuals, many of whom go on to create big businesses.

Prior to being a senator, Villar was the Managing Director of Villar SIPAG.

“It is in managing it when I transitioned into a social entrepreneur. The flagship project of Villar SIPAG that I continue to pursue until now, is the establishment of livelihood projects,” said Villar, adding they had built over 3,000 all of the country, which can be considered micro small enterprises. (ai/mtvn)

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