DTI backs electronics industry development Calls for closer industry-academe ties towards innovation

 

PASAY—Relevant industry players should continue partnering with the Philippine government in developing further the electronics industry, being one of the primary sources of economic growth today, the country’s trade chief said.

 

Stressing the robust Philippine economy and a booming global market, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez outlined government initiatives to strengthen the electronics industry, as well as DTI’s partnership with industry stakeholders.

 

Said initiatives include projects that will move the industry’s capabilities to higher value activities, as well as help identify products and technologies in the developing sectors of electronics in the next five years. DTI and the Board of Investments (BOI) also have active partnerships with other institutions to forward capacity-building programs and exchange of best industry practices.

 

In his keynote speech at the 14th Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE) on 21 June, Sec. Lopez said that closer industry-academe linkages can lead to a stronger electronics industry that will later on “generate inclusive economic growth, reaching those at the bottom of the pyramid.”

 

As one of the pillars of the country’s industrial growth and one of the top 12 industry priorities of the current administration, the electronics industry is a top export performer with a 51.3% share of total exports in 2016 (worth USD 28.8 billion). The industry has also generated about 2.6 million direct and indirect employments as of 2015.

 

He also mentioned that as the Philippines chairs ASEAN 2017, the government’s priority is to lead an inclusive, innovation-led growth, which means working to create an enabling environment to develop micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and prepare them to become globally competitive, innovative, inclusive and resilient.

 

“There is a very strong role that innovation plays in helping and enabling a lot of our countrymen to develop an innovation mindset, culture and capability, for them to also have equal chances to success and move up in life,” Sec. Lopez said.

 

The trade chief noted the need to focus on key areas affecting MSME growth, including the promotion of productivity, technology, and innovation, as well as making these available and accessible to MSMEs.

 

“If we are able to broaden the capacity and innovation culture to a larger percentage of our population, then we also increase peoples’ chances of becoming successful,” he added.

 

Sec. Lopez reiterated that Pres. Duterte’s Dutertenomics aims to narrow development gap and widen the gains of economic growth through creation of jobs and income opportunities for all.

 

Led by the Semiconductor & Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI), the 14th PSECE provides an avenue, wherein public and private stakeholders gather to strategically identify possible areas of cooperation and to learn best industry practices.

 

“As we gain insight and appreciation on the issues affecting the electronics industry, we are confident that whatever we learn will help us in our efforts to create broad-based growth that generates jobs, fosters entrepreneurship, and gives Filipinos more opportunities,” Sec. Lopez said.

Strengthening the Marikina shoe industry

MARIKINA—Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s instruction to revive and to strengthen the country’s footwear industry, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez and the members of the Philippine Footwear Federation Inc. (PFFI) identified possible solutions to existing obstacles that hamper the shoe industry’s growth.

 

“Technological improvement remains an industry concern. While there are patrons who prefer manually-produced shoes citing their durability, still, innovation is crucial for the shoe industry to flourish and expand,” Sec. Lopez said.

 

In a series of site visits recently (8 June), Sec. Lopez and DTI officials explored ways to level-up current industry practices with PFFI. For one, DTI already has a sustainable Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project with PFFI that houses machines and equipment that serve as common service facilities for efficient, quality and innovative production.

 

Among the SSF projects is the High Value Custom-Made Footwear, which intends to capture market that prefers custom-made shoes, featuring new methodologies in shoe engineering, footwear design and manufacturing. It also uses state-of-the-art scanner that automatically produces a 3D model of the foot in seconds for measuring and size estimation.

 

“Small shoemakers take turn in using the equipment. They need to expand the capacity and add more and newer machines,” Sec. Lopez added.

 

Within the compound where the SSF is located is DTI’s Negosyo Center-Marikina and the Philippine Footwear Academy that aims to produce job-ready workers for the Marikina footwear industry. The Academy is considered the first and only footwear school in ASEAN.

 

Meanwhile, the trade chief guaranteed PFFI that DTI remains committed in supporting the Marikina shoe industry from the policy and program level that will improve access to raw materials and supply chain, as well as enjoin government and private sectors to give preference in buying locally-made shoes.

 

Assistance on design creation through the Design Center of the Philippines up to provision of market access and promotion through the Go Lokal! stores in malls, national and international trade fairs and exhibitions, and the internationally-recognized Manila FAME will also be provided.

 

Headed by its president Roger Py, PFFI is composed of footwear manufacturers, retailers, cooperatives and allied industries from Marikina, Laguna, Bulacan, San Mateo and Cebu, whose members belong to the sector of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

 

On the same day, Sec. Lopez visited production facilities of Gibi Shoes Manufacturing, Bristol Shoes and micro-enterprises like Ruperta Enterprises, all of which are Marikina-based. He called on industry leaders to initiate the kind of entrepreneurship that is idea-based, demand-driven and innovation-led.

 

He also visited Marikina’s pride Rolando “Tatay Oly” Santos, the shoemaker, who gave President Duterte a pair of shoes as a gift, which the president wore during his international meetings with heads of state. Sec. Lopez learned the common sentiments of small Marina shoemakers in terms of machines, shoe molds and working capital.

 

Tatay Oly, who is currently borrowing from 5-6 loan sharks, got emotional when he was assured of working capital assistance from President Duterte’s Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or the P3 micro-financing program.

 

The trade chief also talked to some of Marikina’s talented and hardworking designers and artisans, who also serve as trainers in DTI’s SSF project for MSMEs aspiring to take part in reviving Marikina’s shoe industry.

 

“The Filipino artisanship and craftsmanship in designs, plus the highly-skilled, highly-trainable workforce that showcase ingenuity despite stiffer market competition will help bring back the glory of Marikina as the country’s shoe capital,” he concluded.

Lopez: with Martial Law in effect, prices in Iligan City should remain stable

ILIGAN CITY—In response to a report that prices of goods, specifically rice, have suddenly doubled, reaching almost PhP 5,000.00 per 50 kilograms, National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) Chair and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Ted Pascua and DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau officials immediately conducted ground inspection and price monitoring in Iligan City on Monday (5 June).

 

Sec. Lopez reported that based on the monitoring, prices of goods in Iligan City remain stable. He reiterated that with Mindanao still under Martial Law, any upsurge in prices in the region is considered illegal and therefore violators and profiteers will face appropriate sanctions.

 

According to the initial report, PhP 100.00 per kilo of rice, whose price monitoring is under the Department of Agriculture (DA), is being sold in Marawi City and adjacent areas, amidst the ongoing encounter between state forces and Maute-ISIS group.

 

Sec. Lopez reiterated the importance of consistent price monitoring for both basic and prime goods under DTI and for rice under DA, as well as the sustained flow of supply to prevent price increases in Iligan City.

 

Iligan City instantly cradles refugees from Marawi City. There are reportedly 130,000 Marawi refugees, who currently stay in Iligan City.

 

Sec. Lopez also called on state forces based in Marawi City to urgently report anyone, who intend to take advantage of the situation and sought help for the safe delivery of rice supply.

 

Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia, meanwhile, called on sectors for help, especially for those directly affected by the crisis situation.

 

DTI coordinates with DA and the National Food Authority to ensure rice supply in areas near Marawi City, including Baloi and Tamparan.

 

DTI also confirmed that Cagayan de Oro also has normal supply and prices, and within the price freeze levels.

Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) to go nationwide

Micro entrepreneurs around the country will now have access to cheap and easy credit
as the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) will now be made available nationwide
on May 31, 2017.

DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations Zenaida Maglaya said the administration’s
brainchild of micro-finance facility encourages micro entrepreneurs to borrow money
from P3 that will help them finance their businesses.

“P3 is intended to help the underprivileged Filipino entrepreneurs who want to grow
their businesses. With this program, they can access cheap and easy credit without any
hassle. After filling out a half-page application and presenting necessary documents,
the money can be released within the day,” Maglaya explained.

With sufficient funds to provide to borrowers, the Department of Trade and Industry
(DTI) and its micro-financing arm Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) will lead the
implementation that will assist micro entrepreneurs financially and enable them to grow
their businesses.

Being the administration’s program to provide an affordable
micro-financing for the country’s micro entrepreneurs, the P3
funding program provides micro enterprises an alternative
source of financing that is easy to access and made
available at a cheapest cost.

“After we’ve launched the P3 in Tacloban, Occidental
Mindoro, and Sarangani in January 2017, P3 is now going
nationwide. We hope this will encourage micro entrepreneurs to patronize the government’s program so we can eliminate loan sharks,”Maglaya said.

National conduits and local Micro-financing Institutions (MFIs) have already been
accredited by the SB Corp to assist in distributing the funds to micro entrepreneurs. The
national level conduits are Radiowealth Finance Company (RFC), Taytay sa
Kauswagan, Inc. (TSKI), and Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Societies – Southern
Philippines Educational Cooperative Center (MASS-SPECC).

Meanwhile, 18 local (MFIs) are accredited in Luzon, 6 in Visayas and 3 in Mindanao. A
total of P104.9 million have been released to P3 conduits as of today

The Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) is a P1 billion financing program
intended to give MSMEs better access to finance, and to reduce their cost of borrowing.
The fund will also give priority to the country’s 30 poorest provinces.

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6” money lending
system, the P3 is also seen to help stabilize supply and cost of commodities in public
markets, encourage small entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, eliminate loan
sharks, and offer employment and generate income for Filipinos.

The P1 billion fund of the P3 program from the Office of the President will be coursed
through the SB Corp. with accredited partner institutions such as non-bank MFIs,
cooperatives, and associations to serve as conduit for the P3 funds. With borrowers
identified through these, collection of repayments will be efficient.

The P3 Program was launched in Tacloban in Leyte on January 25, San Jose,
Occidental Mindoro on January 27, and Alabel, Sarangani last January 30. A total of
P7.7 million have been released to individual borrowers in these pilot areas: P3.5
million in Mindoro, P2.2million in Sarangani, and P1.8 million in Leyte.

The primary beneficiaries of the P3 Program are microenterprises and entrepreneurs
that do not have easy access to credit. These include market vendors, agribusinessmen
and members of cooperatives, and industry associations.

P3 will also make it easy for borrowers since it will only require minimal documentation
requirement; easy to access with only one (1) day processing of application; low cost
interest at 2.5% per month; and easy payment with collection on a weekly or daily
basis, as necessary.

Loan amounts to end-borrowers range between P5,000 and P100,000, with no
collateral requirement.

Lopez calls for an MSME-friendly IP regime

 

Reiterates relevance of innovation in MSME development

 

MAKATI—Instead of rebellion, an innovative, inclusive entrepreneurial revolution is what the Philippines currently needs, the country’s trade chief said.

Speaking at the launch of the National IP Strategy of the Philippines (NIPS) on 30 May, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez endorsed the new strategy for intellectual property (IP) protection that can help incentivize existing and aspiring Filipino micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) to contribute in developing a more innovative, creative and economically-dynamic Philippines.

“In today’s knowledge economy, intellectual property is undoubtedly an invisible advantage,” said Sec. Lopez, referring to IP as an important vehicle that spurs economic growth, which can help the government in its thrust to alleviate poverty and to realize shared prosperity for all.

With the new IP protection strategy, the government lays the foundation to address the need to safeguard original, innovative and creative ideas of both MSMEs and bigger stakeholders against different forms of IP theft and piracy.

According to the trade chief, without the protection and recognition of a well-functioning IP system, innovative and creative undertakings may be impeded, slowing down the steady stream of competitive products and services in the market.

IP and innovation

Sec. Lopez said that there is a need to assess research and development initiatives if the Philippines wants to become an active player in the innovation game, adding that innovation is a potential area of improvement where the NIPS strategies would be relevant.

“Innovation should not only be for the big guys. We have to make innovation as a general mindset for our MSMEs,” he said.

The NIPS can help the country focus on improving its ranking as 86th out of 128 countries surveyed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the Global Innovation Index.

“MSMEs only account for 35% of the Gross Domestic Product because value-added is small. Thus, we need to improve value creation process of our MSMEs through innovation,” he added.

IP and the MSME agenda

The trade chief imparted DTI’s current programs on the development of MSMEs, which serve as suppliers and subcontractors to large enterprises, as well as exporters.

The 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan’s Chapter on Trade and Services identified challenges that hinder MSMEs from growing, including low productivity and competitiveness, lack of access to new technologies, weak technological capability, and failure to engage in innovation and research and development activities.

As a response, DTI, anchoring on the already existing laws on MSME development, continues to harness the business potential of MSMEs by helping them improve their productivity and competitiveness. Current initiatives refer to fostering the right mindset, improving access to money, market, mentoring services, machines, skills training and adopting an inclusive business model.

As of 5 May 2017, 481 Negosyo Centers have been launched all over the country, with 2,035 Shared Service Facilities (SSF) supporting 92,227 users, and 357,383 having undergone SME training.  As of April 2017, more than 9,000 barangay micro business enterprises were already registered with DTI.

Making a mark

“With the new joint program of DTI and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) known as Juana Make a Mark, the women entrepreneurs will have both the intellectual property knowledge and the assistance to protect their marks, thereby improving the marketability and recall of their products,” Sec. Lopez said.

The trade chief also sees the value of IP protection in another MSME program, Go Lokal!, a retail concept store showcasing quality and innovative local products crafted, designed and produced by MSMEs.

“Branding is an important component of Go Lokal! and with NIPS, I am hopeful that we can better empower participating MSMEs to enable them to leverage on trademarks—perhaps even collective marks to promote their products in the market,” he said.

 

“With a well-crafted national strategy that clearly maps out how intellectual property can be fully utilized to support economic development, we can regain competitive advantage and surge ahead of our neighbors,” he concluded.

Economic Partnership with China firms up with arrival of ASEAN China Center (ACC) delegates

Manila, Phl – 23 May 2017 – 16 Delegates from ASEAN China Center (ACC) arrived for a two-day briefing on trade and investment expected to bolster cooperation between the two countries.

Led by the Department of Trade and Industry, officials from the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), Board of Investments (BOI), and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) organized a Business Matching and Networking Dinner at the South Ballroom, Diamond Hotel to enable an environment where Philippine and Chinese companies can do business together.

As DTI Assistant Secretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group Rosvi C. Gaetos stated in her welcome remarks, “As we host the ASEAN Summit on its 50th founding anniversary with the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, we continue to reaffirm our readiness for deeper economic partnerships within the ASEAN region and with our extended neighbors such as China”.

In photo: DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Assistant Secretary Rosvi C. Gaetos welcomed the delegates from ASEAN China Center on 23 May at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.