DTI underscores programs for technological development of MSMEs

CEBU City – During the Post-SONA Economic Briefing in Marco Polo Plaza, Cebu City, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual highlighted several programs undertaken by the Department to assist the digitalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). He emphasized the need to strengthen and promote MSMEs, citing their critical role in creating high-quality and better-paying jobs for all.

“MSMEs constitute more than 99% of our enterprises. They are not just the backbone of our economy. They are the heart of our economy. Hence, we need to ensure the facilitation of their digital transformation,” Secretary Pascual said.

During the discussion, the trade and industry chief noted that the recently launched Philippine E-commerce Platform (PEP) will ensure the digital transformation of MSMEs. Pushing for wider MSME digitalization, he reported that the DTI also partnered with SOMAGO, a Philippine-based e-commerce platform founded in 2021. This strategic partnership will provide OTOP-assisted MSMEs with a new-fangled online store that is also a one-stop e-commerce platform.

The Post SONA Economic Briefing was organized by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to inform business and financial communities with the current administration’s economic agenda affecting each region. It also serves as an avenue for private sectors to forge strategic collaboration with key government officials to pursue inclusive economic growth and development.

Further, Secretary Pascual affirmed DTI’s commitment to work rigorously to empower MSMEs by providing them greater access to finance, enhanced market reach, access to technology, and workforce upskilling. Apart from this, he enumerated several programs of DTI such as fabrication laboratories (FabLabs), shared service facilities (SSFs), and Negosyo Centers that facilitate growth and development among MSMEs.

From 2013 to 30 June 2023, DTI established a total of 3,531 SSF projects nationwide, of which 17% or 613 facilities are located in Visayas. With a total value of PhP487 million, it benefitted 79,309 existing and potential MSMEs and generated 57,341 employment in the said region.

Aside from this, Secretary Pascual highlighted the export potential of the country through the processing of critical green metals as the world pursues transition to renewable energy. In particular, he identified the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone, which will lay out the development of a zone that will include light and heavy industries to boost economic activities in Leyte and nearby provinces in Eastern Visayas.

Likewise, Secretary Pascual stressed that DTI’s promotion efforts such as Free Trade Agreements will significantly boost MSMEs for it will increase their export competitiveness, underlining “FTAs means opening the market, particularly for our MSMEs.”