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Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez expressed strong support for the development of the Philippine tourism industry during the 42nd Philippine Business Conference and Expo on 13 October.

“We would like to push for tourism because it is an industry that has great multiplier effect. It promotes micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” he said, stressing that the industry is a sector that can differentiate the Philippines from the rest of the world.

A priority industry of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the tourism sector is largely integrated to many livelihood sources, according to Sec. Lopez, one of the plenary panelists, speaking before members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). 

“Tourists, from the time they take off and arrive in a destination, deal with logistics, resort, hotel and restaurant servers, food vendors, agri-based producers of many products within the area and makers of gifts and souvenirs, who are mostly from the MSME sector,” explained Sec. Lopez.

The trade chief shared the so-called convergence approach to uplift the lives of depressed economies in the countryside with promising agricultural and tourism potentials, aligned with the President’s socio-economic agenda.

In the convergence approach to boost the agricultural industry, the Department of Agriculture provides assistance for agro-production, the Department of Science and Technology for the integration of sciences in the operation and the DTI for equipment provision, packaging and marketing of products.

DTI also continues to push initiatives that will foster a business environment suited for the development of innovative and globally competitive industries that sustainably generate more decent jobs.

For its part, PCCI submitted to President Duterte a resolution requesting the national government to increase DTI’s budget so that it can fully and effectively perform its mandate to promote Philippine trade and to generate investments, thus creating more jobs for Filipinos.

Another PCCI-adopted resolution urges the legislative department to provide flexibility to the Small Business Corporation on its policies and to allow the use of government funds for MSME lending.

PCCI also approved resolutions supporting ease of doing business through streamlining business process and licensing system, as well as encouraging MSMEs to register and pay taxes with least cost and convenience through simplified tax payment procedures.

“What we want to push through now is market access for them,” said Sec. Lopez, adding that DTI has firmly defined support for MSMEs, including putting up shared service facilities for group of entrep and cooperatives and establishing Negosyo Centers across the region.

Just recently, new Negosyo Centers were launched in Davao, Zamboanga and Iloilo, forming part the 339 centers established across the country today and counting.

The trade chief also shared ongoing partnerships with top business executives to showcase in major malls the Go Lokal! brand, featuring quality products from both the One Town, One Product (OTOP) program and the MSME sector.

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