PH and SG push for greater trade cooperation within ASEAN
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Philippine Trade & Investment Centre (PTIC) – Singapore Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda talks about the Philippines’ hosting of the ASEAN and its Business and Investment Program (ABIP) with the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC). SICC invited Peñaranda in its March 2017 ASEAN Committee meeting. Peñaranda further shared the agenda of steering the ASEAN to full economic integration through greater trade and investment among member countries and detailed the DTI’s ABIP events that will complement the country’s priorities under the ASEAN Economic Community pillar. Peñaranda covered as well the latest investment climate and opportunities in the country, highlighting the strong presence of Singapore businesses in various sectors. The SICC is the first business chamber in Singapore. Its key themes are on ASEAN, innovative collaboration, realities of the present and sustainability of Singapore. The Chamber celebrated its 180th in February of this year. In photo: (L-R) Philip Pang, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) Director for Government Relations; Philippine Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda; Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio Morales; Victor Mills, SICC Chief Executive. 



The Department of Trade and Industry’s Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Singapore is working closely with four Filipinos from Cebu who are presently based in Singapore, to officially introduce Geopik, an app that will revolutionize the postal system in the Philippines.

Filipinos Francisco Liwa, Ivan Lacuesta, Rodessa Padrigano and John Ryan Loyloy utilize the digital address system using geohashing and geolocation technologies similar to that used by apps such as Waze or Google Maps.

Geopik converts long addresses or the absence of house numbers which is common in the Philippines, into more exact, customizable and easy-to-remember single codes. The app reduces the hassle brought by additional information to the actual address such as “house with blue gate, in front of a mango tree” by simply converting addresses to simple digital codes.

Seeing the inefficiency in the Philippines’ postal coding, the PH startup Geopik set out to offer a solution to e-commerce, logistics, and other location-dependent businesses.

“It’s such a unique experience to help build something and be part of its growth from the very beginning. This is our way of taking charge of our future and making an impact back home in the process,” said GeoPik co-founder John Loyloy.

Aligned with the Philippine government’s thrust to develop an innovative entrepreneurial culture, DTI supports startups and helps strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the country through various initiatives such engaging startup entrepreneurs.

In 2016, DTI launched the QBO Innovation Hub situated at the DTI International Building, Makati City. It is the first public-private innovation hub in the Philippines that aims to provide support services to startup and innovation entrepreneurs. The DTI partners with incubator and accelerator Ideaspace Foundation, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and JP Morgan.

In Singapore, parallel initiatives are being done by the PTIC led by Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda, who engages with the Filipino community by speaking at investment seminars and online channels on entrepreneurship with the goal of providing more job opportunities for Filipinos.

“Startups play a pivotal role in driving innovation and economic growth hence we are happy to help GeoPik reach out to decision-makers and to potential users. We also look forward to work with more Filipino startups here in Singapore and the region and help them scale up,” said Commercial Counsellor Peñaranda.

Speaking at the recent International Corporate Social Responsibility Summit in Singapore, Philippine Foreign Trade ASEAN Leader and Department of Trade and Industry’s Commercial Counsellor for Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei Glenn Peñaranda emphasized the critical role both government and private sector play in achieving sustainable development. Peñaranda spoke at the summit on behalf of the Philippine National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

“The strengths and synergies of stakeholders will help in the formulation of better plans and programs that champion sustainable practices. We are committed in working with the private sector and civil society towards achieving green and sustainable development goals,” said Peñaranda.

The Philippines is one of the forerunners of sustainable development in Asia and has been considered one of the pioneers in the Asia-Pacific region in establishing a multi-stakeholder body, with the creation of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) in 1992 which is currently chaired by the NEDA Director-General. It promotes development by policy integration, establishing indicators and standards in monitoring contributions of government institutions and businesses and continuing education and raising awareness for current and future generations.

The PSCD led the creation in 1997 of the Philippine Agenda 21 (PA21), the nation’s blueprint for sustainable development. This was complemented by the business sector with the Business Agenda 21 which provides the broad vision and implementing strategies and parameters for sustainable development. In 2012, the Philippines renewed its political commitment by participating in the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil.

Over the years, the Philippine government has established an enabling environment that facilitates implementation of activities and business processes by the enactment of laws translated into key programs and activities of government and the private sector. Policies are on protected areas for biodiversity, wildlife, clean air and water, renewable energy, fisheries, among others. Furthermore, an Environmental Compliance Certificate was made a requisite document for a project evaluation.

Philippines highlights Public-Private partnerships at iCSR Summit 2016 SG

The government also launched the Philippine Environment Partnership Program which seeks to encourage and support establishments to adopt self-regulation for improved environmental performance. Government provides the regulatory assistance and other incentives to enable businesses achieve pollution prevention and cleaner production processes.

According to Peñaranda, “Collaborations should go beyond the aid agenda and serve as venue for knowledge, capacities and technologies exchange. Partnerships foster sharing of policy successes and best practices.”

Several multinationals and brands have a long legacy in the Philippines and deep-rooted connections compelling them to partner with the government and go beyond humanitarian relief. One example is the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program of Coca-Cola Philippines and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). It is designed for women micro-entrepreneurs who own and manage sari-sari or community stores

and help them achieve business success. The women are given access to training, resources and peer mentoring in the TESDA Women’s Center. The STAR Program is being implemented in over 47 locations nationwide and has reached more than 52,000 women.

Another is Text2Teach by Microsoft Philippines, Globe Telecom and the Philippine Department of Education with the local governments. Text2Teach is a learning package that uses mobile technology to download education videos for Grades 5 and 6 students in remote, hard-to-reach areas. To date, Text2Teach has served over 300,000 students from 1,103 schools, covering 78 cities and municipalities.

“In order to achieve the sustainable development goals, we at the government need to adopt innovative approaches in public service delivery and strengthen the capacities of the communities and stakeholders including local government officials,” added Peñaranda.

Last year, the country adopted the SDGs or officially known as Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is an intergovernmental set of aspiration goals with 169 targets.

PH, Singapore reaffirm economic partnership

The Philippines, through President Rodrigo R. Duterte (center) and the Department of Trade and Industry’s Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (3rd from right) reaffirm strong economic partnership with Singapore through the Singapore Business Federation (SBF). They discussed increased collaboration in sectors such as food, engineering and architecture services, aircraft and MRO services, infrastructure, construction and public-private partnership (PPP), shipbuilding, Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM), tourism, and startup. In 2015, approved investments from Singapore reached US$370 million, making the Lion City the fifth largest source of investments globally and the highest in ASEAN. Total Philippine exports to Singapore amounted to $3.6 billion making it as the 5th largest export market of the country.

The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda presented at the recent Smart World Negosyo Caravan Program in Singapore, organized by Philippine telco PLDT-Singapore, Philippine Franchise Association and The Global Filipino Investors or TGFI, a community geared to promote financial literacy.

Peñaranda shared the initiatives of the DTI in promoting and fostering among Filipinos an entrepreneurial culture in the Philippines and abroad, by creating an enabling environment for them and helping their businesses become competitive, sustainable and profitable. One of which is the establishment of the Negosyo (Business) Centers across the country. The centers provide a full spectrum of support services needed to encourage growth and development of micro, small and medium enterprises from incubation to export, from business registration assistance to advisory services to monitoring and evaluation.

“The entrepreneurial route will provide more opportunities for wealth creation, employment and economic growth, that’s why we in DTI have actively been encouraging more Filipinos to consider becoming entrepreneurs,” said Commercial Counsellor Peñaranda.

PH DTI promotes entrepreneurship in SG

He discussed various business opportunities in the country, particularly in the agriculture, industry and services sectors and tapping the large market of domestic consumers with increasing incomes. He advised would-be entrepreneurs to keep an eye on new areas of growth as new prospects emerge.

The caravan also played host to several franchise options. DTI promotes franchising as a business model specifically in the food industry given its phenomenal growth. Sixty percent of the franchise concepts in the Philippines are in the food segment.

Peñaranda urged visitors and returnees as well to support Philippine businesses by patronizing their products and services and sharing the Filipino brand and experience abroad.

Outside the Philippines, Filipinos can connect with the DTI-Foreign Trade Service Corps for trade preferences, commercial intelligence and introduction to importers and buyers. The DTI-FTSC has a network of 26 Philippine Trade and Investment Centers in major international markets including Singapore.

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