26 October 2020, As delivered

Ladies and gentlemen, magandang araw po sa inyong lahat.

Gusto ko lang po bumati ng isang warm welcome to the Kalakal CALABARZON Virtual Trade Expo.

Despite the COVID-19, ang DTI po we remain committed in continuing its programs to develop our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to create greater inclusive growth. Like the rest of the country, we’ve adapted to the “New Normal” by moving our programs online to ensure our people’s health and safety, or we’ve repurposed them to aid MSMEs recover from the pandemic.

However, DTI’s mandate remains the same: to empower our MSMEs, to develop smarter MSMEs, in keeping with the directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to DTI to help our people, especially our microentrepreneurs.

The annual Kalakal CALABARZON trade fair had served as a platform for MSMEs to promote their products and give them greater market access. Last year, the trade fair had 170 exhibitors and generated total sales of Php24.5M—a far cry from the first trade fair in 2014, when they had 46 exhibitors and Php9.43M in sales generated.

This year’s trade fair was originally set for June but was cancelled due to the national health emergency that was COVID-19. However, our DTI Region IV-A Office was still determined to help CALABARZON MSMES and—with the assistance of Shopee and PLDT KaAsenso—moved the Kalakal CALABARZON trade fair online. Naalala ko ‘rin I think, ito yung last year present po ako sa CALABARZON Summit Trade Expo.

This virtual trade expo will highlight the products of participating MSMEs, most of which are beneficiaries of various DTI product development interventions. These MSMEs participated in programs like the One Town, One Product Next Generation (or OTOP NextGen), the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the Shared Service Facilities (SSFs), and the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program.

Already, 92 exhibitors have signed up to participate in the event. To support them, DTI is planning to create an online marketing application for easy access in product promotion. Likewise, institutional buyers like big shopping department owners/ managers, hoteliers, and restaurateurs will be invited to link up with participants for possible market matching.

More importantly, the shift to a virtual trade expo for our CALABARZON MSMEs is significant as this is in line with DTI’s thrust for innovation and digitalization. Aside from ensuring their health and safety, walang transmission, walang hawaan, this event gives MSMEs a digital platform to promote the products of MSMEs even as it enables them to expand their markets. Furthermore, it pools the effort to support MSMEs in their marketing strategies as they sustain their businesses during the pandemic

DTI is also ready to support MSMEs ready to take their entrepreneurial journey further despite the pandemic. We have available online entrepreneurship training and counselling, as well as programs on transforming business models, e-commerce, financial advisory, and innovation to help them grow their business. There is also the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (or CARES) microfinance program to support MSMEs affected by the economic effects of COVID-19.

To close, this virtual trade expo is one of the many steps that our CALABARZON MSMEs can take to achieve entrepreneurial success. Masipag po talaga ang ating Calabarzon Region IV-A team, pinangungunahan po ni RD Malou Toledo at ang kanyang team, ang provincial directors and personnel. However, DTI gives its assurance that we are here to help you achieve this success, may pandemic or walang pandemic. By working together, we will realize President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s vision of giving our people a better quality of life, a more comfortable life.

Kaya good luck po sa inyong entrepreneurship journey.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat.

Date of Release: 26 October 2020