9 December 2019, Ayuntamiento Building, City of Manila


Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

Today, we celebrate three organizations that have shown great dedication to excellence: the Philippine Heart Center; the Department of Science and Technology – Region II; and Southville International School and Colleges. These three organizations are continuously working to create quality consciousness among their employees even as they try to embody this quality in both what they do and who they are.

To these recipient organizations of the 21st cycle of the Philippine Quality Awards (PQA), I offer my heartfelt congratulations. The recognition that you have gained today underlines the achievements you have made in providing quality products and services to your respective clientele. 

I also offer my salute to the management and the employees of these organizations. This award is a result of both your individual and combined efforts, from the highest official to the frontline personnel. Every action counts when the goal is to offer quality service to our people.



It is one of the mandates of the Department of the Trade and Industry (DTI) to build a culture of quality and competitiveness among Filipinos and organizations in the country. Business firms and government agencies need to be conscious of the link between quality and competitiveness. This is the only way for our country to remain relevant and move forward, especially in the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0.

This is also DTI’s way to push the aspirational motto of our agency of “Serbisyong Higit pa sa Inaasahan.” We want to instill in everyone that “Hindi na talaga pwede ang pwede na,” and that we all need to strive for excellence.

Through this award, we not only want to create a mindset of quality in every Filipino, we want to create a worldwide brand that benchmarks quality in every Filipino product and service.


We want to create a quality image for Filipino products and services. This shall be symbolized by our battle cry:

Galing Pilipinas!

Galing Kalidad!

That’s why let’s all give a round of applause for our awardees for helping us on the road to achieve this goal.

I always say that the Philippines needs to build a competitive industrial sector. It is only then that we can compete with the other players in the world, especially when the other players are allowed to bring their products and services in the country.

You’ve always heard of the growing trade deficit, for example. This is because of the growing economy. Our supply is lacking in the domestic production, hence we tend to import these products or even services. But I will say more of products.

We, the Philippines, would have to build robust industries and expand our domestic capacity. Without these, we would rely on imports. Thus, our emphasis is on building an infrastructure. We term is as i3S—Inclusive Innovation-led, Industrialization Strategy.

We have of course the core products: electronics, automotive, aerospace, chemicals, shipbuilding and all the other industries. The important thing is that quality is there. That will give us competitiveness. We will be able to supply these products and services, especially as the world keeps on opening.

As the US and China trade war settle, we are prepared to supply and maximize the needs and opportunities that will be reopened. And even during this difficult time, we have to be more competitive than the other players and suppliers.

We have to be more competitive in this world that is ridden with more protectionism. So nagiging mapili ang mga consumers. So maraming gustong magbenta, pero lumiliit ang market. For now. And therefore, competitiveness will come into play.

We want to develop, sooner rather than later, na kapag sinabing gawang Pilipinas, kalidad ‘yun. Napakaganda. Just like what Japan experienced in the past. Just like what China is experiencing now. Sinasabing gawa sa Japan dati, mahinang klase. Pero ngayon kapag Made in Japan, the trust and confidence in the brands of Japan will be there.

Even China. If you go to China, you will see the very advanced science and technology. AI being applied in their businesses, ang payment nila QR na. Wala nang nagbabayd ng cash. It’s a cashless society. They’re so advanced. That is what we want the Philippines to obtain.

Even in our OTOP—One Town One Product—in our Go Lokal! All the brands and products of our MSMEs. Hindi pwedeng bibilhin lang dahil MSME. No. Bibilhin ‘yan dahil maganda ang product. The product is relevant, good quality, and it’s the one needed in the market. Hindi dahil SME product ‘yan.



Since the start of the Duterte administration, one of the main thrusts of DTI is to help Micro SMEs to become competitive and sustainable. We know the daily challenge of our MSMEs is to remain relevant to their customers and survive. Given that our MSMEs serve as the economic backbone of our country with more than 99%–to be exact, 99.6%–of our total business enterprises being MSMEs, we cannot stress highly enough their significance and impact on our unemployment rate and GDP.

If you have heard the news, our unemployment has gone down to a record low of 4.5%. Palakpakan naman natin. Ang poverty incidence, from 27 to 22, it’s now 16%. Eh ang target natin 14% by 2022. Hopefully, malampasan pa natin.

As such, I am directing our DTI-Competitiveness Bureau, sina Asec. Jean and Director Lilian, to develop programs that will strengthen the internal capabilities of our SMEs. In fact si Asec. Demphna head the OTOP Next Gen program. If you remember, OTOP stands for One Town One Product. But we’re now working on Next Gen. That means more product innovation and assistance to SMEs. So their products will be more relevant and be preferred by more discriminating consumers.

So a lot or product development. Siguro over 10,000 na ‘yung natulungang SMEs. And when they improve, we also assure them of a marketplace. Ang problema kasi, kapag maganda na, saan ibebenta. So we put them in OTOP Philippine Hubs, at kapag mas gumanda pa, pwede na sila sa Go Lokal!, located in the malls. And these SMEs are showcased for free. Instead of paying PHP 25,000 per month, in a small space times 12 kasi advanced payment, they are now showcased for free.

Instead of PHP 3 million kapag magbebenta ka sa groceries and supermarkets, wala ka nang babayaran. For free you’ll get the chance to be showcased and be discovered. There you’ll hopefully get a chance to expand your business as you get discovered by bigger buyers, more customers that will order in big quantities.



To the rest, remember that the road to quality starts with the first step. If you aim to attain the PQA, you can start through self-assessment. The PQA Framework can be of help in addressing the gaps and vulnerabilities in your organization. DTI is also here to help you to become more competitive.

In this endeavor, we call on our recipient awardees to partner with us. You might have a supplier, partner, or client business firms that are MSMEs. Be a big brother to them and help them become more competitive. This is a win-win situation for all of us.

I always ask bigger businesses, what is your inclusive business model? I always ask how they can develop their inclusive business model and how they can link up to the small suppliers din. Make them part of your value chain. As they grow, they would have constant mentorship from the big guys. Even the hospitals, with the requirements of food will be sourced locally. That would be a win-win situation for all of us.



In closing, let me once again commend all of you for being part of this undertaking to embed quality in our way of life. By making ourselves more competitive, we create more jobs and employment while also attracting investments that would create a “virtuous cycle” in our country.

While there is nothing wrong in excelling and reaching the corporate bottomline, it is essential that we need to make a difference in society. As your organization flourishes, do not forget to help our countrymen by offering relevant solutions that address the issues and challenges besetting our society.

We want to ensure that nobody gets left behind in our economic growth story. This not only fulfils our goal of creating inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all, it also realizes the vision of President Rodrigo Duterte of a better quality of life for our countrymen. 

Thus, let us join hands in increasing the capabilities of our country to become globally competitive through the Performance Excellence Framework and the PQA.

Maraming salamat at Maligayang Pasko sa atin lahat!