Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat!

Unang-unang sa lahat, gusto kong pasalamatan ang Kapisanan ng mga Sari-Sari Stores sa Pilipinas, Inc. (KASAPI) sa pag-imbita sa atin at sa pagkakataon na makapagbigay mensahe sa ating mga kababayang negosyante. Isang karangalan na mapabilang ang Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sa programa at padiriwang ng Consumer Welfare Month webinar: “Digital Consumers – The New Normal.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, DTI’s Consumer Protection Group (DTI- CPG), through its Consumer Policy Advisory Bureau (CPAB), has undertaken various initiatives and programs to ensure consumers’ access to relevant and updated information. To adapt to the pandemic’s unprecedented crisis, we in DTI, had to expand our range in digitalization and utilize the opportunities from the rising digital economy and consumers.

Every year, the country celebrates the Consumer Welfare Month (CWM), a month-long celebration that aims to promote consumer awareness and disseminates consumer information to both public and private sectors regarding the policies and programs affecting consumer rights and welfare.

This year’s theme, “Digital Consumers – The New Normal,” focuses on the need to enhance consumers’ knowledge and skills in navigating the digital world. DTI is ready to assist digital consumers with programs and projects adapted to the new normal.

We offer a series of free webinars and programs that help consumers become smart buyers of affordable basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) online. This includes the Consumer Care Webinar, a twice-a-week virtual assembly for consumers and the business sector geared towards boosting government initiatives for consumer protection and business sustainability.

DTI’s Diskwento Caravan, meanwhile, brings quality basic and prime goods at discounted prices to barangays/ towns closer to the consumers. It is a product of our partnership with the local government units (LGUs) and manufacturers of basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs).

Aside from raising consumer awareness and protection, part of DTI’s mandate is to develop and assist our local entrepreneurs. We have been providing various means of support to strengthen the business sector amid the pandemic.

To provide economic relief for our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) during this time of COVID-19, there is the COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program under our microfinancing arm, the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), which offers loans to MSMEs affected by the pandemic. The CARES program offers loans with no collateral requirement, at zero interest rate, and with a grace period of up to 12 months, thus helping businesses get back on their feet.

Lastly, we continue to support microentrepreneurs, especially during the present pandemic, by working to restart economic activities, restore business and consumer confidence. In line with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call for Trabaho, Negosyo, at Kabuhayan, we firmly believe that kapag masigla ang negosyo, maglilikha ito ng mas marami at disenteng trabaho para sa mga Pilipino.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 21 October 2021