AUSTRALIA — The province of Isabela once again proved that it is the home of outstanding entrepreneurs as one of its award-winning businessmen, Mr. Carlo A. Castillo, owner of C.E.’s Kusina, participated in a learning visit in Australia from January 16–20, 2023.

The learning visit, sponsored by the Philippine Business for Education and Australian Aid, aims to expose Filipino sectoral representatives from different parts of the Philippines to the best practices of Australia in agriculture, medicine, and product development, among others.

Mr. Castillo received an invitation to participate in the learning experience as the nation’s processing and manufacturing sector representative after being elected as the President of the Fruits and Vegetable Processing Sector Skills Council of the Philippines. According to him, his participation in MSME development in Isabela in collaboration with DTI Isabela and his recent success at the 2022 Injap Sia Awards also contributed to his selection to the program.

In order to adapt Australian best practices to the unique requirements of the Philippine industries, a number of learning sessions were held during the trip. These included discussions in the fields of medicine, data analytics, electronics, technology, industry development, manufacturing, and production.

Together with the Philippine delegation, Mr. Castillo visited institutions in Canberra and Sydney, Australia, where they had the opportunity to tour an MSMEs marketplace. He claims that the Australian MSMEs’ zealous pursuit of product creation, packaging, and labeling—all of which receive full government subsidies—is remarkable and can also be done in the Philippines.

One of Australia’s initiatives is a year-round trade show where everyone, including visitors and tourists, may purchase and take home proudly made Australian products. This helps both established and aspiring businesses gain a solid foothold in the market, both locally and internationally.

As a result of their learning experience in Australia, Mr. Castillo hopes to lobby for the same, as well as many more initiatives, with other organizations and partner institutions in the Philippines.

He also took the opportunity to connect with other delegates which include DTI Usec. Rafaelita Aldaba, TESDA Deputy Director General for Legal and Legislative Affairs Atty. Tonisito M.C. Umali, Analytics Association of the Philippines Executive Director Mr. Sherwin Pelayo, PCCIHRDF Executive Director Mr. Marlon Miña, Analytics Association of the Philippines President Ms. Michelle Alarcon, DICT Director Ms. Emmy Lou Versoza-Delfin, ON Semiconductor Phils. Inc. Senior Section Head Mr. Olsen Bandahala,  PBed Executive Director Ms. Justine Raagas, PBEd Deputy Chief Party for Youthworks PH Mr. Hanibal Camua, PBed Program Manager Ms. Samantha Uichico, SEIPI President Dr. Danilo Lachica, St. Lukes Medical Center Consultant Dr. Minguita B. Padilla, and Unilab Foundation Executive Director Ms. Lilibeth Aritorenas, to also partner in the promotion of Isabela local products to their organizations.

A follow-up virtual meeting is set to be held in the coming months as a continuation of the learning trip. The meeting will be held to connect Mr. Castillo and the Philippine delegation to Australia’s farmer associations to learn more about their best practices in sustainable agriculture.

Mr. Castillo has been a DTI Isabela collaborator since the beginning of his business. He has also been a beneficiary of DTI’s programs on product development and has been a staple at provincial, regional, and national trade fairs.

By sharing his zeal for industry development and his eagerness to support Isabela MSMEs in growing their networks, Mr. Castillo hopes to support the government’s plans for inclusive growth for the nation’s several economic sectors. He intends to use what he has learned from the trip to help Isabela’s MSMEs adopt better production and marketing techniques so they may access a larger, more diverse local and global market. *

Date of release: 25 January 2023