The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application for registration of Holdsun Philippines, Inc. (HPI)’s P35.2 million footwear export project.

Approved by the BOI as a new export producer of footwear under the export activity of the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), HPI will produce 2.5 million pairs of footwear in its manufacturing facility in Antipolo City, Rizal and will annually source its imported raw materials from China and other Asian countries. The company will export at least 50 percent of its production to established brands in Europe, especially in Italy, Germany and France.

The footwear manufacturing facility is now gearing for full operations with installation of machinery and equipment already completed. Training of workers and trial-run operations are currently ongoing and commercial operations will start March 2017. The project will employ more than 300 employees in its initial year of operations and expected to double by 600 in the second year.

“Apart from the project’s big boost to the country’s footwear exports which we take pride for quality and craftsmanship, we see this project as a significant employment generator as workers for the manufacturing facility is expected grow by the double in just two years, providing more job opportunities for many,” said Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo.

The country’s footwear exports reached US$48.9 million in 2016, a 47.6 percent growth from US$33.1 million in 2015, according to figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority. Sports and special use footwear presently dominate the country’s export output. Orthopedic shoes and leather footgear are also among the footwear products under these categories.

Domestic footwear manufacturers are usually dispersed in the country but a majority of the main players are located in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and the CALABARZON area. Most of them are usually small and medium enterprises with a few large firms. These firms manufacture leather and non-leather footwear products including sports footgear, special use shoes, sandals, slippers and footwear accessories. Some of these firms are able to maintain licensing agreements of foreign branded shoes.