DTI Secretary Fred Pascual during the signing of the OTOP IRR 

MAKATI CITY–In a significant step to boost local entrepreneurship and to further promote inclusive economic advancement, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the One Town One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act on November 10, 2023 during the signing ceremony held at the Board of Investments (BOI).

“The OTOP Philippines is a game-changer for our MSMEs. It provides a platform for our talented entrepreneurs to showcase their products, gain access to wider markets, and improve their businesses and livelihoods,” said Secretary Pascual.

The DTI chief emphasized the importance of the OTOP program in empowering local communities and enhancing their productivity. He explained that the OTOP Philippines Act, which was enacted on August 25 to support and develop Philippine micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), aims to harness the unique products and services from each town to drive economic development and create employment opportunities.

The Trade and Industry Secretary also stressed that the DTI remains committed to drive the fulfillment of the program, ensuring that it reaches its full potential and brings tangible benefits to MSMEs and their respective towns.

The OTOP IRR was drafted in cooperation with the USAID-RESPOND (Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development) through the University of the Philippines Public Administration Research and Extension Services Foundation, Inc. (UPPAF).

The newly signed IRR provides a comprehensive framework for the effective implementation of the OTOP Philippines Act. It outlines the guidelines and procedures that local government units (LGUs) and MSMEs need to follow to participate in the program. It also defines the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders, including LGUs, national agencies, and private sector partners.

Further, Secretary Pascual added that as the OTOP Philippines Act gains momentum, it is expected to create a ripple effect, generating more employment opportunities, fostering innovation, and ultimately contributing to the overall economic development of the country.

The formulation of the provision in Section 14 of the Act promulgates the rules on the OTOP Philippines Trustmark and its Certification Committee, OTOP Management Committee and Interagency Coordination Committee, OTOP Program Management Office and OTOP Local Program Office, National and Local OTOP Philippines Hub, and National and Local OTOP Strategic Plan.

The DTI chief also emphasized that the OTOP IRR ensures the alignment of the OTOP Program’s components and plans to the Magna Carta for MSMEs and the MSME Development Plan. This will enable the streamlining of a whole-of-government assistance in product development, capacity building, standards and markets compliance, market access, and ease of access to credit for MSMEs nationwide.

Recognizing the critical role of MSMEs in ensuring robust economic development, Secretary Pascual added, “This OTOP IRR is a testament to the government’s commitment to strengthening local industries and facilitating their integration in the global value chain. As we partner with different stakeholders, we will employ a whole-of-government approach to empower local businesses while creating high-quality and better-paying jobs for Filipinos.”

For more information on the OTOP Philippines Act and its implementation, interested parties are encouraged to contact the OTOP Program Management Office at OTOP-PMO@dti.gov.ph.  ♦

Date of release: 10 November 2023