L-R: Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Hon. Virginia Cordero Pe-Benito; DTI Secretary Fred Pascual; DTI Region 1 Director Grace Baluyan; Governor Jeremias “Jerry” V. Singson

VIGAN, ILOCOS SUR—On Sunday, 13 August 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual led the launching of the One Ilocos Sur One Town-One Product (OTOP) Hub at the sidelines of his trip in Ilocos to attend the Post-SONA Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB).

In his speech, Secretary Pascual emphasized, “As the backbone of our economy, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) play a vital role in shaping the Philippine economic landscape. They address poverty by generating employment opportunities. They serve as breeding grounds for budding entrepreneurs. These small enterprises spark development in rural areas.”

According to the Trade and Industry Secretary, a thriving MSME sector reflects a dynamic and progressive economy. The DTI works collaboratively with the private sector to assist MSMEs in product development, access to finance, market access, and quality control, among others.

The One Ilocos Sur OTOP Hub is a new market platform for Ilocano OTOPreneurs. It showcases products from two cities and 32 municipalities. It likewise celebrates Ilocano creativity and resilience, especially amid the recent onslaught of typhoon Egay. Further, the hub is a project of the DTI Ilocos Sur Provincial Office through the OTOP Next Gen Program, in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur.

L-R: Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Virginia Cordero Pe-Benito; DTI Secretary Fred Pascual; Governor Jeremias V. Singson; DTI Region 1 Dir. Grace Baluyan

“As the product landscape continues to evolve, bolstering market access becomes increasingly imperative. And the OTOP Philippiines Hub has emerged as an adaptive and versative platform that effectively addresses this critical need. Thus, the traditional pasalubong centers transform into vibrant spaces that go beyond mere product display,” Secretary Pascual stressed.

During the launching, Secretary Pascual also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Governor Jeremias V. Singson, which allows the establishment of the One Ilocos Sur OTOP Hub within the Provincial Farmers Livelihood Development Center located in Vigan, free of charge.

Further, Secretary Pascual assured Ilocano MSMEs that the DTI will continue to provide both capacity building and financial assistance through its financing arm—Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), especially for the victims of typhoon Egay and other disasters.

The main cooperator for the One Ilocos Sur OTOP Hub is the Ilocos Sur Export Enterprises Distribution Marketing Cooperative (ISEED). It also features 46 exhibitors or MSMEs from Ilocos Sur that the OTOP Hub is assisting. ♦

Date of release: 14 August 2023