MAKATI CITY–On 06 October 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual reported the Department’s key priorities in strengthening enterprises, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the Philippine Association of Realty Consultants and Specialists, Inc. (PARCS) National Consultants Summit held at Manila Hotel.  

Secretary Pascual underscored, “The DTI leverages the power of partnerships and collaborations in developing and implementing our projects and programs. The DTI’s partners include private sector businesses, civil society organizations, and academic institutions. The DTI also collaborates with other government agencies in pursuing its priorities.” 

The DTI chief stressed the need for business enterprises to embrace innovation and pursue digitalization to develop their global competitiveness. He also added that with the entry of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (or Industry 4.0) and changing market demands, businesses will need to pursue inclusive and sustainable goals.  

The PARCS Summit was held to accelerate the convergence and collaboration of development-related professions across industries and to foster more collaboration among the private and public sectors. 

In his speech, the trade and industry chief positioned the Department’s first key priority towards upgrading, upskilling, and upsizing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), recognizing the sector as the backbone of the economy. Under this priority, the Department is pushing for collaboration with partner agencies, tech companies, and international organizations to promote digitalization programs for MSMEs.  

Under this priority, Secretary Pascual emphasized that small businesses can put up an online storefront and utilize digital payment platforms. Further, a virtual online platform can link consumers to enterprises, products, and services making services more convenient to its consumers.  

The DTI chief outlined the second priority to be fostering industries that will create value-added income to our economy. He cited the country’s sizeable consumer market with a growing middle class that can strengthen potential domestic demand. He also emphasized the need to establish a solid domestic base, especially in developing agri-based manufacturing industries, to strengthen our export market. 

Likewise, he underscored the Department’s collaboration with the private sector mainly aimed at empowering MSMEs through setting up the Center for AI Research (CAIR), to strengthen industries and capacitate the workforce. Further, the DTI will also pursue the creation of an Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory, enabling the pursuit of innovation and technological development across all industries.   

For his third strategic action, the trade and industry chief highlighted the plans to boost regional development, particularly DTI’s One Town, One Product (OTOP) Program, and partnerships with the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and the Philippine American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE).  

Additionally, he noted that the DTI will also work with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to reinforce state universities as knowledge hubs dedicated to performing research and development (R&D) and providing training for enterprises. 

Meanwhile, to support agriculture and fishing sectors in the regions, Secretary Pascual also recognized the need to prioritize the establishment of businesses with value-adding processing of agri and aqua products. He also cited the DTI’s Three-Year Food Logistics Action Agenda, which was recently approved by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., that includes linking the agri-producers directly to the markets through streamlined food logistics facilitated by digital technology. 

For his final strategic priority, the DTI chief emphasized the Department’s focus on reconfiguring Philippine export sectors into industry clusters. He cited the country’s growing manufacturing sector which will provide stable employment opportunities and higher-paying jobs to Filipinos.  

In partnership with the World Bank, Secretary Pascual has identified three industry clusters that exhibit strong potential for growth and participation in the global value chain. He reported that the DTI will prioritize the reconfiguration of exports from three sectors, particularly Industrial, Manufacturing, and Transport (IMT); Technology, Media, and Telecommunication (TMT); and Health and Life Sciences (HLS). 

Highlighting the DTI’s strategic action in pursuing robust economic growth and development, the DTI chief stressed, “We must be multi-dimensional in our approach by embracing technology and sustainability, by promoting collaborative partnerships, and by fostering a culture of innovation and agility. These are pathways to success and the hallmarks of a resilient, sustainable, and equitable future.” ♦

Date of release: 07 October 2023