In line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Secretary Ramon Lopez urged Marikina City to put their best foot forward as he discussed with the members of the Philippine Footwear Federation Inc. (PFFI) together with other stakeholders of the Footwear Industry the next steps to re-lift the country’s Shoe Industry.

Among DTI’s first step is its ongoing Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project with partner PFFI, which provided the much needed machines and equipment for the common use of the Industry. The facility offers services like Shoe Last Making, Pattern Grading, Cutting Services, use of CNC machines and design and pattern making services. The facility also promotes Marikina’s perfect-fit ‘pasadya’ footwear industry or customized shoes known for its quality and durability. The current facility is already hitting its full capacity and an expansion is in development and if successful, the new facility would be the first of its kind in the Philippines.

Sec Lopez also visited the Philippine Footwear Academy, which produces job-ready workers for the footwear Industry. “Lahat tayo pwede talagang magtagumpay, kasi ang iba nagawa nila eh—I’m sure kayo kayang kayang nyo,” Sec. Mon Lopez said to the students of the Philippine Footwear Academy as he visited the academy’s state-of-the-art footwear machineries, training rooms, footwear technicians and artisans. Aside from competency building, the Academy also offers consultancy, sample making, and materials utilization/manipulation services.

Sec Lopez also went to various Marikina-based shoe manufacturing companies including Gibi Shoes Manufacturing, Bristol Shoes, and Ruperta Enterprises, urging them to continue their leadership in boosting Marikina’s shoe industry.

On his last stop, Sec Lopez personally visited Marikina’s Pride Rolando “Tatay Oly” Santos, the shoemaker who gave President Duterte a pair of shoes which the president proudly wore in his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Tatay Oly was in tears as he tells the trade chief how he has no choice but to source his resources from 5-6 lending which resulted to loan sharks visiting him 3-4 times a day. Sec Lopez guaranteed Tatay Oly assistance through President Duterte’s P3 (Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso) micro-financing program among other assistances. The P3 program is Pres. Duterte’s instrument for his campaign against 5-6 lending.