Koronadal City, South Cotabato – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 12 will spearhead the conduct of the Treasures of Region 12 Trade Expo to promote the products of the local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in an effort to stimulate business activities in Region 12.

The expo, which runs from November 15 to 20, 2022 at SM City General Santos, will feature products from the region’s local food processors and crafters.

The theme of this year’s expo “The Future is Local” emphasizes the premium quality of locally produced products and the benefits it can provide to the local economy through job creation and a positive balance of trade.

A total of 48 DTI-assisted MSMEs from the various parts of the region, namely: the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, and the city of General Santos will participate in the trade expo to showcase the best of the best of their products.

Flora Politud-Gabunales, DTI Region 12 OIC-Regional Director, said that the expo will help pivot the MSMEs of Region 12 after almost two years of economic slowdown due to the COVID-12 pandemic. She also stressed that the expo is a result of collaboration with other partner national line agencies.

“Last year, we targeted Php 10 M sales for our trade expo. This has resulted in a whooping total sales of Php 35 M from both the physical fair and the online live selling. Capitalizing on our last year’s success, we will make it bigger and grander this year with 48 MSME exhibitors and through our stronger forged partnership with other line agencies,” said Politud-Gabulanes. 

One of the special settings in the expo is the booth for the Project SIKAP Entrep with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) XII and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) XII where products made by the people deprived of liberty (PDLs) will be offered for sale.

The Project SIKAP Entrep or “Skills Innovation and Knowledge Adaptation of PDLs in Entrepreneurship” is a collaboration of DTI with BJMP and CHR that aims to synergize the different services of the partner agencies in providing technical assistance to the PDLs of Region 12 through the conduct of inventory of PDLs engaged into producing wearable and homestyle products, provision of product assessment and development consultation, business management training, and marketing and promotion.

To advance consumer empowerment, DTI through its Consumer Protection Division will also mount a SUPER Consumer booth for a display of consumer education materials and free consultations with DTI’s consumer welfare officers.

With coconut as among the priority industry clusters of Region 12, DTI will showcase also the coconut products of the region in partnership with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) XII to entice business startups.

Several learning sessions will be hosted by DTI to discuss the package of business services of the agency to equip existing and would-be entrepreneurs with the right information and practical skills to succeed in their businesses. In addition, skills learning and entertainment sessions will be provided such as the Skills Showdown in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) XII, and the cooking demonstration using local products with local chefs in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) XII.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) XII also joins the partnership with DTI through the Treasures of Region 12 Job Fair on the fourth day of the expo with more than 1,000 job vacancies to be filled by the job seekers.

Among the featured local products are fashion bags and accessories made of T’nalak and other indigenous materials, coffee, banana chips, processed fruits, processed aquamarine, face masks and mask holders, embroidered shirts, dairy-based food items, and souvenirs and novelty items.

Date of Release: 9 November 2022