DTI Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Zenaida Cuison Maglaya, together with Senator Cynthia Villar,  Fely Into, President of the GSC SMEDCI and Chairperson of the Regional SMED Council, Mindanao Development Authority Undersecretary Janet Lopoz, General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera graced the Opening of the Trade Fair and Exhibit of the 4th MSME Regional Congress at the Trade Hall of SM City GenSan.

Undersecretary Zenaida Cuison Maglaya of the Department of Trade and Industry Regional Operations Group graced both the Opening of the Trade Fair and Exhibit of the 4th MSME Regional Congress in the morning as well as the Opening Program in the afternoon wherein she delivers a Keynote Speech during the Opening Program of the 4th MSME Congress held at the Trade Hall of SM City GenSan.

The morning event, attended by guests and participants from national government agencies, MSMEs, and some LGU officials, was opened by Ms Fely Into, the President of the GSC SMEDCI who also is the Chairperson of the Regional SMED Council. Mayor Ronnel Rivera of LGU General Santos City welcomed the guests and participants while the Undersecretary of the Mindanao Development Authority, Usec. Janet Lopoz and Senator Cynthia Villar, delivered their respective speeches. Officials of the SOCCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Resources, Ms. Rosanna Contreras, Executive Director and Mr Jake Lu, President, made the introduction of the speakers prior to their respective speeches. Then, a ribbon-cutting was done to formally open the Trade Fair and Exhibit.

In the afternoon, Ms. Fely into declared the Opening of the 4th MSME Regional Congress by delivering a brief opening statement and banging a gong. Mayor Ronnel Rivera welcomed the participants of the Congress while RD Ibrahim K. Guiamadel, DTI 12 Regional Director, gave the Speech of Introduction for the Keynote Speaker. Usec. Zenaida C. Maglaya of the DTI -ROG delivered a brief but substantive keynote speech stressing the importance of having a good Business Continuity Plan to become sustainable. First step of which is for MSMEs to learn how to be resilient amidst climate change. She then assured the MSMEs that more than doing price monitoring after the onset of a natural calamity, DTI focuses in preparing MSMEs to face climate change by giving them adequate training to to help them achieve business resilience. She also said that this 4th MSME Regional Congress in SOCCSKSARGEN is a continuation of what DTI has already done years ago right after the typhoon Yolanda hit the country. “We want that after a calamity, our MSMEs would do business as usual because they have already prepared therefore have the stability to rise up after the calamity. Unlike what happened in Yolanda where even days after the typhoon, no store can be found open because the store-owners were stunned and not able to prepare for the outcome of the typhoon.” Maglaya said.

On the other hand, Ms. Rosanna Contreras, Executive Director of the SOCCSKSARGEN Fishing Federation and Allied Resources made a speech of introduction for Senator Cynthia Villar who narrated her accomplishments in the Senate in support of the MSMEs as well as the farmer-entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, two of DTI Officials made some presentation for the MSMEs. Director Jerry Clavesillas of the DTI Bureau of Small Medium Enterprise Development discussed Green Economic Development, a strategy to create resilient business enterprises through a change in mindset from the usual business practices to green practices to appropriately manage resources by applying greening practices that are not necessarily expensive but rather cost-efficient to their business. At the same time, said techniques are so called “environment-friendly”, thus minimizing the so-called geological hazards brought about by climate change, which usually affects small businesses, in case they have not prepared well. DC Leonard Flores, Division Chief of the Industry Development Division of DTI 12, on the other hand, talked about the OTOP Next Gen, formerly One Town, One Product, a priority stimulus program for Micro and Small and Medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) as government’s customized intervention to drive inclusive local economic growth. This program enables localities and communities to determine, develop, support, and promote culturally-rooted products or services where they can be the best at or best renowned for. Now, OTOP Next Gen strategically builds pride of place and for localities to focus on products that they can be the best at. With the reboot of OTOP, we are now looking at transforming OTOP from a seal of assistance to making it as a seal of excellence. The OTOP seal now guarantees our consumers that what they are buying is top-of-the-line.”