The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is once again spearheading the BAHANDI Eastern Visayas Trade Fair on 10-13 June 2019 at the Robinsons Place Mall, Marasbaras, Tacloban City.

As the month marks the celebration of the 121st Independence Day Anniversary and the various festivals in the region, the trade fair will showcase the culture and creativity of Eastern Visayas manifested in the array of processed food, wearables and homestyle products that will be exhibited and sold by the producer-exhibitors. These products have been enhanced through product and packaging development and branding assistance of DTI.

The conduct of BAHANDI aims to promote and generate sales for products of Region 8 MSMEs, in anticipation of the increased presence of buyers in Tacloban City due to numerous celebrations and holidays in June. The month-long celebration of the local fiesta annually attracts droves of balikbayans, tourists, performers, vendors, merchandizers, and other visitors.

There are 58 producer-exhibitors who will be participating and bringing local products from the six provinces of the region. Some products include binagol, suman, pili nuts and hopia, beef tinapa, keseo, langka seed butter, bahalina nga tuba, turmeric, calamansi concentrate, hand-woven bags, wood furniture, and shell crafts.

Last year, the trade fair generated more than a million sales with 36 exhibitors. Almost double the number now in 2019, they are expected to generate PH 1.5 M total sales.

This event will also pave way for the launching of the Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project.

The project is designed to promote business partnerships between SMEs and farmers, complemented with investments that facilitate the access of farming households and SMEs to diversified business support and financial services; and improve access to production areas through the rehabilitation of roads and bridges. Its pilot phase covers industry clusters of Leyte, Southern Leyte and Northern Samar.

DTI recognizes both the relatively weak performance of the agriculture sector and the increasing opportunities in rural MSMEs engaged in agricultural processing and value addition. With the RAPID Growth Project, DTI is seeking to expand its role in strengthening rural value chains and promoting agro-enterprises by providing facilitation services, leveraging its Negosyo Center (NC) networks, development of the industry clusters and increased market access through marketing activities such as this BAHANDI Trade Fair.♦

Date of release: 11 June 2019

Few of the 28 sets of equipment granted by DTI for the first Food Testing Laboratory in Region 8

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the first Food Testing Laboratory in Region 8 located at the Visayas State University (VSU) Baybay, Leyte on 14 March 2019.

Through the Shared Service Facility Program, DTI granted P20 M worth of equipment and machine for the food testing laboratory. DTI Leyte Provincial Office and VSU saw the opportunity to address the gap in the food processing sector in Leyte and the rest of the region. One of the prevailing concerns of food processors is the absence of accessible and affordable laboratory analysis services relevant to the mandate of the Republic Act 3720 and DOH Administrative Order No. 30 s. 2014 which is the mandatory labelling of its product contents/ingredients.

This facility will provide food and beverage product laboratory analysis services to help MSMEs comply with labelling requirements; direct business development assistance; professional network and support; and research and development on food nutrition and safety.

L-R: Dr. Edgardo Tulin (President of VSU), Dir. Jerry Clavesillas (DTI-BSMED), Asec. Blesila Lantayona (DTI-ROG), Dir. Desiderio Belas, Jr. (DTI Leyte); Former Regional Director Cynthia Nierras, OIC Regional Director Celerina Bato (DTI 8) during the launch of the Laboratory.

“Facilities like food laboratories are essential for our MSMEs to upgrade, meet quality standards, and become more competitive with the foreign products in the market,” says Asec. Blesila Lantayona of the DTI Regional Operations Group. She also encouraged the importance of collaborating and establishing networks with other established share service facilities to fully support product development.♦

Date of release: 15 March 2019

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) advises consumers to refrain from using Wan Chiong Steel Products.

To ensure the safety of consumers and to prevent the release of substandard products to the market, DTI orders hardware stores to pull out stocks and stop selling steel bars produced by Wan Chiong Steel Corporation while suspension order is not yet lifted.

The company’s rerolling plant in Pampanga was ordered an immediate shutdown last 25 January 2019 for producing substandard 16mm deformed steel bars and rerolls. Bundles of steel bars were sealed by the DTI Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) and DTI Regional Office III during the said enforcement.

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of Pampanga also issued a notice of violation to Wan Chiong Steel Corporation for alleged non-compliance to environmental laws. Smoke and dust emitted by the furnace is very thick which is a clear violation of the RA 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act.

While DTI-FTEB is looking into the revocation of the steel plant’s Philippine Standard License if they fail to comply with the agency’s requirements, Wan Chiong is advised to appeal to the Bureau and do necessary corrective actions.

Officials of DTI Biliran look at markings of a steel bar that passed the product standards

The Department of Trade and Industry Region 8 (DTI-8) conducted a two-day activity held last 27-28 February  2019 on Advanced Mediation and Orientation on Department Orders related to Monitoring and Enforcement. It aims to capacitate DTI officials in handling complaints, facilitating mediation, and conducting monitoring of products in the market and enforcement of fair trade laws and related regulations.

The latest closure of steel bars manufacturer in Pampanga is just one of the many incidents that the Department undertakes to heighten consumer protection against deceptive and unconscionable practices of some companies. Thus, DTI-8 deemed it timely to capacitate its people to strengthen monitoring and enforcement in the region.

The provisions of the recent Department Oder No. 18-122 “New Procedural Guidelines on Monitoring and Enforcement Amending D.O. 48 s. 2008” were discussed piece by piece. Provincial Offices are duly authorized to conduct monitoring, surveillance, enforcement and other relevant activities. The DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau need not come to conduct such activities unless requested by the regional or provincial offices.

There were also issues that surfaced during the seminar such mediation of complaints related to online shopping; warranty of products; proper handling of complaints lodged to DTI which are not under the Department's jurisdiction; and the fines imposed to non-compliant companies.

As an end note, DTI Samar Provincial Director Meilou Macabare urges the provincial teams to revisit product standard guidelines and be well-capacitated to verify, monitor and enforce so that standard qualification of products in the market are assured.♦

Date of release: 4 March 2019

The Board of Investments (BOI) together with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 8, conducted its first Kickoff Meeting for the creation of the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone (LEIZ) Master Plan last 15 January 2019 at the NEDA Regional Office Conference Room.

In 2017, Atty. Raul Angeles of the BOI and Dr. Buboy Dargantes of the Visayas State University signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the preparation of documents necessary for the LEIZ Master Plan. Hopes are high that this master plan will eventually materialize so that this will be readily available for the region and its potential investors.

The development of the LEIZ Masterplan is one of the action items under the Copper Industry Roadmap. Its objective is to develop a copper industry cluster, preferably in Leyte, which may be supported through the establishment of an ecological industrial zone. Government stakeholders in Region 8 expressed their support to this project through the RDC Resolution No. 35, s. 2016.

The Master Plan will identify suitable areas in Leyte where copper processing and allied activities may be located taking into consideration existing industrial zones and port facilities. The identification of existing and planned industrial zones will include details on how to develop, promote and optimize these areas.

The development of the LEIZ Master Plan commenced in January 2019 and is targeted to be completed in February 2020. The Master Plan will be developed by Palafox Associates as consultant. Palafox Associates, a firm whose expertise include architectural design, master planning, urban design of islands, provinces, cities, municipalities and towns, and environmental planning, was awarded as the most responsive bidder following a public bidding conducted by the BOI.

The Kickoff Meeting paved way for the consultation of Palafox with the stakeholders; thus the creation of the Regional Technical Working Group for the LEIZ Master Plan and feasibility studies. The said group was divided into four sub-clusters namely, (1) Business Investment and Enabling Group, (2) Infrastructure, (3) Social Services, (4) Natural Resources Development. These sub-clusters are composed of national government organizations, civic organizations and local government units.

Data gathering by Palafox Associates and series of consultations with concerned local government units and the Regional TWG will follow after the said meeting.♦

Date of release: 20 February 2019

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