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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) organized the very first One Town, One Product (OTOP) National Design Conference last 28-30 May 2019 in Cebu City.

Dubbed as #SuiGeneris: Identity. Ideation. Innovation, the event gathered almost 200 food and packaging designers, homestyle and fashion designers, DTI trade specialists, and OTOP Hub operators to keep pace with recent market and design trends. In turn, they are expected to translate their learnings into their product development efforts to level up the local products all over the country. Sui Generis is a latin term for ‘a class of its own’ or something unique or one-of-a-kind.

DTI Assistant Secretary Demphna Du-Naga reiterated the need for MSMEs to level up and prepare for the evolving domestic and global market. DTI Region 7 which hosted the 3-day conference was represented by Regional Director Asteria Caberte who challenged the participants to do more and be more market-attuned in area of product design.

No less than international celebrity designer Kenneth Cobonpue delivered the keynote lecture on design inspirations and innovation. Market trends and business outlook were shared by entrepreneur Carlo Calimon. Sustainability practices were discussed by Carissa Pobre of The Purpose Business and conference co-organizer Design Center of the Philippines Executive Director Rhea Matute.

The Filipino identity session brought some bombshells delivered by University of Sto. Tomas Graduate School Director Dr. Eric Zerrudo, international curator Marian Pastor-Roces, and Team Manila founder Jowee Alviar. The conference gathered a total of eighteen (18) plenary speakers and eight (8) breakout resource experts. It culminated with a learning tour to some of Cebu’s companies whose design-driven success puts Cebu in the design map.

We recognize how vibrant the creative community in Cebu City is. It is home to world-renowned designers and there is an exciting emergence of young artists, artisans, designers to add to its coterie of design veterans. Its enduring and competitive industries in the furniture, fashion wearables, and food business contribute much to its local economy. Cebu was the perfect venue for the design conference.” Conference Director and OTOP Program Manager Leon Flores III said.

A similar albeit smaller scale training for designers took place in 2017 when the OTOP program was rebooted.

The participants got a battery of design inspirations and ideas from the sessions and breakout workshops. “The diversity and dynamics of having both designers and manufacturers in one setting provided an opportunity to identify problems and solutions in a very realistic and objective manner." - Davao-based designer and academic Emi Englis exclaimed.

One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines is a priority stimulus and community-driven program for Micro and Small and Medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) that identifies, develops, and promotes focus products in the localities to drive inclusive local economic growth. As of May 2019 there are twenty (20) OTOP Hubs or retail centers all over the Philippines that sells and showcases these local favorites. Visit one now and support our local products and artisans.♦

Date of Release: 10 June 2019

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