Meeting with Regional Directors and Trade Commissioner
From L to R: Dept. of Agriculture Region X Regional Executive Director Donn Cedeno, Enter PH’s RJ Ledesma, DA Region VII Regional Director Maria Elena Arbon, PTIC-NY Trade Commissioner Benedict Uy, DA Regional Region X Executive Director Carlene Collado, PTIC-SV Trade Commissioner Celynne  Layug, PTIC-LA Trade Commissioner Eric Elnar, Ilocos Norte’s Office of Gov. Manotoc Chief of Staff Atty. Juan Alfonso Augustus Jose and Agriculture Counselor Maria Aracelli Escandor of the Philippine Embassy Washington D.C.

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Philippine Trade and Investment Centers (DTI PTIC) in Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, together with the Office of the Agricultural Attache, the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines and its Consulates across the United States held the 4th of a series of Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) with the theme “Balik-Probinsya Agribusiness Opportunities Across the Archipelago” on 28 September 2021. 

The Zoom-based seminar was moderated by RJ Ledesma, a serial entrepreneur, real estate developer, columnist, writer, host, and a partner at EnterPH, an emerging name in the field of business consultancy, specializing in investor relations and helping companies conveniently establish an enterprise in the Philippines.

Supervising Undersecretary of the DTI-Regional Operations Group, Bles A. Lantayona, led the resource persons from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with an overview of DTI’s initiatives to support countryside development. These initiatves include the  1,235 Negosyo Centers that promote ease of doing business and facilitate access to services for MSMEs and the launch of the online portal in June 2021; Agri-Negosyo Para Sa OFWs, a one-stop-shop information for OFWs; and Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3), a program that offers micro-financing and interest-free collateral.

Atty. Juan Alfonso Augustus I. Jose (Pancho), Chief of Staff of Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc of Ilocos Norte oversees agriculture-related programs, projects and activities and acting secretariat of the Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System (INAFES) for the Chairman-Governor Manotoc. Atty. Jose gave perspective on the advantages of why one must choose Ilocos Norte. Ilocos Norte was noted to have self-sufficient in food supply, has government support and incentives, business friendly with reasonable cost of doing business, and located strategically,  among others.

DTI Regional Director Ma. Elena C. Arbon of Region VII has an extensive experience in MSME and business ecosystem development. One of her projects is the establishment of the first Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) in the Philippines in 2014. The project has since been adopted in other locations in the country. RD Arbon talked about the different micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) development programs of Region VII: Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME); StartupIsland PH Mentoring Program; Digital Services Entrepreneurs Advancement Mentorship (DREAM) & Resilient, Innovative, Sustainable Enterprises (RISE). Another project being implemented is for Product Development and Branding for the following: Kalibutan Project with Design Center Philippines, Processed Food Packaging and Labeling, Food Connect with PTTC and FabLabs.

Dept. of Agriculture Regional Executive Director Carlene Collado of Region X in Mindanao presented the offerings of the region: vast agricultural land, ideal business location, rich natural resources, presence of power generation services, peace and order, has a huge potential for industrial, etc.

DA Regional Executive Director Donn Cendeno of Region IX in Mindanao also gave incite on the offerings of the region, among others: vast agricultural land and very long coastline. The region is implementing 12 strategies to boost agricultural program: establishing bayanihan in agricultural clusters (BACs),  Provincial Agricultural & Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES), launch various information campaign, Agri-industrial Business Corridors (ABCs), infrastructure projects, marketing support, digital agricultural & automated systems, address climate change, empower  & mobilize DA partners and stakeholders, strengthening of PH agriculture in global trade, intensified food safety protocols and regulations, develop the MSMEs and agripreneurs, launch various information campaigns. Watch out for other seminars being organized by US PTICs. Information and registration details will be available in the websites of Philippine Trade and Investment Centers and social media pages. ♦

Date of release: 21 October 2021