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The National Capital Region (NCR), also known as Metropolitan Manila is the country’s political, economic, and educational center. The smallest region in the Philippines, it is the most densely populated region which is a home to over 12 million Filipinos. It has sixteen (16) highly urbanized cities composed of Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela, all broken down into 1,705 barangays.


Shaped by foreign powers, Manila became the capital of the Philippines in 1571 under the Spanish rule. Mariquina also served as the capital from 1898–1899, under the colonization of United States. In 1901, the recreation of Manila at the time of the Philippine Commonwealth was commissioned to create the grand Plan of Manila, composed of the places and parishes of Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Manila, Pandacan, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andrés Bukid, San Fernando de Dilao, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana de Sapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo.

President Quezon established Quezon City in 1939 to be the capital city of the country from 1948-1976. It was returned back to Manila through Presidential Decree No. 940, stating that Manila has always been to the Filipino people and in the eyes of the world, the premier city of the Philippines.

The City of Greater Manila was abolished by the Japanese with the formation of the Philippine Executive Commission to govern the occupied regions of the country. The City of Greater Manila served as a model for the present-day Metro Manila and the administrative functions of the Governor of Metro Manila that was established during the Marcos administration.

On November 7, 1975, Metro Manila was formally established through Presidential Decree No. 824, under the management of the Metropolitan Manila Commission. On June 2, 1978, through Presidential Decree No. 1396, the metropolitan area was declared the National Capital Region of the Philippines, with the President’s wife Imelda Marcos as the first governor.

In 1995, President Corazon Aquino reorganized the structure of the Metropolitan Manila Commission and renamed it to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, with its chairperson appointed by the President.


The City of Manila produce industrial-related products such as chemicals, textiles, clothing electronic goods, food, beverages, and tobacco products. The growth in services and industry fueled the expansion in NCR’s construction and manufacturing — making NCR the largest contributor to the country’s production of goods and services at 36.6% GDP. Majority of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in operation can also be found in the NCR, with

190,166 business establishments and creating 61.6% of the total jobs generated in the Philippines last 2015.

Number of Establishments and Total Employment in NCR (MSMEs)

Number of Establishments and Total Employment in NCR (MSMEs)

Annual Population Growth Rate by Higly Urbanized City/Municipality: National Capital Region

Highly Urbanized City/Municipality

Population Growth Rate



City of Manila



City of Mandaluyong



City of Marikina



City of Pasig



Quezon City



City of San Juan



Caloocan City



City of Malabon



City of Navotas



City of Valenzuela



City of Las Pinas



City of Makati



City of Muntinlupa



City of Paranaque



Pasay City






Taguig City



Data Source: Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)

Most multi-national company offices and embassies are situated in Makati, the country’s financial center for business and economic opportunities. Located in the heart of Makati the famous Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM) tower, Ayala Center, composed of Glorietta and Greenbelt, and the Rockwell Center. Lucrative location for industries in NCR also includes Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Ortigas Business Center straddling in the cities of Mandaluyong and Pasig, Alabang in Muntinlupa, Triangle Park and Eastwood City in Quezon City, and Manila Bay City Reclamation Area in the cities of Pasay.

A city of great diversity, Metro manila is also a place of attraction rich in historical, cultural, and religious influences. Interesting places include Rizal Park, The National Museum, Manila Bay, the walled city of Intramuros, the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Makati, Quezon City Memorial Circle and Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Center, and as well as the shopping centers in Ortigas Center.


DTI-National Capital Region (NCR) under the DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) aims to contribute to the overall goal of inclusive growth through poverty reduction, income and employment generation, and, competitive business environment creation in Metro Manila.

It has four Area Offices that are mandated to monitor and assess trade performance in Area 1 (Manila, Makati, Pasay), Area 2 (Pasig, Taguig, Pateros, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa), Area 3 (Quezon City, Marikina, Mandaluyong, San Juan), and Area 4 (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela).

SME Roving Academy is a management training program for would-be entrepreneurs, SME owners, and managers of micro and small to medium-sized businesses. This initiative is meant to provide continuous learning program for entrepreneurs to help them better set up and step up their operations and improve their competitiveness, thereby facilitating easier access to domestic and international markets.

The Academy is an on-site learning institute for SMEs which integrates business development services (BDS) at the local and national levels. Business modules in the early stages of an enterprise’s journey in starting, growing and exporting will be developed, tailor-fitted to the requirements of local entrepreneurs. These accelerated training modules are designed to assist entrepreneurs in making meaningful progress toward business success and sustain business growth.

Program Features

The features of this Program are as follows:

1.) Setting up an Academy Network – Agencies providing business development services have been identified as Network Partners in designing the curricula/programs that will help develop the management capabilities of SMEs.

The potential network partners include:

  • Local Government Units
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Academe
  • Financial Institutions
  • Trade and Industry Associations
  • Other government and non-government organizations.

2.) Bringing the Training to Local SMEs in all Regions/Provinces – Training programs will move from national (head office) to the regions and to every province in the country. The Academy Network will drive business growth by bringing the training to SMEs in the region/provinces, targeting areas with strong industry clusters or those which have identified their SMEs’ training needs.

3.) Implementing Applied Learning Sessions in Various Stages. Learning sessions will be made practical, experiential, and attuned to the current challenges faced by SME participants. To facilitate learning and implementation of interventions/plan of action, business modules will be designed from the perspective of an owner or a middle manager in an SME.

4.) Expanding Business Growth. The Academy through the Network Partners will drive business performance in the region/province by integrating real-life lessons and challenges faced by SMEs in starting, growing, and exporting.

The Academy has identified four (4) critical stages of an enterprise’s pathway to business growth or of eventually becoming a ready exporter. The program has pre-identified specific interventions necessary to prepare an entrepreneur into entering the domestic and the international markets. The entrepreneur does not have to undergo the step-by-step process but this Academy’s platform of interventions hopes to provide the Program Managers/Business Counselor guidance and hints on how to diagnose the readiness of the enterprise in progressing to higher levels of government interventions.

(The characteristics of enterprises with the suggested interventions in the different growth stages can be found in the Toolkit section, Toolkits 1-2, pages 11-13.)

5.) One-on-One Business Counseling by Trained SME Counselors. The SME Roving Academy will include business coaching by SME counselors trained recently under the Shindan Program. Participants may visit an SME counselor assigned at the DTI- SME Center located in each province to seek further business guidance. Most DTI-SME counselors are capable of providing basic information to SMEs on how to start a business and to which agencies SMEs could be referred to for their specific needs. Some SME counselors have adequate business-counseling skills and basic knowledge on management, and can provide practical business advisory to SMEs.

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