Co-Sponsorship Speech: One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act

March 14, 2023


Senate Bill No. 1594 under
Committee Report No. 14
“One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act of 2022”
Session Hall, Senate of the Philippines
08 March 2023

Mr. President, my dear colleagues, it is my honor to co-sponsor and principally author the bill creating the “One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act of 2022.”

In 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recorded a total of 1,080,810 business enterprises operating in the country. Of these, 99.58%, or 1,076,279 businesses are MSMEs.

MSMEs generated a total of 5,461,731 jobs or 64.67% of the country’s total employment in 2021 – an increase from 5,380,815 jobs or 62.66% of the country’s total employment in 2020, when the pandemic caused a devastatingly sharp contraction of economic activity and huge job losses.

Based on the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2020, MSMEs contributed 60% of all exports, representing 25% of total export revenues. To add, it generated PHP 2.09 billion worth of sales in 2021, an increase from PHP 1.41 billion in 2019.

As the lifeblood of our economy, MSMEs, now more than ever, should be supported financially and in terms of capacity-building.

The OTOP Program is a government intervention that provides priority for MSMEs. First introduced in 2002 and subsequently promulgated through Executive Order 176 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in February 2003, this bill seeks to institutionalize the OTOP Program to promote local products from a sector and a locality. As their own “pride of place”, these goods symbolize the unique characteristics and talent of their respective localities, showcasing where they are best at or in areas where they may hold recognition. This leads to the growth of MSMEs in the countryside through the development of indigenous raw materials, utilizing local skills and talents and featuring local traditions and cultures across the country.

It remains to be a strategic tool for inclusive local economic growth, with assistance coming from local government units, national government agencies, and the private sector.

The bill proposes that OTOP products must meet a set of criteria to be established by the DTI. The products should be consistent with the cultural values rooted in a locality; derive its resources from the community; evoke a sense of connection among the locals; exemplify the Filipino people’s creativity and innovation; and draw from a locality’s innate or endemic strengths.

The components of the OTOP Program include product development as the primary instrument of assistance for the OTOP Program beneficiaries; capacity building to address gaps in entrepreneurial skills; standards and market compliance to preserve the OTOP brand as a mark of excellence; and access to both local and foreign markets, as well as product promotion across different platforms.

The OTOP Program provides an avenue to support my advocacies in culture and the arts, in such a manner that it has encouraged local patronage and gained international recognition. An example is the assistance extended to our local textile industry.

Weaving is a traditional industry in various parts of the country, with different provinces known for their respective tropical fabrics such as the Ikat, Tinalak and Inaul of Mindanao; the Patadyong of Antique; the Abel of Ilocos; the weaves of the different tribes from the Cordilleras; the Hablon of the Ilonggos; and the Piña of Aklan, among many others. These fabrics are worn by dignitaries and known personalities, and are even seen on runways. I wear them with pride in the Senate, and on important occasions, to show my passion and appreciation for the weavers and artists.

Dekalidad din ang kape ng Kalinga, bangus ng Pangasinan, mga parol ng Pampanga, marble novelties ng Romblon, sapatos ng Marikina, saging ng North Cotabato, mangga na mula sa Guimaras, at marami pang iba. Mga likas na yaman at mga likhang sariling atin na maipagmamalaki natin saan man sa mundo.

It is imperative that we encourage and support the establishment of trade and industry conducive to greater productivity and higher incomes through cooperative systems of production, processing, marketing, distribution, and credit services where applicable, especially among MSMEs.

The promotion of every product and every town is a movement to make the local economy work, thus promoting sustainable development, growth, and competitiveness of small units of society and the regions, the well-being of residents, and the quality of the living environment.

Mr. President, these are the reasons why I wish to associate myself with the proposed measure.

Thank you, Mr. President.