Legarda lauds enactment of OTOP law, says passage reaffirms role of MSMEs as PH economic growth drivers

August 25, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda lauded the recent passage of Republic Act No. 11960 or the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act, which recognizes the crucial role of micro, small, and medium Enterprises (MSME) as essential drivers of economic growth in the Philippines.

As principal author and co-sponsor of the bill, which was first introduced in 2002, Legarda stressed this move as a monumental milestone for the MSME sector, which is considered one of the backbones of the Philippine economy. She noted this law will finally provide the needed financial support and capacity building for the sector.

“The passage of the OTOP Philippines Act is groundbreaking not just in catering to our MSMEs, but it also paves the way for the government to further strengthen its support to all Filipinos by treating this as a strategic tool in establishing a more inclusive economic growth. This is a clear example of what a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach is all about,” Legarda conveyed.

RA 11960 law institutionalizes the OTOP program that promotes local products and capacitates the MSMEs through developing indigenous raw materials, utilizing local skills and talents, and featuring local traditions and cultures across the country. It addresses gaps in entrepreneurial skills, market compliance to preserve the OTOP brand as a mark of excellence, and access to local and foreign markets.

It tasks the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to serve as the lead agency in coming up with a set of criteria for OTOP products that are consistent with cultural values, derived sources from the community, evoke a sense of connection among locals, exemplify Filipinos’ creativity and innovations, among many others.

As a staunch supporter of Filipino-made products and services, Legarda has consistently advocated the endless potential of local products in every town, emphasizing their contributions to sustainable development, growth and competitiveness of small units of society, the well-being of involved residents, and the quality of the living environment.

“The OTOP law is a long time coming. We are now in an era where every role of the Filipino, whether big or small, is deemed crucial toward a progressive nation that we have been advocating ever since. This law assures Filipino local businesses of our continuous commitment to MSMEs in upholding their welfare and growth,” Legarda said. (30)