Legarda’s proposed bill aimed at boosting and recognizing MSME’s contributions to economic growth passed by Senate

March 21, 2023

With 22 affirmative votes with no negative votes, the Senate passed on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1594, also known as the ‘One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines Act of 2022’.

First introduced in 2002, the bill seeks to institutionalize the OTOP program geared towards promoting local products and capacitating the country’s MSMEs through the development of indigenous raw materials, utilizing local skills and talents, and featuring local traditions and cultures across the country.

“It remains a strategic tool for inclusive local economic growth, with assistance coming from local government units, national government agencies, and the private sector,” Legarda remarked, citing the need for financial support and capacity-building for MSMEs.

Based on the reports by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), she stated that 99.58% of the total business enterprises in the country are composed of MSMEs, which created a total of 5,461,731 jobs and generated Php2.09 billion worth of sales in 2021 alone.

As the principal author and co-sponsor of the bill, Legarda said that the OTOP Program shall include product development as the primary instrument of assistance for the beneficiaries.

Moreover, it will address gaps in entrepreneurial skills through capacity building, set standards, and market compliance to preserve the OTOP brand as a mark of excellence and access to local and foreign markets. It will also enhance product promotion across different platforms.

The bill also proposes that OTOP products must meet a set of criteria to be established by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which shall serve as the lead agency for the said measure.

“The products should be consistent with the cultural values rooted in a locality, derive its sources from the community, evoke a sense of connection among locals, exemplify the Filipino people’s creativity and innovation, and draw from the locality’s innate and endemic strengths,” Legarda conveyed.

She added, “We must encourage and support establishing 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.”

As an advocate of Filipino-made products and services, the four-term senator underscored this move as a way ‘to promote 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.’ (end)