Lawmaker refiles Otop bill

A LAWMAKER has refiled a bill seeking to institutionalize the “One Town, One Product” (Otop) program to provide a solid support to the country’s growing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).“The MSMEs should be supported financially and in terms of capacity building. They are the lifeblood of our economy, especially during this health crisis,” Sen. Loren Legarda said in a statement.Legarda refiled Senate Bill 247 or the Otop Philippines Act of 2022. She filed a similar measure during her term in the House of Representatives.“This bill seeks to institutionalize the One Town, One Product (Otop) Philippines Program, which promotes local products from a sector and a locality. The program shall capacitate the MSMEs on product development, initiatives, and training, among others, to upgrade our MSMEs. It also seeks to create the Otop Management Committee within the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Otop Program Office in each local government unit to help achieve the objectives of the law,” Legarda explained.The Otop Program shall assist in product development, packaging and labeling, technology updating, capacity building, standards and market compliance, and market access and product promotion.The DTI shall serve as the lead agency of the measure.The MSMEs are touted as the country’s economic lifeblood.Based on the 2020 List of Establishments provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are 957,620 business enterprises operating in the country.Of the total, 99.51 percent are MSMEs and 0.49 percent or 4,651 are large enterprises.Micro enterprises constitute 88.77 percent or 850,127 followed by small enterprises at 10.25 percent or 98,126 and medium enterprises at 0.49 percent or 4,716.