DTI admits export sector still needs support fund
- Ehda Dagooc () - November 27, 2010 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) in Central Visayas expressed its interest to support the export sector in its bid to convince the PNoy-led government to retain the Export Support Fund (ESF).

"The export sector in this region still needs support from the government. We haven't reached the 2008 level yet. They [exporters] still need resources to continue their survival," said DTI-7 regional director Asteria Caberte.

Caberte, however admitted that this special program is facing danger of discontinuation, as its validity and importance will be properly assessed by the government yet.

She said her office is willing to give support and recommendation if the export sector in Cebu will initiate an advocacy on this concern.

Early this week, EDC private sector representative Allan Suarez announced that the sector is planning to launch an advocacy that will be addressed to the Office of the President, and concerned agencies like DTI to continue the ESF program.

At present though, Caberte said all applications from the Central Visayas region to avail of the P1 billion ESF fund share, have been approved, although releasing of some of the approved assistance money are still pending.

The ESF budget is taken from the Department Budget and Management (DBM), but the entire program is administered by the DTI in coordination with EDC.

At present, Caberte said the sustainability of ESF is still vague. But, she expressed hope that the government will continue to the support program.

On the other hand, while there are good prospects in the export sector next year, Caberte said exporters have learned big lessons out of the ugly effects brought about by the global recession.

"They've learned already not to put their eggs in one basket. This has been the traditional practice of our exporters in the past focusing on the US market," Caberte said.

Today, export sector has moved to attract other continents such as Europe and the ASEAN region.

To effectively hit these alternative market, Caberte said export sector (those that are outside in economic zones) needs resource to start off massive campaigns to promote their products in these alternative markets.

Scrapping the ESF program could be a great loss to the export sector especially in Cebu and other parts of the Central Visayas provinces.

Meanwhile, Caberte reiterates the need for exporters to seriously avail of the Free Trade Agreement in the ASEAN countries.

ASEAN markets accounts for more that 566 million people and represents more than US$1,400 billion in global trade.

Caberte said while the export sector is still on its way to find new customer-base aside from the United States, they even need more support from the government.

ESF is a special assistance program implemented by the past administration to help the Philippine export industry cope with the effects of the global financial crisis. (FREEMAN)

ALLAN SUAREZ ASTERIA CABERTE CABERTE CEBU CENTRAL VISAYAS DEPARTMENT BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY ESF EXPORT EXPORT SUPPORT FUND SECTOR
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