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Speaker: OTOP law meant for MSMEs’ post-pandemic recovery

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Speaker: OTOP law meant for MSMEs� post-pandemic recovery
Screenshot of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. while delivering his second State of the Nation Address at the Batasan Complex on July 24, 2023.
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MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos’ signing of Republic Act 11960, or the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Law is a perfect post-COVID pandemic law that would go a long way in helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover from the lingering effects of health crisis, Speaker Martin Romualdez said yesterday.

“The OTOP Philippines Act is the true embodiment of the Filipino-first policy. This is exactly the kind of attitude we need to aid in the recovery of MSMEs, which make up 90 percent of all local business, following the pandemic,” Romualdez added.

The OTOP Law aims to develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos through policies and programs that drive inclusive local economic activity and boost economic growth.

“The state shall likewise promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials and locally produced goods, and adopt measures to make them competitive,” a portion of the new law stated.

The OTOP Philippines Program shall cover products and skills-based services known to an area or locality. This includes processed foods, agricultural-based products, home and fashion products, arts and crafts, and skills-based services.

Romualdez expressed confidence that “the OTOP Program will redound not just to the individual localities or regions, but the entire country itself in an expedited manner.”

For a senior administration lawmaker, the new law institutionalizing the government’s OTOP program is a step in the right direction since this will enhance and boost the country’s competitiveness in the export sector.

“This newly signed law will prop up the PEDP (Philippine Export Development Plan) 2023-2028, which aims to transform our country into an export powerhouse of high-value products and services,” Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte said of RA 11960.

This means that the program will bear fruit “before or by the time Marcos leaves office in 2028.”

Marcos signed the law as he called on concerned government agencies to carry out programs and projects meant to develop and promote Philippine exports, in the hope of making Philippine products “more competitive” in the global market.

“This OTOP Law will help shore up the medium-term PEDP and address the not-so-favorable trade data in which exports suffered a two-digit dip in April arising from the risk of a recession in the US, which has dampened global demand for products,” Villafuerte said.

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