A brand is a promise — an emotional and psychological connection that businesses and organizations make to assure a good experience with the products or services under their name and imagery. But while all forms of bells and whistles can be hoisted, what’s essential is that a brand should — no, must — deliver on the promises it makes.
That is one of the major challenges we face as we pursue our “Tatak Pinoy (Made in the Philippines)” initiative, as suggested in the Proposed Senate Resolution No.4 which we filed. It is not only about the formulation and sustained implementation of a “high-minded” policy. It is also about creating a demand for Filipino products here and abroad, and ensuring that these products have been improved, and at par with global standards. “Tatak Pinoy,” then, will uplift not only the Filipinos who are in need, but it is also about following through on a promise to the world that yes, Filipino products are world-class.
As Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, we sponsored the Senate’s version of the 2020 national budget. And we’ve ensured that funding is available for various government programs aimed to improving Filipino products and businesses.
One is the Shared Services Facilities program (SSF) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Aimed primarily at government entities such as local government units and schools, and private entities such as non-government organizations and cooperatives, the SSF program provides an MSME access to machinery, skill-building, or government resources that may help them produce more and achieve the next level of market distribution.
For example, the San Fabian Pangasinan Council of Women’s Multi-purpose Cooperative was provided with new equipment to help with food processing. With these, they were able to properly package and store boneless bangus and bangus sardines, earning them an award for the Best OTOP (One Town, One Product) award a few years ago.
In Tubigon, Bohol, The Tubigon Loomweavers Cooperative was given support in the form of budget for a production center and showroom, and machines that would help in their production of habi, a type of cloth with traditional weave patterns. From 30 members who each earned P200 to 300 every few days, they now have 150 members who earn P8,000 to 15,000 monthly individually. As of August 31, 2019, 2,495 SSFs have been established across the country, with Regions 1, 2, and 3 having the most programs. Through the 2020 budget, we hope more of these SSFs take root and bloom throughout the country.
Innovation is needed, too, to boost the value-added proposition of our “Tatak Pinoy” efforts. We need to build up our knowhow, not only in research and development, but also in how we can bring new innovations and technologies quickly into the market.
One excellent example of this is another SSF program, the University of the Philippines’ Start-up Innovation and Business Opportunities Linkages (SIBOL) Fabrication Laboratory. The UPLB Fab Lab’s vision is to enable MSMEs to increase productivity and competitiveness through technology and equipment. The fab lab is expected to create efficient workflow solutions, and be a magnet for research, development, and training in new technology for MSMEs and local entrepreneurs. This fab lab is in line with the idea of the DTI’s Regional Inclusive Innovation Clusters (RIICs), where government, industry and the academe can collaborate and innovate.
Another facet that we should fully implement is the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Law (RA 11032), whose passage was shepherded in the Senate by Majority Floor Leader Senator Mig Zubiri. The law calls for streamlined procedures and shorter processing times for government transactions, automatic approval if a request is delayed beyond the prescribed time, and the creation of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), among others. To this end, we have augmented the funds for the ARTA in the Senate’s proposed 2020 budget, so that streamlining can proceed apace.
From all of this, it should be obvious that we have many Filipinos who need the support of the government to achieve the goal of being part of the “Tatak Pinoy” program. This is why we need to open avenues of communication, to talk about what can be done, so that we can move forward. To create world-class products, we need to take Philippine knowhow to the next step with the right equipment and training. Once we do, then we not only create a successful global brand for ourselves, but we also create a true source of Filipino pride, based on our creativity and hard work.
Sen. Sonny Angara has been in public service for 15 years — nine years as Representative of the Lone District of Aurora, and six as Senator. He has authored and sponsored more than 200 laws. He recently won another term in the Senate. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @sonnyangara)/WDJ