By Hannah L. Torregoza
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara on Sunday urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to step up its efforts in helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to bring their products online during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Angara said going online “is the way to go” during these days when the government is struggling to eradicate the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In order to continue operating and generating revenues during the community quarantines, entrepreneurs have started shifting to online markets,” Angara said in a statement.
“This is currently where all the action is, so if the businesses that were shuttered for the past three months are thinking of resuming operations immediately, online is the way to go,” the senator stressed.
Angara noted that shifting online could be more difficult for some than others, and that is why the DTI should also explore ways to get the products of communities in far flung areas, the IPs (indigenous peoples) and anyone who relies on traditional methods of selling, to market whether it is online or not.
For instance, Angara said the government can help resolve the case of the community weavers from Batangas who have no one to sell their products to right now due to travel restrictions. These weavers, he said, are now considering shifting to selling fish and vegetables once they are able to sell their remaining inventory.
“It would be a shame to lose our cultural heritage due to this pandemic. These are traditions that are worth preserving and I’m certain there will be a strong demand for these products once access to them is made available,” he pointed out.
At the same time, he said the Department of Agriculture (DA) and DTI should also assist farmers and fisherfolk to make their products available online.
He said the DTI should also continue building partnerships with e-commerce platforms such as ‘shopinas’ and ‘Lazada’ to make “Go Lokal!” products available for orders and delivery.
“This is as good a time as any to introduce these groups and other MSMEs to selling their products online. They should take advantage of this opportunity to tap this market that continues to grow especially now when most Filipinos would rather stay at home than go out,” he stressed.
This way, Angara said Filipinos are encourage online shoppers to support small businesses, as well as local industries by buying Philippine-made products.
“Everyone needs help during this pandemic and by supporting our local businesses, you also help in saving jobs and reviving the economy,” he emphasized.