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HELP MSMEs TAP ONLINE MARKETS AMID PANDEMIC – ANGARA

Senator Sonny Angara called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to step up efforts to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) find online markets to sell their wares amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Angara said that as a result of the community quarantines imposed across the country, many MSMEs, including those from Indigenous Peoples (IPs) communities are having a difficult time selling their products because the movement of people, as well as access to traditional markets, are being restricted.

“Online is the way to go.”

“In order to continue operating and generating revenues during the community quarantines, entrepreneurs have started shifting to online markets. 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,” Angara said.

In his comments on President Duterte’s 12th report to Congress on the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the veteran legislator told the DTI to ramp up its efforts to assist MSMEs in tapping the online market as a way to restart their operations.

The seasoned lawmaker cited the case of the community weavers from Batangas who have no one to sell their products to right now because of the restrictions on travel.

Based on a report, the weavers are now considering a shift 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,” the senator said.

Recognizing that shifting online could be more difficult for some than others, he said the DTI should also explore ways to get the products of communities in far flung areas, the IPs and anyone who relies on traditional methods of selling, to market whether it is online or not.

Angara also urged the Department of Agriculture and DTI to ramp up its efforts to make the products of farmers and fisherfolk available online.

A strong advocate of the development and promotion of local industries, he, through his “Tatak Pinoy” platform, is constantly finding ways to help grow small businesses through innovation, developing supply chains and access to markets.

Angara lauded the DTI on its plans to boost local products and industries, and launch a national media campaign to encourage Filipinos to “Shop Local. Eat Local. Travel Local. Buy Local.”

He encouraged the DTI to continue building partnerships with e-commerce platforms such as shopinas and Lazada to make “Go Lokal!” products available for orders and delivery.

“They should take advantage of this opportunity to tap this market that continues to grow.”

“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,” Angara stressed.

“We encourage our online shoppers to support small businesses, as well as our 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 added.

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