ILOILO CITY -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Western Visayas considered 2018 a “good year” as they embarked on various programs and projects that were directed towards boosting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region.

During the department’s year-end press conference on Thursday, DTI Western Visayas Regional Director Rebecca Rascon said among the significant accomplishments was the establishment of “so much number of shared service facilities (SSF) that are necessary in the increase of the market reach of their products and increase production capacities of our MSMEs”.

The most recent acquisition was the first fabrication laboratory in the region turned over last December 21 to the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U) in La Paz district that will serve as cooperator.

“The purpose of the fabrication laboratory is to provide a facility that will enhance product design,” she said.

The PHP7 million worth of fabrication technology will be outsourced to MSMEs and for use of students of the university.

DTI this year established 77 SSFs all over the region on top of the already 72 existing SSFs.

Rascon added the establishment of 108 Negosyo Centers (NCs) in the region as one significant accomplishment. She cited that an NC has been established in all local government units (LGUs) of Aklan, Antique and Capiz.

In Iloilo, the establishment of NCs is at 70 percent to already include the two that were launched in Tigbauan and Tubungan.

The NC’s assisted 49, 589 clients as of November 30 this year.

Under the Go Negosyo Act each local government unit is mandated to establish an NC. Rascon said that NCs have been established in all cities in the region while there are municipalities that are yet to have one.

Services being offered at the NC are grouped in four categories namely business registration, business advisory services, business information and advocacy and monitoring and evaluation.

However, she said that next year, the focus is to operationalize all the established NCs. The establishment of additional NCs will take a back seat.

Moreover, DTI was able to launch trade fairs that generated millions of pesos in sales.

She added that DTI is looking forward to engaging in more projects but sometimes will be better if they work in tandem with other government agencies. (PNA)