VIRTUAL TRADE FAIR.  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched on Thursday (Nov. 19, 2020) the virtual "Impakabsat 2020". Around 80 exhibitors showcase over 500 products from ethnic novelty items to gifts, housewares, food items, handwoven products, bamboo crafts, furniture, and collectible antiques being sold in a virtual trade fair. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot

BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry in the Cordillera Administrative Region (DTI-CAR) virtually opened on Thursday the online "Impakabsat" trade fair where products made by local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are being showcased.

Impakabsat stands for the first letters of the six provinces -- Ifugao, Mountain Province, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Benguet coupled with the Ilocano word “Kabsat” (kin).

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a virtual message, said the trade has premium items from exhibitors in the region that include ethnic novelty and gift items, housewares, food items, handwoven products, bamboo crafts, furniture, and collectible antiques.

“The trade show gives a perfect example of the Cordillera scenery, tradition and culture. It is a celebration of the creativity and resilience of CAR, a perfect showcase of the Cordillera camaraderie and culture,” he added.

Lopez said there are 80 exhibitors joining the trade fair that also offers live selling and live skills demonstrations.

He said the “Cordillera is abundant with ingenious and innovative products that are distinct only in this part of the country”.

The DTI chief added that “Impakabsat also highlights the DTIs programs for the MSMEs”.
He said the DTI has supported a total of 1,571 MSMEs in CAR which helped improve the products of the 533 business ventures by providing development training.

“Through the various programs of the DTI, we aim to develop and strengthen our micro SMEs and provide them a platform to market their products, and through the One Town One Product (OTOP) next-generation program, the agency aims to promote and link our micro and small business to domestic and foreign markets thru trade events and retail marketing,” Lopez said.

He said that events like Impakabsat provide the region with the biggest platform and bigger venues where local enterprises can proudly present their goods.

MSMEs can now access broader markets thru these events to visibly compete with other products both locally and globally.

He said the online trade expo which will run from November 19 to 26 will enable exhibitors and buyers to visit and set up booths without going out to the physical venue. Interested persons can visit to check on the products being sold at the trade fair.

“More importantly this new online platform will give our micro SMEs even greater access to international markets as well," he added.

Lopez encouraged everyone to support the nationwide campaign “buy local, go local” that promotes locally made and proudly made Filipino products as part of the government’s push to restore consumer confidence.

“As we go back to work and begin to spend our income once again especially this Christmas season, businesses will be encouraged to produce more as well. This in turn will start the vicious cycle of fueling our slowly reopening economy.”

Instead of just adapting to the new normal, "let us all work in crafting better normal by supporting our MSMEs. Together, let us bring back better towards a more inclusive and hopefully post-pandemic future as envisioned by President Rodrigo Duterte," he added.

DTI-CAR Regional Director Myrna Pablo, in a virtual message, also said that prior to the trade fair opening, the region and the provincial offices have been conducting massive capacity building on digital marketing and e-commerce among the MSMEs.

“This first online Impakabsat will test our position on e-commerce as we embark to the new normal,” Pablo said.

She said the target is to surpass the previous years’ sales considering the wider market and higher potential of the products to be seen.

CAR’s resiliency during calamity 

Pablo said the Impakabsat is on its 25th year as it started after the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake to help drum up local trade and tourism in the region.

“In celebration of 25 years, let us reminisce a bit how it began with the theme trade and tourism fair of the resilient Cordilleras, a manifestation of the resilient nature of the Cordilleran as they recover from the killer earthquake," she said.

“Over the years, Impakabsat evolved from a mere trade fair to a celebration and exposition of upland culture as well as tourism and investment potentials of the region carrying the tag line ‘Only the best from the Cordilleras," she added.

Proudly, Pablo said, "let us mention that Impakabsat was institutionalized as the region’s major annual trade event that has helped our small and medium enterprises in elevating the standards of Cordillera products and attaining competitive advantage."

Every year, the trade fair offers new products that are being developed demonstrating creativity based on culture. (PNA