OTOP HUB. The Department of Trade and Industry and the ‘Layad di Kordilyera’, a group composed of craft artists and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), have opened a One Town, One Product (OTOP) booth at the Porta Vaga mall on Session Road, Baguio City where locally produced quality goods can be bought aside from viewing the tedious backstrap weaving process as shown in this undated photo. It is jointly financed by the entrepreneurs while the government continues to provide technical skills to further improve the system and products of the MSMEs. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) bared that more than 80 percent of the over 20,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region have adopted online systems in their operations and are visible on the internet.

Juliet Lucas, regional director of the DTI-CAR, on Monday said they have been conducting a lot of capacity building in the past two years.

"It started with marketing on social media tapos ngayon (and now) we are infusing logistics on how to we digitalize cashless payments, QR (quick response) code,” she said.

Lucas said digitalization was infused in marketing and in the accounting inventory system with the help of science and technology.

She said the collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) allows entrepreneurs to become more innovative which makes them productive and competitive in the market.

“Mas malaki ang productivity para mas competitive sila in terms of prices, at the same time yung quality ng products maganda rin. Kung mano-mano yan, minsan hindi maganda ang quality at matagal pang gawin (If they are more productive, they can become more competitive in terms of prices, and the quality of the products also improves. If they manually produce, there are times when the quality suffers and the time used to finish a product is longer),” Lucas said.

The government’s concept of digitalization is a complete menu, from the processes of doing the products to the prices of doing the business including marketing platforms and financial and delivery logistics.

Lucas also mentioned technologies available with the other agencies that can be accessed to mechanize systems, for uniformity in quality aside from appearance.

In terms of digitalizing marketing processes, she said many small entrepreneurs have an online presence, selling their products through “Facebook”.

Lucas said while the challenges of internet connectivity remain an issue in the region, the entrepreneurs have opened their social accounts where they upload their products, contact information, addresses, and even promotions.

“They look for areas where there is connectivity. Once uploaded, it is being promoted whether they are in remote areas. If they have a connection, they can upload or look for messages so that even if they are not online, they can still be contacted thru cellular telephone numbers they post on their pages,” she said.

The officials said the goal is to allow the customers to reach them without going to them physically.

“We want entrepreneurs to be searchable so that when a client is looking for something, they can be viewed,” Lucas said.

Lawyer Sam Gallardo, DTI-Benguet provincial director, earlier said Baguio and Benguet have at least 17,000 MSMEs.

The number is based on trade name registration and the business permits issued by the local government units. (PNA)