HERITAGE FAIR. The Department of Trade and Industry gathered 181 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs from Western Visayas for the 2022 Panublion (heritage) trade fair from Nov. 16-20, 2022 at the SM City here. The DTI eyes up to PHP15 million in sales, book and on negotiation orders during the event, an official said on Thursday (Nov. 17, 2022). (PNA photo by Perla Lena)

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is hoping for at least PHP13 million in total sales as it gathered 181 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) for the 2022 “Panublion” (heritage) trade fair from Nov. 16-20 at the SM City here.

"We will have a selling mission that will arrive from Manila and also, we will have some of the MSMEs and our partner agencies being here and so they will be able to network even with the government agencies and other MSMEs so that they can develop new products," DTI officer in charge regional head Ermelinda Pollentes said in an interview on Thursday.

She said last year, their cash and book orders ranged from PHP10 million to PHP12 million.

Pollentes added that DTI has been conducting trade fairs even during the pandemic and they continue to ask for support to MSMEs who did not have sales before the fair because of the pandemic.

One of the exhibitors, Marydoll Azarcon from Capiz, said they have been joining trade fairs and exhibits of the DTI for around 20 years.

Azarcon took over their family’s almost 40-year-old bamboo handicraft business.

She said every year, they introduce new products and were fortunate that they continue to thrive even amid the pandemic since they are engaged in an essential business.

“The biggest help of DTI was on the marketing. We cater to regional market for now although there was an offer for export but we could not cope yet due to limited manpower,” she said.

Aside from the trade fair, the DTI conducts side events that introduce MSMEs to innovation, science and technology.

“With the theme ‘Advancing Innovations’, we really are supporting the thrust of Secretary (Alfredo) Pascual on science, technology and innovation and regional industrialization. That's why we have info board on our information technology initiatives, moonshot start-up pitching; wherein we already have 19 start-ups that underwent training on pitching,” Pollentes added. (PNA)