THE Board of Investments (BOI) is preparing industry players in the gifts, decor, and houseware (GDH) sector to become more competitive suppliers in the global market. On Monday, BOI announced it has partnered with the University of the Philippines-Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP-ISSI) in holding a workshop to accomplish this goal.
“The Philippines is world-renowned for its quality craftsmanship as most of its homegrown products are handmade. With the implementation of the roadmap in full swing, the sector now has a blueprint on how to revitalize market share by making an impact in the international market,” said Trade Assistant Secretary for Industry Development Rafaelita Aldaba.
UP-ISSI crafted the GDH Roadmap in consultation with industry stakeholders, the BOI and other relevant government agencies. The workshop is one of the capacity-building measures in this roadmap.
The BOI through the Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) is sponsoring the workshop. UP-ISSI has trained a total of 55 participants from 26 players in the GDH sector, comprised mostly of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), on how to formulate their respective Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) in the advent of business difficulties, emergencies, and disasters.
Representatives from the Home Accents Group of the Philippines Inc. (HAPI), the Philippine Federation of Furnishings Associations (PhilFFA), and the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport) also joined the workshop.
Some of the GDH players, most of which are MSMEs, participated in the BOI-UP-ISSI’s Business Continuity Plan Workshop. They were trained through the workshop to prepare for, respond to, and recover from various business challenges.
A BCP is an essential component of a firm’s response planning. It sets out how the business will operate following an unforeseen adversity and how it expects to do “business as usual” in the quickest possible time afterwards.
“These industries employ between 690,000 to around a million people, so it is important that the GDH sector gets the necessary boost as it provides much-needed employment especially in the countryside. The implementation of the recommendations in the roadmap such as the conduct of capacity-building programs will allow the sector to be more competitive and better prepared to participate in the global value chains including taking advantage of the already integrated Asean market,” Aldaba said.
The GDH roadmap indicated that there are around 2,412 handicraft enterprises in the country, most of which are MSMEs with majority located in the NCR, Cordillera Region, Region 5, and Region 12. Although recent figures indicate an increase of the Philippines’s GDH exports from 2010 to 2014, other neighboring countries have already surpassed the country’s export output of similar products.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that Thailand exported around $54.5-million worth of decor in 2013 while the Philippines shipped only $50.9 million for the same period. Thailand’s giftware output, meanwhile, amounted to $118.5 million in 2014, while the Philippines exported only $23 million.
For housewares, Vietnam remains at the top with $367-million worth of exports in 2014, compared to Philippine export shipments of only $19 million.
China on the other hand dominates the low-end handicraft and décor sector. To sustain the momentum which started in the 2000s, it has shifted to value-added products in response to the arge demand from the United States and Europe, according to the Confederation of Handicraft Exports and Artisans Inc.
Although the latest figures show that the GDH accounts for barely one percent of total Philippine exports, the sector remains unfazed. “Our country’s strength lies in offering high-end products with world-class designs made by our master craftsmen,” Aldaba said.
In October, three related events were held highlighting the world-class creativity and unique cultural heritage of Filipinos in the GDH sector; these were the HABI Market Fair which focused on fabrics with artisanal designs, Manila FAME, considered as the country’s “premier design and lifestyle event,” and the National Arts & Crafts Fair which involved cooperatives and SMEs from the countryside showcasing their various products such as baskets, and fabrics.