IF the average Filipino is asked how the government may help him or her, he or she will say they need more income. What is evident in our economic structure, I ask? Ninety-five percent of the Philippine population and economy are composed of the employed earning a basic or minimum wage, and self-employed Filipino entrepreneurs. To augment their income, they usually involve themselves in some small backyard enterprises, micro-mini and or medium-scale ventures. Their startup funds usually get to develop the product and production. Market development, which allows them to scale up their income, usually becomes last in fiscal priorities. They seek additional funding, but the selection criteria to qualify for inclusion and assistance from financial institutions is complex and cumbersome. Meanwhile, the miserable, jaded and hungry Filipino loses hope. Paano na?
The good news is, there is a way. The conventional and or traditional marketing practice is to bring these products to trade shows or marketplaces. To entice foreign interest, a lot of government agencies aggregate and bring these products to trade shows abroad or come up with big shows and conventions here in our country to showcase these goods. The Department of Trade and Industry has put up about almost a hundred stalls all over the country to showcase the OTOP and other products they have nurtured and mentored. But again, this is intermittent and costs a lot.
An easier way would be a tech-overlay to cut marketing costs, ease ordering, maximize exposure and scale the business growth. My suggestion is to create/build/partner a government-spearheaded and -funded, organically developed, and maintained E-commerce platform like OLX and Amazon, which simplifies all this and arms anyone and everyone who needs the exposure. This must be free or with minimum fees and assists the people to provide access to market his/her products 24/7 here and abroad.
Why do I bring this up? The timing is right. President Duterte is very famous right now all over the world. He is our endorser. At the same time, he launches it, all embassies and consulates can and should echo this as they are the alter egos in their respective countries of assignment. Therefore, they should be in tune with and concentrate on the pro-poor policies of the government to serve the people and market this. It should also have a link in their web pages.
Another good news is payment integration is easy now with the proliferation of Fintech. Soon, a cheaper integrated online e-cash payment/remittance system by the Philippine Postal Bank will be in place. It has in its network all its postal offices and affiliate postal offices of other countries plus its 70-plus international banks. It is under the Land Bank and the DOF; a project of the President Duterte. This is the best move ever.
I am very sure every barangay executive will be happy to do the job in their constituencies of uploading the products in this government E-marketing/platform in the Phone Apps. Selling online is already here. This version of the Philippine goods/backyard handicrafts and services, or even skills sets is an “equal opportunity e-commerce marketing platform”. It is continuously online and eliminates the problem of warehousing expenses of the micro entrepreneur, office rent, rent in stalls in the mall, time and money spent on marketing, distribution. The champion of the masses, President Duterte, has highlighted the importance of giving to the poorest and championing the masses. So here goes a platform for the struggling poorest. They say teach a man to fish. Now the government anchors his product to the e-commerce mega highway! Its cost is barely a two-lane farm-to-market feeder road that will only probably service 500 automobiles in the next three years. But this helps all right now! Aggregating all the products and skill sets info is ready as all the government agencies already have the complete information. All the local chief executives will now have the perfect marketing tool to help each single constituency to showcase their skill sets, products and tourism areas.
The author was an energy undersecretary in 2009-2010 and adviser to the province of Zambales 1998-2007. She created the Zambales Investment Portfolio in several languages to aid foreign investors in 1998 from where the first Zambales tourism plan was created. It is during her time as Zambales tourism chair (1998-2007) that the first Zambales tourism brochure and tourism showcase was aired in Susan Calo-Medina’s show titled “Zambales Rising,”and made into compact disks and distributed in the US Malaysia and China. She is now an independent consultant concentrating on the tech overlay in government legacy systems, Fintech and Regtech. https://www.linkedin.com/in/usecmagsaysay/