The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 10 through Regional Director Linda Boniao said during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Multisectoral Forum in Cagayan de Oro last May 10 that Filipinos may now be a part of the ASEAN market and will have immense opportunities through the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
In an article from pia.gov.ph, Boniao discussed how Filipinos can take advantage of the AEC and its importance to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s). She said during the forum that if SME did not do well in the country, they may benefit from the free flowing of goods and services through the entire ASEAN region with the backing of AEC.
According to Boniao, AEC will allow businesses in the country to invest in other ASEAN countries and attract businesses from other ASEAN countries in return. In addition, Filipino businessmen can directly and indirectly export their products to the whole ASEAN region.
Among the industries targeted under the AEC integration include coffee, cacao, rubber, support to tourism, coco coir, poultry, processed food, bamboo, abaca, ICT, and seaweeds.
Meanwhile, the top 10 countries target by the Northern Mindanao Region markets are Japan, United States of America, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Australia, Spain, United Kingdom, Malaysia, and India.
Boniao admitted that there really are challenges and issues in making sure everybody will have a fair share of the benefits of the integration. One example cited by Boniao is the problem in logistics in which issues of transportation and infrastructure is quite apparent as well as refrigeration, trade, and shipping of goods.
In the light of things, she added that DTI has put up 28 negosyo centers that will assist and conduct free seminars and workshops for aspiring and current MSME’s.
Aside from that, the agency also provides assistance to MSME’s to apply for loans from Banks and Financial Institutions through SB CORP – Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag Asenso (P3) and Mandatory Allocation of Credit Resources to MSMEs.