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One product, one town

After the whiners' threads here, this is a breath of fresh air - people who are actually interested in getting ahead.

There are government programs that people can avail of to give them a heads up. It just takes a little resourcefulness, hard work and determination to succeed.

One product, one town: Local yet global
By Ronnel Domingo
Last updated 03:56am (Mla time) 03/11/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- What does it take to make P5,000 grow into P1.5 million?

Just 30 pairs of idle hands.

Until 1990, the wives of farmers and fishers in Tubigon town in Bohol used to sit out their days just waiting for their husbands to return from work. At times, some of them would get a chance to add to their families’ income by selling fish in the neighborhood.

But they never had a sustained means of earning money.
Then, in 1990, they were organized into the Tubigon Loomweavers Association.

With a P5,000 grant from the municipal government and the rudiments of weaving that had been passed down for generations, the women built an enterprise that is now the Tubigon Loomweavers Multi-purpose Cooperative (TLMPC).

After years of self-improvement and hard work, P5,000 is what each member earns monthly from the business.

The Tubigon undertaking is part of the One Town One Product (Otop) program, which collectively accounted for P1.81 billion in domestic sales and $92.23 million in export revenues in 2006.

Trade Undersecretary Carissa Cruz-Evangelista, coordinator of the program, said Otop enterprises represent P1.89 billion of investments laid out last year as well as 70,609 new jobs created.

Otop started in the Philippines in 2004 following the success of the One Village One Product (Ovop) concept in Japan, which is also being tried in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, some provinces of China, and some cities in the United States.

The movement took root in 1979 in Japan’s Oita Prefecture.

Ovop required people to take up a product or industry distinctive to the region and cultivate it into a nationally and even globally accepted one.

“We started with practically no skills but we learned about designing products through training provided by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry),” TLMPC president Jocelyn Arocha said in an interview.

“Now, we have a greater variety in our designs, and we also do requests from buyers.”

The women also received help from both the local government and the trade and agrarian reform departments in building a facility that could accommodate 25 hand looms.

TLMPC uses as raw material the raffia fiber, which is obtained from the young shoot or leaf of the buri palm.

Raffia can be made into wall coverings, upholstery and wrapping materials, hats, mats, bags, and decors, but the group concentrates on rolls of fabric, place mats, table runners, tea mats and coasters.

They sell to retailers based in Metro Manila but some export their products.

“To meet demand and delivery commitments, we also (subcontract jobs to) at least 100 non-members who work in their homes,” Arocha says.

Cooperative’s assets

Membership peaked to about 100, all women, but has shrunk back to 35 because some have relocated and some have “retired” and let their daughters take part in the enterprise.

At its peak, the cooperative’s assets—including the building, equipment, inventory and retained earnings allocated to working capital and operational expenses—reached some P1.5 million.

Arocha says this value had been pared down because those who did not renew membership were given going-away packages that included their shares as owners and certain amounts of retained value commensurate to their years as members.

With 16 years of experience, TLMPC is again building up its size and value.

Arocha says DTI-provided training helped nurture the business with product development know-how, which prepared the group for trade fairs, exhibits and other marketing activities.

Otop success

“Members were also trained to ... enhance productivity and improve workplace organization and work processes,” Arocha says. “Simplification of work and having roles defined helped minimize internal conflicts.”

Within this year, TLMPC expects to move into a new building that can house twice the number of looms.

The raffia ware of Tubigon is just one of the 1,240 products listed in the Otop program.

Magsaysay awardee

Oita governor Morihiko Hiramatsu, who pushed the Ovop concept and helped spread it, won the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1995 for his contribution toward the economic independence of Asian countries.

Ovop’s mantras are “local yet global,” self-reliance and creativity, and human resource development—what the Tubigon women have adhered to. The raffia enterprise has even been named a model Otop of Central Visayas.

In Sibagat town of Agusan del Sur, members of the Sibagat Abaca Weavers Association (Sawa) tell of an inspiring story.

This nongovernment organization currently groups 35 member-weavers who are assured of a daily income of P100 to P150, aside from dividends. It also provides livelihood to abaca farmers, as well as to haulers who deliver the products.

Sawa makes rolls of fabric from sinamay or the first-class fiber from the Tagongon and Laylay varieties of abaca. The fabric is used as material for handicraft, housewares and fashion accessories, which are sold in the domestic and export markets.

The Sibagat weavers have received help from national government agencies as well as the municipal government.

Support from Australia

Their newest supporter is the Australian government, which provided a P1.4-million grant to the association. Sawa will use the fund as a working capital, to buy looms and spend in capacity-building and training programs.

Growing demand for sinamay products has prompted Sawa to plan on increasing the workforce to 109 weavers, and tap additional suppliers.

The Sibagat experience shows the criteria for a product or industry to be declared an Otop enteprise—a reliable resource base for raw materials; an aggressive core of producers; a local government able and willing to help; and an ability to attract support from government services.

Ironically, it is usual for a successful Otop enterprise to put pressure on a “reliable supply of raw materials,” such that producers must grow in number as well as in productivity to keep up with demand.

This is what is happening in Northern Samar, where Karangyan Bangus Products is the main processor of raw bangus in San Jose town, whose mariculture zone was ravaged by Typhoon Milenyo.

Abundant resources

But while Karangyan Bangus reports that the supply of fresh fish is “barely enough to meet various orders that keep coming daily,” the group is working earnestly to make good its commitments to the Jollibee and Cindy’s food chain outlets in neighboring Tacloban City.

Karangayan Bangus, which started in 2005, employs directly 55 workers and indirectly benefits 256 others.

According to marketing manager Nemia Loyola, the enterprise is trying to raise P2.9 million to build a processing plant and buy equipment.

“The country’s resources for products and services are so abundant that they are just there before our eyes waiting to be tapped,” Evangelista says.

“And once these resources are tapped, the enterprises created or supported mobilizes communities by its very needs—more workers, more raw materials, more product innovations, more support from government, business chambers, and allied enterprises, more markets to reach,” she adds.

From flowers to seaweeds

Since 2004, some 1,200 Otop enterprises have been identified around the country.

These include different vegetable products in Benguet, coffee in Ifugao, eco-cultural tourism in Mt. Province, fossilized flowers in Quirino, processed food in Cagayan, processed fruits in the Calabarzon region, dried seaweeds in Masbate, dried squid in Southern Leyte, mud crab in Northern Samar, rubber and seaweeds in Zamboanga Sibugay, and banana in Sultan Kudarat.

Some Otop products are themselves raw materials, like corn husk in Banga, South Cotabato, salt in Badoc, Ilocos Norte, pebbles in Luna, La Union and sand and gravel in San Jacinto, Pangasinan.

Others are very hard to find, like gold in Lacub, Abra, and in Pasil, Kalinga.

Still others focus on skills like information- and communication-based services in Cainta, Rizal, and Naga City in Camarines Sur.

“Surely, there is a product or service waiting to be started or given a boost anywhere in the country,” Evangelista says. “And among strangers, conversation starters could go from ‘what is your province?’ to ‘what is your Otop?’”


  • kian_konekian_kone Member PExer
    Ok to ah. Rather than sit idly and waste the day away, these women made productive use of their time and resources. I hope this program will also prove successful in other parts of the country.

    There's a huge market for handicrafts such as these. People abroad are looking for something that's homey and refreshing --- to design their homes with, or to make a fashion statement. The Philippines has alot of natural resources that we can tap into to produce such goods.
  • barista2010barista2010 redblooded PExer
    Good industries that need support. These will further increase the job employment rate in our country if these are made known and supported by everybody, from the government to both the public and private sector. Small industries like these two need manpower and equipment, if the big loan institutions just help them raise the necessary amount to furnish their processing needs there won't be any problem in making it big. Our importation expenses on resources might be lowered too by using our local products.
  • teetotalerteetotaler Member PExer
    This initiative will boost the skill of our people. I believe we already have products that we can develop for each town. We just have to promote this kind of initiatives so that small and medium size enterprises will have maximized opportunities to promote their products.

    I am sure this will boost livelihood of towns and provinces. They just need a little push, like that multi-purpose cooperative in Bohol. I think that was featured in one documentary, if I'm not mistaken. Either that or a similar cooperative also exists in other towns.
  • starczamorastarczamora Sissie DaToic PEx Moderator
    Hulaan niyo kung ano ang One Product ng Quezon City:

  • mike_s_6mike_s_6 babae po ako PExer
    This sounds great, more news like this please :)
  • greenwitchgreenwitch Member PExer
    There are also livelihood programs for the typhoon-ravaged province of Albay, sponsored by the DOST in partnership with the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, an NGO.

    DOST, NGO sponsors livelihood programs
    Manila Times
    February 23, 2007

    Legazpi City: In an effort to alleviate the plight of typhoon ravaged communities in Albay, the Department of Science in Technology in Bicol and the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, a nongovernmental organization, combined their efforts in providing livelihood assistance to some 12,000 thousand people displaced by Supertyphoon Reming last year.

    DOST officer Jacinto Alexis Elegado said the beneficiaries of these five-year programs are the 2,000 families or 12,000 people temporarily staying at various evacuation centers and shelters in the municipalities of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Sto. Domingo and Lecaspi City, the hardest hit areas in the province.

    Elegado said that at least 12 new technologies costing about P9.6 million would be introduced to affected families.

    The affected communities will be trained in handloom weaving and producing exportable items whose marketing would be channeled through PhilExport and the DOST regional offices.

    The government agency’s intervention projects include candles and floor wax making; bamboo processing and preservation; high pressure sap displacement and densification of coconut trunks, production of functional and novelty materials from bamboo and coco wood; bleaching and dyeing of indigenous fibers from nonwood forest products, handloom weaving, production of house wares, and shell crafts.

    Production of wood-tiles from diseased coconut trees, ferrocement technology for water tanks, fiber-concrete roof tiles, low-cost concrete housing materials and intercropping technologies.

    The major raw material specifically abaca will be sourced out from adjoining provinces of Catan*duanes, Camarines Sur, Camrines Norte Sorsogon, Quezon province and Mimaropa areas while Albay is still recovering from the damage of recent natural calamities.

    Other raw materials will be used are caragumoy, agas, raffia, bankuan, buri, tiger grass, banana leaf sheaths, pandan and other vines.

    The DOST official said that the BCBP will infuse P5.10-million financial assistance to this pro*ject. The BCBP is a nongo*vern*mental organization that supports depressed communities with their mission of bringing Christ into the business milieu.
  • AlanNathanielAlanNathaniel Member PExer
    Tiba-tiba na naman si Congressman dito. Yehey!
  • starczamorastarczamora Sissie DaToic PEx Moderator
    The Philippines will never run out of naysayers. :glee:
  • opus224opus224 heathens 'r us PExer
    The Philippines will never run out of naysayers. :glee:

    We should export them, excellent raw material for Soylent Green. *okay*
  • perkinsperkins Member PExer
    if the government is so serious about the development of micro-entrepreneurship, i wonder why we have yet to see a good advertisement by the DTI trumpeting OTOP or BMBE in the likes of PCSO's Walang Kupas or the DOH's Let's DOH It?


    this One Town, One Product (OTOP) program is now in existence for at least a year.

    late 2006, it conducted an expo in SM Megatrade Hall 1. regional merchants under the program as far as mindanao participated.

    only some handfuls came even just to see.

    The low turnout is a far cry to expos organized by smaller event organizers in the same venue with attendees flooding the events.

    i seems that even the shoppers in the megamall shops just below were not aware of it due to either lack of promotion or the failure of the government agency-organizers to arouse the curiosity of people.


    another government program with good potential for micro-entrepreneurs is the Barangay Micro Business Entreprise (BMBE).

    however, again for lack of due promotion, after at least three (3) years of the law/program, it seems to have not yet oriented or practically implemented down to the government clerks that should to hand out BMBE application.

    there are still provincial town halls that has not even application forms and there seems to be scant information or directives to make it known to underground entrepreneurs.

    we can only hope that the same is not true to cities and provincial capitols.
  • giaourgiaour Member PExer
    I know a handicraft maker. The bags that they produced ended up as one of Jennifer Lopez bag in the flick Maid in Manhattan.

    It made sense for each town to have one product, kaya lang it is frustrating lang when the municipal administrators lack the creativity to explore and support this aspect.

    As far as I know, Landbank has this lending programs in support of the micro-economic programs of the government. Dati rin after college I planned to set up my own small business and I ended up in QUEDANCOR, they are more agriculture-based. They support specific agricultural products for each region. I don't know lang if its still in place.

    Siguro lang part of the problem with the unsuccesfl attempts on these kinds of programs is that tingi-tingi mentality of pinoys. Gusto maging empleyado ng gobyerno, magtrabaho sa office o kung magbusiness man sari-sari store.

    Sana lang magkaroon tayo ng ambisyon kasi nga madaming opportunities dahil sa globalization at technology (e.g. internet at e-commerce).
  • k?nig7k?nig7 Banned by Admin PExer
    cheap labor, considered ba ito as product for export?:(
  • greenwitchgreenwitch Member PExer
    giaour wrote: »
    I know a handicraft maker. The bags that they produced ended up as one of Jennifer Lopez bag in the flick Maid in Manhattan.

    It made sense for each town to have one product, kaya lang it is frustrating lang when the municipal administrators lack the creativity to explore and support this aspect.

    As far as I know, Landbank has this lending programs in support of the micro-economic programs of the government. Dati rin after college I planned to set up my own small business and I ended up in QUEDANCOR, they are more agriculture-based. They support specific agricultural products for each region. I don't know lang if its still in place.

    Siguro lang part of the problem with the unsuccesfl attempts on these kinds of programs is that tingi-tingi mentality of pinoys. Gusto maging empleyado ng gobyerno, magtrabaho sa office o kung magbusiness man sari-sari store.

    Sana lang magkaroon tayo ng ambisyon kasi nga madaming opportunities dahil sa globalization at technology (e.g. internet at e-commerce).

    I think it's partly because we were raised with an employee mentality. We should take a page out of the Japanese and Chinese who early on, hone their children's entrepreneurship skills.

    Last year the DepEd launched its pilot project to integrate entrepreneurship lessons in public schools. There is currently a pending bill in the Senate that seeks to include a subject on business in schools' curriculum.
  • starczamorastarczamora Sissie DaToic PEx Moderator
    k?nig7 wrote: »
    cheap labor, considered ba ito as product for export?:(

    China actually has cheaper labor. Kaya sila mas maunlad :rolleyes:
  • ArnoldZArnoldZ Member ✭✭✭
    Maybe the Philippines should take Chile as a model. In the statistics below (both 1996) Chiles has only 14M populations whiel the Philippines has 72M, however Chile has a GNP of US$50billion while the Philippines has only US$63billion. If the populaiton of the Phillipines can have a GNP to match CHILE's it should be about US$250billion.

    POPULATION: 14419000 (1996)
    DENSITY: 19 persons/sq. km GROWTH RATE: 2%/year
    URBAN POP: 84% (1994), versus 68% (1960), Annual Growth: 1.6%
    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 75.1 years, ADULT LITERACY: 95.0%
    INFANT MORTALITY: 13 per/1000 (1994), versus 114 (1960)

    GNP: US$50.1 billion, Annual GNP Growth Rate 1980-1993: 4.6%, Annual Growth Rate GNP/Capita: 3.6%
    GDP/Capita: $2378 GDP/Capita PPP: $9129
    GDP/Capita: 1960 $1162, 1970 $1397, 1980 $1580, 1990 $1914
    ODA/Capita: $11

    POPULATION: 71899000 (1996)
    DENSITY: 240 persons/sq. km GROWTH RATE: 2%/year
    URBAN POP: 53% (1994), versus 30% (1960), Annual Growth: 3.9%
    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 67.0 years, ADULT LITERACY: 94.4%
    INFANT MORTALITY: 36 per/1000 (1994), versus 79 (1960)

    GNP: US$63.3 billion, Annual GNP Growth Rate 1980-1993: 1.7%
    GDP/Capita: $615 GDP/Capita PPP: $2681
    GDP/Capita: 1960 $418, 1970 $496, 1980 $680, 1990 $636
    ODA/Capita: $109
  • twixtertwixter tu amigita PExer
    glad this project is making a name. another way to boost philippine exports.
    check out their site:

    ikaw, ano otop mo?
  • kian_konekian_kone Member PExer
    Wow. Ok website nila ah. This is a good way to spread the information to other towns who wish to have their own "OTOP". :D And it's also a way for potential investors and customers to know more. Cool.
  • greenwitchgreenwitch Member PExer
    February 22, 2007

    By. Ma. Elisa P. Osorio

    Two of the country's leading business groups have given their support to the One Town One Product (OTOP) program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) by opening a multi-million credit line for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

    In a statement, Trade Undersecretary for Regional Operations Carissa Cruz-Evangelista said the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the DTI giving OTOP entrepreneurs access to the groups' financing program.

    PCCI has set aside P850 million for lending to small firms while Filipino-Chinese chamber has agreed to give SMEs access to accredited financing programs.

    Aside from financial support, Evangelista said the two chambers likewise agreed to work closely the DTI in finding the best investments suited for a specific locality.

    The businessman also agreed to lend their support to SMEs who wish to gain access to domestic and foreign investments and markets.

    The OTOP program, which is part of President Arroyo's plan to revitalize countryside growth through entrepreneurial assistance to micro and small firms, already have nine existing MOAs with six government organizations and three private institutions. Evangelista said the partnership will help push the OTOP program through special projects.

    "These partnership are key elements for the promotion and development of OTOP products both within and out of the country," she said. The partner organizations are Air Transportation Office (ATO), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Philipine Small and Medium Business Development Foundation, Philippine Export Confederation (Philexport), Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship and National Livelihood Support Fund.

    Partnership wiht the local government will help OTOP with its development plan while NEDA will assist in product development and design monitoring prototype financing and the development of regional brand and labeling. PIA, meanwhile, will promote OTOP by giving creative and technical assistance in planning, conceptualization, develpment, production and delivery of multi-media materials.

    For its part, Philexport, through its regional and sectoral support fund, will help in export promotion. This means assistance in trade fairs and exhibitions and other selling missions.

    Published at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, p B8, Thursday, February 22, 2007
  • wkb_entrawkb_entra Member PExer
    pateros = balut
    marikina = sapatos
    ilocos = tabako
    san juan = kabute

    ano pa ba?
  • BusilakBusilak Member ✭✭✭
    Other municipalities known for their products:

    Batangas- Coffee (Barako, which is used in Figaro by the way) although Cavite is catching up
    Laguna – Lanzones, and the town Paete for wood carving
    Quezon – coconut
    Laguna – cottage cheese
    Bicol- abaca, pili nuts

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