Aquino adopts GMA's Otop in bid to spur growth

By Max V. De Leon, Business Mirror

Posted at May 17 2011 07:44 AM | Updated as of May 17 2011 10:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration has officially adopted the One Town, One Program (Otop), which was initiated by the previous administration of former President now Pampanga second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to spur the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the countryside.

The original Otop program was launched in late 2004 and supposed to have ended in 2010.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) originally dropped Otop on its funding list for this year despite clamor from local government executives and congressmen to extend the program.

“The implementation of Otop has been extended by the present administration, since the said program proves to be an effective strategy in stimulating economic development in Philippine countryside,” Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said.

Earlier, Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz told the BusinessMirror that if the program is extended, its funding will be drawn from the savings of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) among its other projects.

The DTI Regional Operations Group which she heads could also channel some of its funds to Otop.

In her report, Cruz cited Otop as a catalyst in the creation of 33,964 MSMEs in 1,518 municipalities and cities.

It generated 668,000 jobs and P7.431 billion in investments. It also generated P12.377 billion domestic sales and $522 million in export sales.

As the primary government agency mandated to promote the growth of enterprises, the DTI rolled out Otop Philippines to promote unique and competitive products or services of Philippine towns and cities.

DTI also initiated the formulation of the National Otop Strategic Plan (2006 to 2010) after it obtained the approval for the required budget and the designation as the lead agency to implement Otop.

It has advocated the program’s ideals and has provided the necessary support for LGUs in its implementation.

Other key government agencies, such as the Department of Tourism, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Agriculture, have worked hand in hand with other government offices and the private sector to sustain the program.