The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) conducts regular seminars and “webinars” to help businesses adapt to the changing landscape of incorporating online marketing in the system.
“They can just see the DTI office, pwedeng tatawag or pinopost namin sa FB (Facebook) page ang mga webinars na yan. Regular naman ang kino conduct natin. Mag online sila, magtanong. Yung mga walang connectivity pwede silang tatawag (they can call or check the FB page for webinars. These are regularly done, they just have to check online and ask. If they do not have internet, they can call),” said Myrna Pablo, DTI-CAR regional director, on Monday.
Among the topics in webinars include e-commerce platform; how to have cashless transactions via Pay Maya, GCash, and other means of handling payment without cash.
They also do the regular programs assisting the start-up business thru counseling, product development, labeling, among others.
Pablo said that with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic changing the lives of people in the world, many if not all entrepreneurs realize that they have to learn online marketing and other systems using the internet to survive, and the DTI is willing to help.
“Sinimulan na natin itong paghanda sa businesses na mag-online (we already started to prepare businesses to go online) before the Covid but we were caught in the middle and had to fast-track bringing the businesses’ presence online,” she said.
She said DTI and the Negosyo Centers in partnership with local government units are also willing to help entrepreneurs to start a business.
Pablo also said that with the pandemic, the buying patterns of people have changed — focusing their purchases on essential items such as food-related products, health and sanitation products, thus the need for prospective businesses to see the trend.
She said one good line of business is on food, more on delivery, computer repairs, computer application development, among others.
Pablo also said that aside from webinars, the government also provides loan assistance under the Bayanihan I or the Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Entrepreneurs (CARE) program which has already served 1,389 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Cordillera with a total of PHP104.81 million.
For Bayanihan II, there were already 24 MSMEs who registered under the CARE program.
Pablo said there are 26,000 MSMEs in the Cordillera being assisted by the DTI and only 40 percent of them are operating on 50 percent capacity. The others have not opened due to several considerations.
“The DTI can help, they should come forward so that we will know what to do,” she said.
Allan Abayao, chief of the Baguio City business permits and licensing office, said that from January to September this year, there were 87 businesses in the city which have registered to add an online transaction for the existing physical establishment or registered a new business catering to online clients.
The pandemic has also led to closures or retirement of 615 businesses from April to October 5, which does not happen on an ordinary year.
From January to March, he said closures are reported by owners to prevent paying penalties and surcharges on fees and taxes.
There were also 683 that declared permanent closures due to bankruptcy, change in the line of business, the lease contract ended, the owner went abroad, or simply decided to stop the business activity during the first quarter of the year, before the Covid pandemic.
Abayao said the city government also alloted PHP100 million for the Baguio Revitalization Actions for a Vibrant Economy-Economic Stimulus Package (BRAVE-ESP), a zero-interest loan package that can be availed by micro and small business.
Atty. Regina Cajucom-De Guzman, regional director of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Cordillera, said they received from 27 medium enterprises applications for amendments in their Articles of Incorporation (AI) or Articles of Partnership (AP) to add errand, delivery, change in address, and increase in capital and investment stocks to allow them to expand their business activity.
“They are adopting the trend of going online,” the lawyer said.
She said that adopting to the system is “the Filipino fighting spirit shining thru.” (PNA)