MANILA, Philippines - How - one may ask, do we energize our exporters? Organizations need energized people all the time to improve morale and performance. The exporters' group is no exception.
It seems like it was only yesterday that I had witnessed the golden years of our export industry - using as yardsticks the intense passion and excitement of the exporters; the monthly well-attended export seminars of the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); the frequency/regularity of attendance/participation of exporters-exhibitors in international fairs and missions on food, giftwares, furnitures, electronics, and our other products; the increasing number of provincial exhibitors/participants attending regional and national trade fairs organized by DTI; the frequent and regular meetings/consultations/interactions of representatives of government agencies involved in exports like Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA) , Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of labor and Employment (DOLE); the active and regular participation of the DTI Commercial Attaches in consultative fora with exporters here in the country and in the countries of their assignments; the availability of adequate funding assistance from international and/or national agencies to finance specific export projects, and to bankroll the research and development on exports especially developing new export products and fabricating small tools for exporters - and the frequency of conferences/assemblies of private industry groups with the government sector. Not to mention the fact that many of the small enterprises sprouting all over the country during those past years had the guts, boldness and confidence to go export.
I remember some years ago when the handmade paper industry first surfaced as a sunrise industry. It was at that time when people here and abroad started patronizing environmental-friendly products on a massive scale. The entry of the handmade paper in the export market was at this time when people were clamoring for more environmental-friendly products. I was then the President (for 5 years) of the Federation of Handmade Paper Converter, Inc. (FEHPA). The handmade paper industry took off when former President Cory Aquino gave the handmade paper industry P5 million seed money. It will be recalled too that FEHPA was given space for a souvenir shop by CITEM of DTI where handmade products (like lamps, greeting cards, gift wrapping paper, stationery paper, picture frames, gift bags, and other gift and novelty items) from all over the country were showcased. …