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Lawmakers push for Otop products


06:45 PM November 20th, 2012

By: Karen Boncocan, November 20th, 2012 06:45 PM

Businesses sell local products at Congress during “OTOP Goes to Congress” photo and product exhibition on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. PHOTO BY KAREN BONCOCAN

MANILA, Philippines—Lawmakers on Tuesday urged the public to buy local goods instead of imported items especially this Christmas season, when hordes of shoppers troop to malls and other shopping areas to hunt for the best bargains.

Manila Representative Benjamin Asilo, chairman of the House committee on people’s participation, is pushing for the buy-local campaign through House Bill 4962, or the “People’s Participation in Industry Cluster-based Programs and Projects Act,” which he said is an affirmation from the panel of its commitment to support the local economy.

In support of local products, particularly those produced in different villages of the county, small and medium businesses showcased their products at the North Wing Lobby of the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The product exhibition, dubbed “OTOP (One Town One Product) Goes to Congress,” continues Wednesday.

DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations and Development Group Merly Cruz said that “OTOP Goes to Congress” was the result of conversations with lawmakers on how to “upscale Otop” and “lay out a pathway on how to articulate the House Bill.”

Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia hoped that the event would not only encourage local businesses but also enable them to expand their ventures. With HB 4962, he said that towns may even produce several products in order to “help small industries in our towns.”

“This Christmas, let’s buy local goods,” urged Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño.

HB 4962, which is pending in the House appropriations panel, seeks to engage civil society and business organizations in community development and government projects by developing local products and services.

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