CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Department of Trade and Industry in Northern Mindanao (DTI-10) has introduced various interventions for nearly 2,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic since last year.

Under the government’s “We Heal As One” initiative, DTI-10 focused on aiding MSME’s transition to electronic commerce through training, webinars, and virtual trade fairs.

During the CORDS X (Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security) podcast with Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Saturday, DTI-10 officer in charge Director Ermedio Abang said they have assisted 1,858 MSME’s move to the digital space as of June 2021.

“When the pandemic arrived, we adjusted. We held a virtual regional trade fair wherein we exhibited our products from our MSMEs in the region. So their products can still reach their market,” Abang said.

Based on the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, some 37,212 businesses in Region 10 have been affected by the global health crisis—135 establishments closed down, affecting 1,743 employees with the bulk of establishments coming from Cagayan de Oro City, 101; Misamis Occidental, 14; Bukidnon, seven; Misamis Oriental, seven; Iligan City, five; and Camiguin, one.

Under the Bayanihan I law, the DTI-10 also aided village-based businesses by distributing livelihood starter kits through the livelihood seeding program and provided loans to 535 owners amounting to P124.5 million under the Bayanihan Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises program.

National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Region 10 Director Mylah Faye Cariño said that even if the regional economy contracted by 5.2 percent in 2020, the region’s per capita output still emerged as the second-highest among all the regions at P163,952, which is higher than the Philippine average of P161,137.

The Neda official sees a better Northern Mindanao despite the health crisis because of such feats, along with the growth in information and communications technology, financial services, and agriculture.

To jump-start growth and stimulate economic activities in rural areas, Cariño said the Regional Government Center was established to centralize all regional line agencies and offices.

The Region 10 Development Council likewise created the Special Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Committee that shall work on empowerment of local industries, food security and agricultural productivity, housing, social welfare, health, employment and human resource development, and infrastructure development.

“In terms of project implementation, the Bagong Pag-Asa Organic Village, a BP2 pilot project located in Barangay Tacub, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte already has a physical accomplishment of 71.32 percent as of August 31, 2021,” Cariño said. PNA

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