The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently declared that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Region 8 are back in business two years after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

“We have to show that we are back so we inspire others that things can happen, and make a difference,” DTI Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya said in her inspirational message during the recent regional trade fair dubbed as Bahandi (a local term for treasures) 2015.

Maglaya commended the exhibitors for never giving up, and believing in the partnership with development partners and the government.

The fair features the region’s best treasures, and products crafted with hope and determination such as processed food, gift items, décor and housewares, furniture and furnishings, and fashion accessories from six provinces of Eastern Visayas.

Of the 93 MSME exhibitors that joined the fair, 37 are participating for the first time.

The fair was made possible through the partnership of DTI with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Rebuild Team, National Small and Medium Enterprises Development (SMED) Council, and Regional Development Council of Region 8 and with the support of local government units, congressmen and national line agencies.

“We believe that there is hope. We build, and build back better. That is what we always want to say after typhoon Yolanda,” Maglaya said.

Maglaya also noted that on September 6, Region 8 will once again showcase their products at the Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (BDTP) showroom for one month. The showroom is located at the ground floor of the Trade and Industry Building, 361 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City.

“If we cannot get buyers to go to Tacloban, then we bring our producers and products to Manila,” DTI Region 8 Director Cynthia R. Nieras said during the opening ceremony of the fair.

She noted that the fair’s highest sales figure was recorded in 2003 at P38 million, and only made a comeback in 2012 when the economy bounced back. In the later year, it recorded P12 million cash and booked sales. This made the enterprises busy in the succeeding months and could have continued but typhoon Yolanda hit the region in November 2013, and severely affected the region’s MSMEs.

For this year, DTI aims to generate P15 million in sales. “There is no other way but let go, move on, and move forward beyond typhoon Yolanda,” Nieras said.

Nieras also said that to producers with outstanding orders at that time, recovery of production became more urgent than repairing their houses. Otherwise, they forever lose their buyers. To the many others, they have to restore production, restore their source income and re-employ workers.

“The producers have to make do with whatever they have left after typhoon Yolanda, and the assistance they received from various sources to rebuild their businesses,” Nieras said. (END)