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Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. (right) gave an overview of current state and latest developments in the manufacturing and SME sectors in the Philippines at the Philippine Economic Briefing on September 30, 2014. Undersecretary Cristobal said this year’s briefing theme “The Philippines: Shaping Our Future” aptly describes what the DTI has been actively pursuing, in close coordination with its stakeholders, private sector and civil society, in further pushing the development and growth of the manufacturing and MSME sectors. Guided by a Manufacturing Industry Roadmap, Undersecretary Cristobal said the Manufacturing Resurgence Program is priority undertaking of the administration that targets 30% increase in gross value-added and 15% increase in employment by 2025. Parallel to the manufacturing sector, Undersecretary Cristobal also said MSMEs, which form the backbone of the Philippine economy, are also growing and that key policy reforms were enacted to institutionalized support including the signing into law of the Go Negosyo Act recently. He said the DTI also follows an integrated approach in supporting and empowering SMEs and that programs and projects were designed to promote an enabling business environment, encourage entrepreneurship to have access to finance and markets, activities to enhance efficiency and address gaps and bottlenecks in the value chain. These programs include the SME Roving Academy, the Shared Services Facilities, the Access of small entrepreneurs to sound lending opportunities or ASENSO program, and the Nationwide Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Program or NICCEP program. The Doing Business in Free Trade Area sessions are also being conducted aimed at empowering local businesses on how to take advantage of the country’s free trade agreements with foreign countries. Photo shows Undersecretary Cristobal conferring with Secretary Rene Almendras at the sidelines of the economic briefing. (DTI-PRU)