AS A CONSUMER, I hope Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez will pursue his plan to have big malls and retail chains provide free space for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as reported in this paper, especially now that the holiday season has started.
Many MSMEs offer unique, interesting, sometimes one-of-a-kind products you will not find in big stores. Lopez wants to bring these products to the mainstream market.
It is frustrating to find something you really like in a trade fair and not be able to buy it after the event because vendors cannot afford to pay even for the tiniest space in malls.
When I ask how I can buy their products, MSM entrepreneurs usually tell me I will have to buy in bulk so it will be worth their while to send it to me. I do not have storage space for, say, regional delicacies and I only need a pair or two of abaca slippers at a time.
I will have to open a store if I have to buy things in bulk.
The entrepreneurs tell me that what big establishments charge in rent will take the little profit they earn, sometimes even eat into their modest capital. Worse, payments for their products often go to the host establishment and they have to wait to be issued checks to cover their sales.
Unbelievable as it may sound, some of the biggest retailers often issue postdated checks. MSMEs have to wait months before they can get their money back. If they only have a small capital, they may be unable to continue production because their money is tied up.
Some MSMEs export their products before they offer them for retail in local establishments, as they find it easier to deal with foreign importers than local retailers. This is true for two or three winning products in the annual Citi Microentrepreneurship Award (CMA), an initiative of Citibank Philippines with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
By bringing MSME products to malls and big retail establishments, the Department of Trade and Industry hopes to boost access of MSMEs to the domestic market then to foreign buyers.
Lopez hopes malls will provide free space to deserving MSME products, even for a limited period. MSME products may be showcased on a rotating basis. That will introduce consumers to products not available in the market right now.
Adora Padla says “law-abiding citizens have been waiting for this (no garage-no car) law (the bill has not passed yet) for many years now. We hope it will not be applied only to newly purchased vehicles in Metro Manila but for all vehicles…”
Padla also asks traffic and parking regulation people to strictly enforce Republic Act 4136, the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, and remove/tow all obstructions on the streets, especially illegally parked vehicles. She says “streets have become extensions of private garages. This is somehow ‘vehicle squatting’ and is a form of technical malversation and corruption.”
I also received two handwritten letters complaining about traffic obstruction.
One letter-writer from Dasmariñas City, Cavite, said a car for sale was parked at the corner of Maria Clara and Miguelin Streets in Sampaloc, Manila, apparently with the approval of the barangay chair.
A reader from Bacoor City said his cousin, who had migrated, told him that people in the country where the cousin now lived were required by law to have a garage if they wanted to buy a car, otherwise they would not be allowed to purchase a motor vehicle.
I welcome feedback from readers but may I just ask that letters be written in print so they will be easier to read? As it is, I often cannot read even my own handwriting. Thank you.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]