LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Regional Office 1 reopened the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Hub at the Laoag International Airport (LIA) in Ilocos Norte on March 9.
The OTOP Hub, which is the first hub to be opened inside an airport in the country, closed in March 2020 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to Amelia Galvez, officer-in-charge provincial director of DTI-Ilocos Norte, the reopening of the hub is a result of the collaboration of their office, the Partuat ti Kailokuan Marketing Cooperative, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, and the Office of the First Congressional District of Ilocos Norte led by Representative Alexander “Sandro” Marcos III.
“The LIA was chosen for the hub’s location due to its promising market – the passengers, both local and foreign, airport guests and other “dayos” (visitors). Before the pandemic, the OTOP Hub was generating substantial sales, averaging P300,000 monthly, which resulted in a steady income to the 30 OTOPreneurs and suppliers,” Galvez said.
Now, 50 local small businesses are serving as suppliers in the reopened OTOP Hub, according to Ermelyn Tariga, chairperson of the Partuat ti Kailokuan Marketing Cooperative.
Meanwhile, DTI Ilocos regional director Grace Falgui-Baluyan announced that under their memorandum of agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the OTOP Hub is permitted to operate for five years inside the LIA.
The hub is open every time there is a flight in the LIA for three hours before departure flights, and one hour after arrival of flights.
“This program is a major program of DTI. Here, we are helping the small businesses that are market-ready. So all of our suppliers ay dumaan sa Food and Drug Administration at mayroon na silang license to operate. This is to ensure that we are complying to market standards and to prove the competence of the micro, small and medium enterprises,” Baluyan added.
Locally-crafted food products, souvenirs, clothing items, bags, and hats are available in the OTOP Hub. (JCR/AMB/EJFG, PIA Ilocos Norte)