THE Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) is urging exporters to reach out to domestic markets via e-commerce as their traditional markets could face disruptions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada said only 40% of Philippine exporters have websites, which he said must be searchable and scalable.

“The digital space is very wide open. If there’s anything that this ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) has taught us, it is possible for us to get more active and explore the opportunities in the digital space,” he said in a web conference Wednesday.

He said companies should look to serving the domestic market.

“Gamitin natin mga possibilities dito sa local (We should explore the possibility of selling local) because that’s one big option for our exporters and manufacturers habang medyo hindi pa nagse-settle ang dust internationally (while international markets remain uncertain),” he said.

“Realistically speaking, there’s enough I think… under the constraints that we have now, to really look at the Philippines as a priority,” he added.

Mr. Perlada said e-commerce can be explored for both the domestic and export markets, adding that small businesses may partner with larger companies to help reach international buyers.

“We are going all the way to recommending the government to be actively involved in getting our products already in our geographic markets so that they are available there for e-commerce.”

Mr. Perlada said companies can also focus on exporting to recovering nearby countries including China and South Korea.

Exports for the US market are seeing the biggest declines, he said. — Jenina P. Ibañez