To upgrade the technological capabilities and improve the productivity and efficiency of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) is taking a notch higher in strengthening its scientific and technological initiatives through its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

The SETUP program provides appropriate technologies and assistance to micro and medium enterprises, such as the provision of innovation funds, technology transfer and commercialization assistance, consultancy, packaging assistance, technology training, and laboratory and testing services.

Additionally, the program capacitates MSMEs to increase sales and development, restructure, and increase overall company operations. This will further improve their product and service quality, comply with national and international standards of excellence, and be competitive in their respective fields.

In the Bicol Region, a total of 4,380 science and technology interventions were provided for MSMEs from 2019 to 2023 to upgrade their technological capability and improve productivity in their operations.

One of its successful beneficiaries in the Bicol Region is the Livelihood and Agricultural Machinery Fabricator in Sipa, Batao Catanduanes, owned by Ramon T. Manlolo.

Mr. Manlolo’s ongoing agreements underscore the excellence of his inventions in supporting local markets and academic research, especially in the development of the abaca industry in the country. Mr. Manlolo’s transformation from a graduate in nutrition and dietetics to a fabricator and machine inventor is a testament to his keen observation and curiosity.

Moreover, his firm recently engaged in applied research and technology development with an emphasis on additive manufacturing and metal processing through modification and solidification. Mr. Manlolo was able to fabricate and modify the abaca stripping machine and knife provided to abaca farmers in Catanduanes.

As the sole agricultural and food machinery fabricator in the province, the cooperator doesn’t take advantage of the situation of not having huge competitors within the province. He still sets the price of his work according to the standard cost and value. He also guarantees the materials are ethically sourced before delivery to the client.

With the increasing number of food processors and the given number of farmers in Catanduanes and in other provinces, the owner aims to provide quality and efficient equipment and machinery that will definitely aid and improve their processes.

This will not just address the potential of his business but will also help improve the production of his clients, which will definitely increase employment and profit. Also, the proponent was able to provide employment to students, especially during an influx of demand.

In addition, the owner is continuously learning and doing research that would help his creation become more competitive, efficient, and eco-friendly.

Mr. Manlolo’s success not only defies societal norms regarding career paths but also serves as a testament to his father’s legacy, showcasing that his accomplishments speak louder than conformity to predetermined roles.

The said firm was recently visited by DoST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang, together with DoST Region 5 Regional Director Rommel Serrano, among others.

Through different agencies and DoST SETUP, the provision of such equipment is possible. It helps foster competitive innovation as it gives opportunities for creating better products and services. It also increased competitiveness, which improved brand recognition and value.