A BILL that seeks to develop indigenous raw materials, local skills and talents, and highlight local traditions and cultures has been passed on third and final reading at the Senate. 

With 22 affirmative votes, the upper chamber approved Senate Bill 1594, which will institutionalize the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines program.  

The OTOP program was first launched in 2004 to promote distinct products from different localities. It has since been expanded to support micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs that produce these local goods.   

The bill specifies that official OTOP goods will be given a trustmark based on a set of criteria to be established by the Trade department.   

It will cover products and skill-based services known to an area or locality such as processed foods; agricultural products; arts and crafts; and home, fashion and creative artisanal products.  

Funding to support the program will be included in the annual national budget.   

Beneficiaries will be determined by the regional and provincial offices of the Trade department.  

OTOP Philippines offices and sales hubs will be established.   

The lower chamber’s version of the bill remains pending at the committee level. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan