Religious Leaders in the Philippines Unite in Prayer against COVID-19

On September 17 and 19, an online interfaith prayer meeting was held where religious leaders from the Christian and Muslim communities in the Philippines joined to be one against COVID-19. Chairman Man Hee Lee of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light proposed it to unite the religious community in battling this pandemic.
During the first part, the religious leaders earnestly prayed for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for the wisdom to find the cure for it as soon as possible. They also prayed for the Philippine government, medical front liners, and the families who lost their loved ones because of the virus.
Pastor Bjorn Capiendo, one of the participants, encouraged everyone to be “blessed peacemakers who strive to prevent contention, strife and war”, especially during these trying times. He added that this is the right time for people from different sectors in the society to use their influence “to reconcile opposing parties and to prevent lawsuits and hostilities in families and neighbors”.

And Mr. Roberto Mata, operation manager of ISCAG (Islamic Studies Call And Guidance of the Philippines) who also stands and shared a short message regarding prayer, “It is very important that in every prayer in and out the body of a person should be cleaned” according to him that people should always pray completely and with sincerity in everything to God.
HWPL will continue to bridge religious communities for peace through continuous interfaith dialogues, prayer gathering, and fellowship. This includes that the religious leaders participating in HWPL interfaith dialogue expressed their commitment to continuously discuss on how to bridge the gap caused by different ideologies.


How a promising Mindoreño Entrepreneur is upholding Mindoro’s thriving food scenery

While Occidental Mindoro is known as a promising hub for sustainable tourism, the province boasts more than its white beaches and agricultural lands. Hailing from the small municipality of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, is a booming enterprise called Mids Foods Pasalubong.

Mids Foods Pasalubong is the brainchild of Mr. Ernan Declito, a local from the province who envisioned to promote Mindoro’s traditional yet genuine products characterized by distinct version, style and flavors that are consumed and passed on from generation to generation. The shop’s variety of products consist of sweets and pastries, Yema spread, a sweet custard confectionary, and Bagoong Alamang that comes with 5 flavors, bagnet, tocino, liempo, longanisa, and chicken.

Their humble beginnings can be traced back to their first creation- polvoron, dubbed as every child’s delight. Mids Foods produces high quality, rich in flavor delicacies and pastries that are baked with love. Mids Foods brand of “The Good Taste of Happiness” comes from their vision of providing the perfect taste of felicity and affordable pasalubong for tourists and balikbayans.

The idea of Mids Foods Pasalubong was put in reality after Mr. Declito finished the first batch of the KMME or Kapatid Mentor Me program of DTI in 2017. Because of the success stories shared by other participating micro, small, and medium enterprises, he was inspired to start his business even with a small capital on hand. The Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program aims to help micro, small and medium entrerprises (MSMEs) scale up their businesses thru coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship.

Likewise, the enterprise has undergone product development assistance from DTI MIMAROPA which also paved way for its participation at the Agbiliwa Trade Fair. Furthermore, several trainings on packaging and label, food safety and sanitation with SGS Philippines, basic of trademarks and trademark search, E-Commerce, and strategic digital marketing were attended by the enterprise owner.

DTI MIMAROPA’s interventions are reflected in the enterprise’s success figures. Prior to availing the assistance in 2017, Mids Food Pasalubong only had one full-time employee, and since then, three more full-time employees were added in their roster. Additionally, the enterprise has also helped other unemployed locals in the province through reselling and distributing. They have also acquired a part-time employee to assist in their operations. Notably, their gross sales before DTI’s interventions ballooned from Php 2,000-Php 3,000 a month, to Php 26,000-Php 56,000 monthly. That’s over a thousand percent increase in sales.

Mr. Declito can attest that through DTI’s programs and projects, their business has improved well specially in packaging and labelling, and have reached a wider range of customers through online selling. They have also tapped online platforms such as Shopee and Lazada to distribute their products.

Just like any other business, Mids Foods Pasalubong went through adversities in the process. The Typhoon Ursula, a relatively strong and deadly tropical cyclone which traversed through the Philippines in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic have both contributed to the downturn in their operations. Fortunately, DTI’s Livelihood Seeding Program-Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay (LSP-NSB) Program helped them get back on their feet, through the provision of livelihood kits and skills training.

Mr. Ernan Declito is a reflection of a resilient and passionate Pinoy Entrepreneur, and the continuing success of Mids Foods Pasalubong serves as a motivation for DTI MIMAROPA to continue its vision towards MSME development. END


PH, Russia discuss possibility of manufacturing COVID-19 vaccine in the country – DTI

MAKATI CITY—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez discussed with Russian Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Igor Khovaev the possibility of manufacturing and distributing Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines during the Ambassador’s farewell courtesy call on 6 October 2020. The plan is part of a bilateral discussion between Russia and the Philippines, which includes joint clinical trials and the immediate provision of vaccine supply after the third phase and regulatory approval. The need to strengthen the ongoing Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC) was also agreed on, which covers the areas of trade, investment, and other economic cooperation projects between the two nations. END