The journey to the Brilliant Juice’s success didn’t happen overnight. Mr. Rustico Melendez, OFW turned full-time entrepreneur and owner of Brilliant Juice Manufacturer, had to swim against the waves to get where he is today.
“Whatever comes in your way while growing the business, you need to maintain your mindset to focus on your vision. Never give up, continue striving until you reach your dream.”
This is Mr. Rustico Melendez’s aphorism in his journey towards making Brillo Juice, the flagship product of Brilliant Juice, the healthy drink of choice. Brilliant Juice manufactures natural drinks made with tea, tropical fruits such as oranges and mangoes infused with cucumber.
“Brillo” is the shortened term for Brilliant which Mr. Melendez got from the cruise ship, Brilliant of the Seas, where he worked as a wine steward for 25 years.
The beginning of Brillo is an arduous journey as Mr. Melendez faced criticism and rejection from store owners to display and sell his products because of lack of trust on its quality. Despite such, he fueled this energy to become a full-time entrepreneur and put his savings in investing equipment and machineries to make his manufacturing semi-automated.
Being enrolled in the One Town One Product (OTOP) Next Gen Program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was of great help to Mr. Melendez. He was able to acquire barcode, trademark, laboratory analysis, new packaging, compliant labels, among others. He was then able to comply with the requirements to secure a License To Operate (LTO) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), thus Brillo Juice was certified and the license was given.
Moreover, his learnings from attending various trainings helped him to effectively manage his business. He was able to widen his connections through regional trade fairs and gain friends who contributed to his business success. The success also translated in their sales, having a yearly significant increase in total gross sales.
Mr. Melendez is the epitome of perseverance as he poured his dedication and trust in making his business successful. “I am committed to the quality of my products and I always ask for the guidance of the Lord for its success,” he firmly believes. Now, the owner gives back by hiring 12 full-time employees from around his community, because he believes they too, deserve the opportunity to improve their lives.
From 8 hours of processing 350 bottles of Brillio, working time was reduced to 3 hours with DTI’s assistance for machinery upgrade. “Brillo Juice” became a hit not only to the taste buds of children, but to adults as well. Before, Brilliant Juice Manufacturer produces 1,500 bottles of Brillio Juice, but today, they distribute around an average of 6,000 bottles a month.
Notably, Brillio Juice was awarded the MIMAROPA Naturally Agri-Trade and Tourism Fair’s Most Innovative Product in 2014. Until today, Mr. Melendez continues to find ways to quench the thirst of the public for innovative ways in serving healthy juices.
Brilliant Juice’s products are currently distributed to direct consumers, schools, catering services, hotels and groceries within Marinduque and outside the province as well.
CREATE will boost National Employment Recovery Strategy; can create 2 million jobs
MANILA–The National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) Task Force chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and co-chaired by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which was signed last February 5 by several agencies, will be given a big boost by the recent bicameral approval of the game-changing Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said, “The landmark tax and incentives reform bill that we expect to be signed by the President is expected to bring in massive inflow of investments that will create more jobs, especially as we focus efforts in the National Employment Recovery during this period of the pandemic and beyond. The passing of CREATE will firm up the tax and incentive reforms that will make the investment climate significantly more attractive than the current tax and incentive regime.”
“The bill will certainly encourage more investments with the lowering of the corporate income taxes rate from 30% to 20% for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and 25% for large corporations. Modernizing the incentives system likewise makes the incentives such as Income Tax Holiday (ITH), Special Corporate Income Tax Rates (SCIT) or Enhanced deductions (ED), available to industries considered Strategic, Critical or export oriented,” he added.
The Trade Secretary further explained, “The length of incentives, such as 4-7 years of ITH plus 5 or 10 years of SCIT or ED, will depend on the nature of industry, export or domestic oriented, degree of technology and value adding, and geographical location, with additional years outside the Metro Manila and urban centers. There is also longer transition period for those currently granted incentives. Thus, incentives are now made more performance-based, focused and timebound.”
CREATE is a bill certified urgent by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte upon the recommendation of the economic team led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
The trade chief also thanked the legislators at the Senate and the House of Representatives (with Sen. Pia Cayetano and Cong. Joey Salceda, respectively, as Principal authors), for the hardwork of the committee members, in bringing the CREATE bill to fruition.
Sec. Lopez said: “The passing of CREATE will unleash the growth potential of investments by removing uncertainties during the period that the bill was under deliberation.”
“Based on our estimate and those from Cong. Joey Salceda, CREATE can bring in over Php 200 billion of new investments that can generate 1.4-2 million incremental jobs,” he added.
This will help achieve the task of the national employment recovery group. NERS brings together DTI as chair, DOLE and TESDA as co-chairs, with members including the Departments of Transportation (DOTr), Tourism (DOT), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Science and Technology (DOST), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and National Security Council (NSC), as well as the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS), Departments of Finance (DOF) and Budget and Management (DBM), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) as members of the Oversight Committee.
“NERS shall also consolidate all measures, programs, and institutions that influence the demand and supply of labor, as well as the functioning of labor markets,” the trade chief stated.
The NERS 2021-2023 is a medium-term plan anchored on the updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and ReCharge PH by expanding the Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan initiative and improving access and security of employment. The strategy also takes into consideration the changes in the labor market brought about by the pandemic and the fast adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution ( FIRe ) technologies.
The Trade Secretary further stressed the importance of continuing with our calibrated and safe reopening of the economy to allow the country to regain the growth momentum that it had before the pandemic.
The vaccine rollout is also another complementary program that will help further improve consumer and business confidence as immunity of the majority of the population are achieved.
Sec. Lopez said: “Vital wide-ranging and integrated policy measures are needed. These should focus on: stimulating the economy and jobs; supporting enterprises, employment and incomes; and protecting workers in the workplace, including occupational safety and health.”
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, on the other hand, said: “This JMC will fortify our collective undertaking as a Task Force working to develop a policy environment that encourages the generation of more employment opportunities, improves employability and productivity of workers, and supports existing and emerging businesses.”
CREATE will help boost investments in the Philippines, which would support the 2021 target of the Board of Investments (BOI) of Php1.25-trillion investment approvals. A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had also estimated that the Philippines bucked the trend in Southeast Asia, and had increased its foreign direct investments (FDIs) during the pandemic by 29% last year. END
DOH-DTI ADVISORY ON THE PRICE RANGE FOR COVID-19 RT-PCR TESTING
Press Release | 5 February 2021
Relative to arising issues that some laboratories are hesitant to lower their prices below the stated reference price, the DOH and the DTI clarify that private and public laboratories may charge patients for COVID-19 testing at a price lower than the reference price indicated in DOH Circular No. 2020-0391. Both agencies stress that this is allowed, provided that the quality of service is maintained.
The DOH and DTI assure that no sanctions will be imposed on those who wish to lower their prices. However, those who will overcharge above the maximum price cap of PhP 5,000.00 for private laboratories and PhP 3,800.00 for public laboratories will be penalized. Further, it must be noted that the amounts indicated as price caps are subject to periodic review and may change depending on prevalent economic factors.
The DOH and DTI recognize that Filipinos should be protected from undue financial risks when availing of the RT-PCR testing, which is an essential service in this time of public health emergency. Hence, we will continue to monitor, evaluate, and enforce these prices to ensure that COVID-19 testing remains affordable and of quality.