/ 22 February 2022

REPRESENTATIVE Loren Legarda on Monday cited the partnership between the Department of Science and Technology and the University of Antique as one of the innovation and vital strategies towards pursuing sustainable economic growth.

Legarda said that the DOST’s Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST), which she funded under the 2019 national budget, established livelihood support hubs in UA campuses and technology-based barangay economic enterprises or TechnoBEEs in selected municipalities.

These granted assistance and support to MSMEs and provided Antiqueños the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and expertise.

“More importantly, it also generated employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, increased the productivity level of the municipalities, and even curbed the problem of malnutrition through the production of DOST-FNRI complementary food,” Legarda said.

She recalled the Shared Service Facilities program between the Department of Trade and Industry and the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University or DMMMSU in Bacnotan, La Union which she funded under the 2018 national budget.

The project, which involved silk processing and weaving, introduced sericulture to the residents and gave them employment while also promoting the silk industry in the province.

The other SSF projects which Legarda supported in recent years included fish processing which provides additional income for coastal communities, fisherfolk and their families; homemade ice cream production, which utilizes the community’s dairy produce; and the craft of weaving, which supports traditional weavers and boosts the income of farmers who plant the pineapple, abaca and banana from which the fibers used in weaving are derived.

“MSMEs constitute 99.5% of our local economy. Training, research and development efforts are needed for the MSMEs to come up with innovative and useful products that can be sold in the market and benefit the consumers,” she added.

“We have to ensure the effective implementation of and adequate funding for the enabling programs under the Philippine Innovation Act to help MSMEs sustain and promote their businesses, not just in the domestic market, but also in the global arena,” Legarda said.