In an online “Mugstoria” discussion with Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard “Jonji” Y. Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) on Tuesday, July 21, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 7 Assistant Regional Director Maria Elena Arbon said e-commerce had increased in Central Visayas during the pandemic.
“Even before COVID, we [DTI] were already doing start-ups and e-commerce. It has just accelerated now, so we’re really happy with the acceleration of e-commerce,” she said.
Arbon noted small businesses have begun their virtual transition from the brick-and-mortar business model. Most of these small businesses are now using social media platforms to enhance their transactions.
Mr. Steve Yu, President of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), was also present during this discussion and agreed that there is a strong acceleration towards e-commerce use.
“We’re looking at a 77% to a 100% growth in online businesses on average.” Yu said.
He said industrial businesses in Mandaue City have already begun shifting to a virtual space using online transactions.
“We in MCCI create forums, create the platform to help them. We do webinars, we do sessions with them to guide their creativity… We’ve also given them the groundworks” for it, said Yu.
Yu also stressed that Mandaue City is “blessed” with a strong industrial base that coincidentally is in the manufacturing of essential goods and services..
According to Yu, “Mandaue City is doing about 70% of its production capacity (Pre-COVID level).”
“There are job losses. Retrenchment is something we cannot avoid. However, the industrial base of Mandaue City has helped lessen it,” he added.
DTI is currently planning to experiment with brick-and-mortar businesses by holding a “Virtual Trade Fair” across July 20 to 24 – these dates coincide with SME week.
DTI also planned to launch a ‘digital channel’ where all of their training modules and advocacies will be put up online for the public’s convenience. Starting August, 48 sessions are set to be done.
Arbon said that the locales should have internet hotspots, and DTI’s Negosyo Centers would make good internet hubs for the local entrepreneurs who wish to access said resources.
As of July 21, DOH-7 has recorded 11,653 confirmed COVID cases, 3,190 recoveries, and 536 deaths in Central Visayas. – Rappler.com