OTOP kicks off 50th Araw ng Lanao del Norte fete
by Lorry V. Gabule
Lanao Del Norte (30 June) -- As an opening salvo on Lanao del Norte's golden celebration, the 'Padian' was formally opened on 24th June, which showcases the products under the 'One Town-One Product' program.
'Padian', a Maranao word for Taboan (in vernacular), is displaying of goods where all products of Lanao del Norte can be bought.
It used to be called a Trade Fair then under the administration of Governor Abdullah D. Dimaporo, now Congressman of 2nd District-Lanao del Norte.
Ruel Paclipan, Provincial Director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI--Iligan City / Lanao del Norte Provincial Office, said that the One Town-One Product (OTOP) program is a priority program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs, which geared toward Micro-Small and Medium Enterprise development system.
In his message during the opening program, the provincial director said that through OTOP, local chief executives of each city or municipality take the lead in identifying, developing and promoting a specific product or service which has a competitive advantage.
"While statistics showed that 99 percent of our registered businesses all over the country are on Micro Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs), we can just imagine the extent of contribution SMEs have done in terms of economic development, income, employment and developing original products, like what the OTOP has done in Lanao del Norte," expressed the provincial director.
Paclipan further said that the main objective of the government, along with the local government units (LGUs), is to improve the quality of life of the residents.
"If the small and medium enterprises sell their products, they might be able to expand their operations and by such they may be able to employ another set of workers," stressed Paclipan.
Paclipan cited that because of the global crisis, we are in a very unusual time and therefore, the government, the private sector, and our country must come up with an unusual response.
"It should not be business as usual, but rather business unusual," added Paclipan.
"By patronizing our own product is a concrete unusual response to our Trade Fair. Telling friends and relatives to come and buy our own product is making an unusual element. Likewise, Padian / Taboan is an unusual activity," emphasized Paclipan.
Lanao del Norte already has an OTOP map for its municipalities, each with its own export-potential economic activity as their contribution towards an economically viable province.
The abundance of agricultural raw materials enticed the enterprising spirit of the people of the province to convert the raw materials into processed food products such as cold-processed virgin coconut oil and the tasty "buko pie" in Linamon; various processed peanuts delicacies (sospero de mani, peanut butter, spicy peanuts, salted peanuts, sugar-coated peanuts, piniato and many others) in Kauswagan; the delicious jackfruit delicacies of Maigo; the nutritious processed banana products (banana chips and banana catsup) in Tubod; the refreshing calamansi juice (O'Lala and Honeymansi) in Lala; and the mouth-watering processed fish (Sultan Sardines and boneless "danggit") in the municipality of Sultan Naga Dimaporo.
The arts and crafts of the province are influenced by its geographic location, and interaction with neighboring towns. It has an array of articrafts made of brass, shells, bamboo, clay and the hand woven likos, balud and malong.
Lanao del Norte is famous for its highland mats made of pandan leaves from the municipality of Matungao; coco coir of Linamon; unique designs of ceramics from Baroy; and antueras (a piece of cloth decorated with colorful sequins depicting the much-adored sarimanok or the okir design) in Pantar.
On Maranao delicacies, the delectable "dodol" of Balo-i, made from selected highland glutinous rice mixed with the delicious "kakang-gata" from matured coconuts sweetened to taste and seasoned with tropical fruits such as durian or jackfruit nutritiously good for your selective taste buds.
Such Maranao delicacies include "tiyatheg", "browa", "browa", "amec", "mammon" and many others depicting the traditional culinary expertise of the Maranao tribe.
And there's the "palapa" either in raw or original recipe and "tiolo a niyog" which suit not only the taste of the Muslim community but also appeals to the discriminating taste of all other consumers. "Palapa" is made from local spices such as shallots, ginger, pepper and coconut milk expertly formulated by the Maranaos.
All OTOP products can be bought at the different booths installed and located at Agora, infront of the Mindanao Civic Center (MCC), Tubod, Lanao del Norte, until its culmination day on Araw ng Lanao del Norte, on July 4.
"DTI is on hand to support business by conducting trainings on pricing and costing, packaging and labelling, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development, and conducting business fora and market promotions," concluded Paclipan. (PIA) [top]