THE worldwide pandemic has threatened various industries in the world. Big businesses have been filing for bankruptcy, while small businesses here and there are disappearing without a trace.
But in Angeles City, Pampanga, small businesses are not giving up without a fight.
In order to make Angeles City-based micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover and stay afloat, the City Government, led by Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr., has been promoting their products through the city's "One Town, One Product (Otop)" store.
Proudly called "Gawang Angeleño," the Otop store features products from Tamayuq by Annette Mendoza, Cutud Weavers, BG Metalworks, Woodconcept by Madison Woodcraft, Belbel Muyano Woodcraft, JJMBS Blooming Greens, Tabak's Hand-painted Handicrafts, Chilona Fabrica, Flores Handicrafts, K's Creation Fashion Accessories, Stitched by Raj, Ellen Turla, Coin Purse and Bags by Ferlissa Senobio, Lucio Sison, and CACA Artworks.
"The Otop store serves as an avenue for our local MSMEs to display their products for free," Angeles City Economic Development and Investments Promotion Officer (Acedipo) Irish Bonus-Llego shared.
Annette Mendoza, owner of Tamayuq, creates handwoven bags.
"It started out as a hobby. Being a single mom, I looked for other sources of income that I can do during my spare time," Mendoza shared.
That hobby of her -- designing and weaving bayong bags -- grew, which later allowed her to provide livelihood to several single mothers like her by weaving bags.
Now, Mendoza offers not only handwoven bayong bags, but also hand-painted bags and buntal molded resin bags which she sells online.
But when Covid-19 came, orders of her bayong bags drastically decreased.
"I can't even afford to pay my weavers," Mendoza lamented.
Victor Dimacali, basket maker from Cutud Weavers, shared the same situation.
Although their export-quality baskets are continuously sold abroad despite the pandemic, Dimacali and his fellow basket makers had difficulty with the local market.
"Local sales of our baskets went down when the pandemic started," Dimacali said.
Dimacali makes baskets from locally sourced rattan and abaca materials.
Products from both Tamayuq by Annette Mendoza and Cutud Weavers are on display at the Angeles City OTOP store.
Both Mendoza and Dimacali said the OTOP store has been helping their businesses tide over the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel and Angeles City Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting, along with other city officials, have been actively promoting products at the Otop store by personally purchasing and using products sold there.
Mayor Lazatin has earlier waived the P500 administrative fee for MSMEs at the Otop store, allowing them to display their products for free. The mayor is also actively pushing for the "Pasalone: Angeleño Pa" or the "Gawang Angeleño" campaign, and making the OTOP products available on Shopee.
Want to see the product selection at the Angeles City Otop store? Check out https://www.facebook.com/AngelesCityOTOP, or visit the Otop store at the Nepomuceno Street, Heritage District in Barangay Sto. Rosario. Otop store products are also available on Shopee under the username "otopangeles."
Ordered products can be picked-up from the store or on the curbside; shipped via courier; or cash on delivery (COD) in Angeles City, City of San Fernando, Mabalacat City and Porac town via local delivery service with minimum delivery fee.