THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) held recently the third edition of the Touchpoint business conference.

Themed “Supporting Logistics Innovation to Accelerate MSME Recovery in the New Normal,” the activity was held via Zoom online platform and live streamed through the official Facebook page DTI Region 3 – Central Luzon.

On its third run, Touchpoint aims to recognize the part of logistics innovation in helping MSMEs tide the pandemic and move them towards recovery.

More than 500 participants, including local government officials, officers of national agencies, students and members of the academe, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), business chambers, and members of consumer organizations participated in the online conference via Zoom platform.

The Facebook livestream also drew 600 participants as expert resource speakers presented topics on logistics innovations and their role in uplifting our MSMEs.

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez in his keynote message, recognized the importance of logistics in the country’s economy.

“We recognize the importance of logistics on our economy, this is why we at DTI aim to create a globally-competitive logistics sector and reduce logistics cost,” he said.

He also stressed that DTI supports digitalization efforts in the logistics industry and promote innovations that increase the efficiency of the supply chain.

Meanwhile, DTI Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila A. Lantayona commended the DTI Central Luzon and the provincial offices for staging the conference.

“I congratulate the team for regularly organizing fora for innovation and technology for the stakeholders from the government and private sector, and for bringing in subject matter experts to speak during Touchpoint sessions,” she said.

Pierre Carlo Curay, President of Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines presented the current trends, status, and prospects of the Philippines logistics industry.

He stressed that there is a need to lower down the cost of logistics of our industries to be competitive with our neighboring countries.

Anti-Red Tape Authority Planning and Development Officer Ezekiel Mauhay also of the delivered his presentation on Unified Logistics Pass (ULP).

He mentioned that the ARTA is working on the implementation of the ULP, which would help trucking companies in streamlining their application for accreditation with port authorities, and economic zones, among others through a business one-stop shop.

On government support to logistics, Ms. Berlin Mabuna of DTI Supply Management and Logistics Division shared an audio-visual presentation highlighting updates on logistics sector shared priorities and the commitments of the Philippines Logistics Services Sector. Virvik Erese, OIC of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), pressed on the roles and plans to enhance domestic shipping in the transportation of goods.

Meanwhile, Ports Operations Chief, Karlo Madrilejo of the Philippine Ports Authority, presented their agency’s plans, policies, and regulations to support the logistics sector.

For her part, DTI-3 Regional Director Leonila T. Baluyut noted the importance of innovations in logistics in the region.

“We have a good strategic location and accessibility in helping other industries. Central Luzon has two international airports, the one in Subic and Clark, and another is coming in Bulacan. We also have seaports in Zambales and Aurora,” she mentioned.

“We also have freeports in Bataan, Subic, and Clark, and several industrial parks. Also NLEX, SCTEX, TPLEX, CLEX, aside from the storage facilities we have in our freeport zones,” she continued. She pressed on the need for an efficient supply chain for the region’s entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and exporters.