THE Fabrication Laboratory to be put up at the University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep), Davao City for the prototyping needs of specific micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is already on the finalization of equipment procurement stages.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao assistant regional director engineer Edwin O. Banquerigo said an P11-million budget was already allocated for the fabrication laboratory which is one of the shared service facility (SSF) projects of the DTI with a total budget of P34 million for 2018.

"We already have the funds, we are only finalizing on what equipment [to put up] and the procurement," he said, adding they target to open it by the 3rd quarter of 2018.

SSF projects are established with the purpose of giving MSMEs access to better technology and more sophisticated equipment to become more competitive in their field.

Specifically in this fabrication lab, the focus will be on prototyping as they would have devices such as 3D printers, for example.

Banquerigo said the industries that the lab will be able to support are more on the non-food sectors including the furniture, wood industry, and the metal industry. For the food sector, the assistance will be more on the packaging.

Last year, Senate Committee Chair on Finance Senator Loren Legarda who is the principal sponsor and author of Republic Act No. 9501 also known as the Magna Carta for MSMEs increased funding support for the SSF program to P1 billion nationwide. This amount, she said, would enhance the productivity and competitiveness of MSMEs in the country.

From this amount P200 million will be allotted for the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) that implement livelihood initiatives. P100 million for Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs), and P50 million for the MSMEs affected by the Marawi Siege.

In a separate interview with Davao Region Chief Trade and Industry Development Specialist Rachel Remitio, she said other SSF projects in the pipeline for Davao Region include shoe making facilities and food processing facilities.