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“Salamat sa DOST” {Thanks to DOST}, Ms. Mary Grace Clar, owner of R&G Food Products repeatedly said during the recently concluded DOST XII Stakeholders Forum for the 2nd District of Cotabato Province.

 

“Ang DOST po ang nagsilbing silver lining” {DOST served as silver lining}, she added upon sharing times when she got plans to expand the business but struck with technology and financial constraints. She likened the situation to when a dark cloud blotted out the sun.

 

Ms. Clar was invited at the said forum held on 21 April 2021 at the JC Complex, Kidapawan City to share how DOST XII has helped her enterprise improve processes and enhance the quality of products as one of the beneficiaries of the DOST-Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

 

Almost 70 participants were gathered at the forum comprising MSMEs and LGU representatives/ Local Investment-Economic and Promotions Officers (LIEPO) from six (6) municipalities of District 2- Antipas, Arakan, Kidapawan, Magpet, Makilala, and President Roxas.

 

Ms. Clar explained that their business was so small before they had DOST XII interventions. “Ang among negosyo [produkto] isa lang jud [ka klase]” {We only had one [kind of product]” and she meant Coco Vinegar.

 

She continued, “Unya ang among suka ginahimo ra sa likod balay, isa lang jud kabook blender, second-hand blender”. {Then we get to process our vinegar at the backyard only, with just one blender, a second-hand blender}.

 

According to Ms. Clar, DOST XII’s approval of the Innovation System Support Fund (ISSF) in 2016 for R&G Food Products paved way for them to acquire facilities and equipment needed not only to enhance the quality of their Vinegar product but also for value addition. DOST XII provided them as well techno-trainings and consultancy services for process improvement.

 

With DOST’s package of assistance thru SETUP, product lines of R&G Food Products as to date include buko meat, spice coco vinegar, buko juice, and buko pie.

 

Ms. Clar confirmed that their local market expanded from within Kidapawan only to different municipalities of North Cotabato and parts of the Davao Region.

 

She stressed out that DOST can truly be a silver lining among MSMEs especially this time of pandemic where scarcity of resources, restrictions, and discouragement are inevitable.

 

“Maswerte tayo ngayon kasi meron tayong gobyerno na mapagkalinga at merong DOST na nangangalaga” {We are fortunate that we currently have a kind government and a caring DOST}, Ms. Clar concluded.

 

According to Provincial Director Michael Mayo, Ms. Clar has indeed inspired MSME participants as per the Customer Satisfaction Feedback forms gathered after the activity.

“The same goes to DOST XII personnel and staff, we are moved by her words and all the more motivated to pour in more efforts in carrying out DOST programs, projects, and activities for countryside development”, PD Mayo said.

 

DOST XII Regional Director Engr. Sammy Malawan congratulated PD Mayo and DOST XII North Cotabato team for successfully holding the Stakeholders Forum by District- last February 26 for District 1 in Midsayap and last April 20 for District 3 in Kabacan.

 

RD Malawan emphasized that the activity is part of DOST XII’s response to the call of DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña to support the government’s “REBUILD PH: Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihood, and Domestic Demand”.

 

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