The Department of Science and Technology here as of the first semester of the year has approved 47 proposals for equipment upgrading by small and medium enterprises in Western Visayas.
DOST regional director Rowen Gelonga said that they are now in the process of releasing the assistance amounting to around P38 million under the Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program.
The region, he said, has the most number of approved proposals and the highest amount up for release among DOST regional offices.
“This is not a subsidy or grant but a support that they will give back to the government. We are happy that we have more SMEs applying for support under this program,” he said.
Most of the requests are technology for processing and packaging while there are companies that proposed for improvement of their laboratories.
Gelonga said this means that there are companies that have leveled up their operation and they are already in control of the quality of their products. The result would be products that are competitive in the market.
“It is critical to the looming ASEAN economic integration in 2015. When the time comes competition will now be equal between local and ASEAN countries. Our market shelves will now be open to products from nine ASEAN countries,” he explained.
The integration, according to Gelonga, could be a threat if the quality of local products is not competitive because they may lose their market. However, it means also potentials for export should the products are of upgraded quality.
He disclosed that currently, the awareness of the need to upgrade technology and equipment among SMEs is high and major sectors among the thousands of registered enterprises in the region are already aware of the various support assistance the government is making available to them.
“We are happy that they have identified DOST as one agency that could help them boost their productivity,” he cited.*PNA