Derailed MSMEs benefit from Dinagyang Biz Expo

ILOILO EXPO. The Iloilo Business Expo opens at the Festive Walk Mall on January 17 and will run until Jan. 23, 2022. The week-long fair aims to help micro, small and medium enterprises badly hit by the health pandemic. (Photo courtesy of PCCI Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY – The week-long Iloilo Business Expo (ILOBEX) organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Iloilo will help participating micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which are the most affected sector by the pandemic.

PCCI-Iloilo Board directors Jordan Toledo said they hope to generate half a million pesos out of the income-generating project that will run until Jan. 23, 2022 inside two of the malls here.

“Our primary aim is to help MSMEs and women entrepreneurs in Iloilo who are among the most adversely affected is the business sector,” Toledo said, adding that through the expo, PCCI, which serves as the voice of the business industry, the MSMEs’ products will be brought closer to the market.

The expo involves some 20 exhibitors at the Festive Walk Mall and more or less 50 at the SM City selling handicrafts, food, health and wellness, and other products and services.

Due to movement restrictions, Toledo said some of their participants from Bacolod and Capiz were unable to join the event which involves face-to-face transactions but observes health protocols imposed by the management of the malls.

“We plan to do live selling to show to those who could not come to the mall the products that are available,” Toledo added. Before the start of the event, PCCI made use of the social media platforms to promote expo projects.

“Hopefully Ilonggos can visit our venues and do their share to help our MSMEs recover. A lot of businesses closed during the pandemic, especially the small ones,” he said, adding that buying their products will not only support the MSMEs but also their culture since the goods are produced by Ilonggos.

The PCCI holds an annual trade fair but this is the first time the event carries a brand name, ILOBEX.

Gabriel Umadhay of the Iloilo City Covid team, in an earlier interview said the city government has allowed the conduct of the exhibit since it has been considered as normal economic activity of their annual Dinagyang Festival, and City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas does not want to deprive Ilonggos of their usual economic activities.

Aside from the ILOBEX, the other allowed Dinagyang events include the novenas, masses, Dinagyang warrior costume exhibit, voucher sale, car and motor display, and the Sto. Niño motorcade in various venues.

The festival also includes virtual events including the Miss Iloilo 2022, Dinagyang TikTok, tribal competition shows,  religious sadsad (merrymaking), drumbeats competition and the final awards rites.