The Philippines is mulling a program that will make some One-Town One-Product [OTOP] products with competitive advantages franchisable. “We are working with the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) to see which of the OTOP products are franchisable. We hope that investors will come in for new ventures,” said Samie Lim, Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) chairman emeritus. Lim said they hope to cluster certain products together and tap an expert to create a franchise program for these goods. The franchising guru identified some of the OTOP products with promising potential, including fruits and delicacies from Bicol region and many variations of lechon. “It is not easy to franchise but we hope to display the best of OTOP successes,” Lim noted. The OTOP is a priority program of government to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs. Local officials take the lead in identifying, developing and promoting a specific product or service, which has a competitive advantage. He said the government now sells these products in the OTOP “Tindahang Pinoy” tores. These stores are located in Cebu, Davao City and Clark, Pampanga. Lim also expressed optimism about the continuing growth prospects of the Philippine franchising sector. “We will be very happy if we maintain a 30-percent growth. We are about 35 percent of the total retail business,” he noted. Lim said franchisors operating internationally see the country’s huge potential in franchising, describing it as “the market that have to be introduced to Asia”. “There is already a ready market not only for food but for the retail stores and even the services where they can be very successful…We are English speaking. And they find millions of people here,” he said.
— Danielle Venz, PHILEXPORT News and Features