Press Release
March 11, 2010


In keeping with his advocacy to help small and medium enterprises throughout the country, Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Senator Mar Roxas will feature in his new television infomercial the story of the once struggling bottled sardines industry of Dipolog City that has now successfully invaded the international market.

Roxas was instrumental in the development of the sardines processing industry in Mindanao during his stint as secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry. He launched various programs that provided technical and financial assistance and encouraged small and medium enterprises to take investment risks.

He also relentlessly supported the bottled sardines industry in Dipolog City, and even supported the establishment of the In-Glass Sardines of Dipolog Association. Dipolog is known internationally for its bottled sardines and other products.

Roxas reiterated an Aquino-Roxas administration would extend full government assistance to small players in the fishing industry, especially in Mindanao.

The new Roxas infomercial would feature the success stories of small fishing companies engaged in the bottled sardines industry that have penetrated the lucrative world market with their quality products.

The infomercial mirrors the experience of Tito Mike's Food Co. Inc. in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte, which is now a leading processed sardines exporter in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Tito Mike's, owned by Mike Cases--a former overseas Filipino worker--received support from the DTI's SULONG program for SMEs under Roxas' term as DTI Secretary. Tito Mike's was recognized as Outstanding SME in 2003 and now supplies bottled sardines and other fish products to the US and Canada, and locally through Pan de Manila.

Roxas said small fishers and fish processors could replicate Tito Mike's business success with government support, such as improved financing access, infrastructure, supply chain and marketing linkages. He said these would not only help small players survive the challenges of a slow local and global economy but also further maximize their potential in the local and international market.

He stressed, though, that this could only be possible under an honest and clean government, which he and his running mate, Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Noynoy Aquino, would deliver once they win the May elections.

Dipolog City, tagged as the country's capital of bottled sardines, is home to the more than 20 manufactures that supply more than 90% of the national market. The industry comprises mostly home-based and small-scale processors capable of producing an average volume of 60,000 boxes at 24 bottles per box annually.

The bottled sardines industry can generate at least P49 million in foreign sales and P6 million in domestic sales.

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