3 senators, defense secretary join Negros Trade Fair opening

Beth Mondejar, MaryAnn Colmenares, Michael Claparols, Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz, Arlene Infante and Bing Gonzaga (l-r) at the opening of the 37th Negros Trade Fair.*All photos by Ronnie Baldonado

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said he hopes the 37th Negros Trade Fair (NTF) will motivate Filipinos to redirect their purchasing habits toward the consumption of locally manufactured goods.

“It will invigorate domestic travel, fostering support for Filipino-owned and operated businesses and services,” Lacson said in his speech at the program to kick off the NTF at the Glorietta 2 Ayala Center in Makati City Tuesday evening, September 26.

The event that drew a huge crowd was attended by senators Cynthia Villar, Imee Marcos and Grace Poe, and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.

Lacson, in his speech, invited those present to explore the creations and innovative products from the Association of Negros Producers’ six product sectors – fashion, furniture, gifts and housewares, food, organic and natural products, and tourism.

“The products we are showcasing this week comprise not just goods from Negros Occidental. Within these products lies our distinct Negrense character- charity, hospitality, and above all, our resilience,” he said.

He said this year’s NTF theme, “Amuma” aims to capture and highlight the welcoming spirit, warmth, and open-heartedness of Negrenses.

“With our primary objective to provide a platform for our micro, small, and medium-sized entrepreneurs to expand their markets, seize export opportunities, and engage in trade, we aspire for this year’s 37th Trade Fair to replicate or even surpass the successful comeback we had last year,” he said.

Given that the micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise sector make up the majority of business establishments and the country’s workforce, it’s evident that they play a pivotal role in economic recovery, he said.

The NTF serves as a platform to promote and showcase the products of MSMEs assisted by the provincial government through the Technology and Livelihood Development Center, Lacson said.

The Negros Occidental provincial government is currently assisting 204 micro-enterprises from its 31 component cities and municipalities, he said.

“We have supported them in processing their produce through our Shared Service Facility, which includes equipment for canning, juice and meat processing, and vegetable drying,” he said, pointing out that their products are on display at the NTF.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer and the Negros Occidental officials.

Also on sale at the NTF are products from Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged (GIDA) barangays, he said.

Lacson thanked the Association of Negros Producers for spearheading the NTF, which has now earned the distinction of being the longest-running provincial trade fair held annually in Manila.

“Your innovative efforts have created avenues for our local small and medium enterprises to thrive on both domestic and international fronts,” he said.

“To our local producers, please persist in your innovation, creativity, and quest for excellence. Your provincial government is committed to supporting you throughout your journey,” he said.

The governor also acknowledged Negrense chefs Gaita Forres, Manny Torrejon, and Patrick Go, for preparing Tuesday night’s showcase of Negrense Cuisine.

Also at the NTF were Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and congressmen, board members and mayors of Negros Occidental.

The NTF will run until Sunday, October 1.*

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