Thursday, October 18, 2018

DTI Strengthens Philippine Halal Export

The Philippine Trade Training Center moderated the seminar on Strengthening the Philippine Halal Export system held on October 08-11, 2018 through the Philippine Congress Legislative Agenda at the House of Representatives in Quezon City.

The seminar, a joint endeavor of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the House of Representatives, is in answer to the call of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to step up efforts to promote the Philippine Halal Industry with its huge trade and investment stake in the $3.2 Trillion global halal market.  

DTI Executives led by Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman, legislators from Muslim dominated areas of Mindanao and agencies represented in the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board participated in the seminar highlighting the need for more venues to provide for opportunities to exchange information among various stakeholders. 

DTI set to Participate at China’s Largest Expo

As  the Philippines’ main export and investment promotion agency, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has organized the country’s participation in the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) on November 5 to 10, 2018 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China.

This is in line with the DTI’s aim to further penetrate the huge Chinese market through country participation in trade expositions and facilitation of its business-to-business linkages.

Dubbed as China’s largest expo, more than 100 countries are anticipated to join the CIIE, while over 100,000 professional Chinese buyers have registered to attend the event.  The week-long expo will also include side activities such as business matching meetings as well as trade and investment forums.

Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez will lead the country’s CIIE participation this year, along with DTI Trade and Investments Promotions Group (TIPG) Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

“China is a priority market for the Philippines and we want to push for exports of our products and services. We are also keen on attracting Chinese investments,” said Lopez.

Under the theme: “Partner Philippines: Building Value Together,” the Philippine National Pavilion will showcase at CIIE the country’s initiatives in the areas of trade, investment, and tourism.

The highlights of the major pavilion also include traditional Filipino performances and a video installation depicting the milestones of Philippine-China relations, which dates back to the 16th century.

Meanwhile, Sec. Lopez and Usec. Terrado will represent the country at the Hongqiao International Forum and at the official opening ceremony of CIIE, which will be presided by Chinese President Xi Jin Ping on November 5, 2018.

“Our Philippine Trade and Investment Centers in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai will be arranging business meetings for our major Chinese buyers and our Filipino exhibitors during the CIIE,” said Terrado.

“We will gauge our success by the number of new business connections that we will be able to establish during this CIIE participation,” she added.

As part of the country’s goal to cater to the diverse Chinese consumer market, a total of 36 Filipino exhibitors are set to feature top-notch products and services from the Philippines.

Out of the 36 exhibitors, 28 will promote food products including snacks, alcoholic beverages, coconut, mango, nuts, chocolates, and coffee at the Food and Agricultural Products Halls 7.2 and 8.2.

China currently serves as a top export market destination for the Philippines, with $940 million or 15.3 percent of the latter’s total exports in August, according to the latest trade data by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

This recorded a 34.4-percent increase from the export value of $699.5 million in the same month last year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Local Mental Health Non-Profit Strongly Recommends Opening the Conversation on Mental Health in the Workplace to Achieve Better Productivity

World Mental Health Day is recognized across many countries, including the Philippines, on an annual basis to raise awareness of the growing concern over Mental Health issues that continue to rise amidst changing times. In the Philippines, the entire Mental Health Workforce is only composed of 2 people per 100,000 people in the Philippines. The latest report from Department of Health stated that 1 in 5 Filipinos suffer from a form of mental illness.  More than 300 million employees according to the study by World Health Organization (WHO) suffer from it.

According to WHO, the workplace is one of the key environments that affect our well-being and health.  Globally, only 9% of mental health promotion and prevention programs are focused in the Workplace.

“We spend at least 9 hours a day at our workplaces. If it’s not a healthy environment for your mind, body, and soul, your output and morale will definitely suffer,” states Philippa Keys, ex-officio of InTouch Philippines. This non-stock, non-profit organization has been providing Mental Health Services in the Philippines since the 80’s.

“A recent study conducted by the World Health Organization revealed that the global economy loses up to 1 trillion US dollars annually due to lost productivity caused by Mental Health Issues such as depression and anxiety,” Keys shares. “There’s still a stigma that prevents people from talking about their Mental Health issues. The ever-increasing demand to deliver more in the workplace in shorter timeframes is still prevalent across different industries. And it’s time for companies to play their part by providing an environment that opens the conversation on Mental Health.”

In Touch Philippines has extended help to hundreds of struggling employees along the way through its Employee Well-being Program or EWP.

Among those who have availed of EWP from In Touch Philippines is Havas Ortega. As an organization that belongs to the highly competitive and evolving marketing and communications industry, achieving work-life balance is a difficult task to contend with. Havas Ortega partnered with In Touch Philippines to help its employee address the day-to-day challenges that affect employees’ Mental Health as they do agency work. Through its partnership with In Touch, the organization was able to create its TALK program which provides every employee a dedicated 24/7 Employee Hotline as well as subsidized private counseling sessions. Adding to these benefits, resource speakers from In Touch Philippine’s pool of professional experts has enabled Havas Ortega to conduct monthly In-house Skill Builder Sessions to educate and empower the workforce on a range of topics such as “Mental Health Awareness and First Aid”, “Stress Management” and “Finding Grit”.

Jos Ortega, CEO of Havas Ortega enthusiastically shares why upper management has given its full support behind this initiative, “Employees are the most important asset in the company. Here at Havas Ortega, we want to make sure that we look after their health with a holistic approach - and that includes putting a premium on mental well-being. At the end of the day, we want to keep them inspired and motivated. We want to ensure them that there is a solid support system to help them keep going.” The first of its kind in the local advertising industry, Havas Ortega’s internal mental health program became possible based on its cohesive partnership with In Touch Philippines.

For more information on In Touch Philippines’ Employee Well-being program, you can call  893 1893 or email  In Touch Philippines also hosts a 24/7 crisis line, offers face to face counselling, and leads training sessions to build skills for healthier mental and emotional well-being for individuals and their loved ones.