Updated: That weird DTI Bukidnon rule

BUKIDNON | BUKIDNON BUSINESSES | COMMENTARY – Sorry to all of our friends over at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bukidnon but really, we got terribly disappointed and honestly, a little bit irked, over one of your rules. But before we delve into this, please permit us to share a little background.

Although we have always emphasized that BukidnonOnline.com is a privately owned blog and is in no way an official government site, we have continuously received inquiries, requests and announcements from would-be/budding, newbie and existing entrepreneurs not only from within the Province of Bukidnon but from all over the world. These requests are varied — one asked us if we can direct her to a supplier of pili nuts, one asked us if we can recommend a reliable supplier of flowers and orchids, one emailed us to ask if we can link him up to a group of Bukidnon farmers who might need additional funding while one asked us about the various pasalubong items in Bukidnon and that should we know of companies or individuals who may be interested to supply them in bulk, could we let them know, he said. These inquiries and requests arrive at our inbox EVERY SINGLE DAY. For the past three years since the inception of BukidnonOnline.com, we simply cannot remember a day when there was no email or inquiry sent through our contact form about the possibility of them being matched to a potential supplier or buyer in Bukidnon.

Now as you may see, we were faced with a few dilemmas — first of all, when Bukidnon Online started, the official website of Bukidnon was offline (i.e. unavailable) and that lasted for about a year and a half. Unfortunately, even if the Bukidnon website did get set up later on, it still did not have a page where proper business matching between interested suppliers or buyers can be made. Secondly, while it’s true that people can just call or visit DTI Bukidnon, most, if not all, of the inquiries that were sent to us were made by people who were either outside of Malaybalay City (where the DTI Bukidnon provincial office is located) or were outside of Bukidnon. There were even a lot of inquiries made by people from outside of the Philippines! So even if we send them the direct telephone number of DTI Bukidnon, they still ask for assistance. Do we say no to these people who are interested to do business with people in Bukidnon?

So finally, when we again remembered Bukidnon Online’s role in triggering change, social responsibility and volunteerism, we finally sent our ever trusty Girl Friday to DTI Bukidnon yesterday to ask if we can get a copy of the Bukidnon business establishments that are duly registered with them. We initially planned to print the entire list in a special page here in our Bukidnon blog. We also wanted to place a special section where interested parties can leave messages (e.g. if you’re a buyer based outside of Bukidnon and you want to announce that you need a steady supply of bags made out of native products or raw materials like kamuyot, you can just leave a message along with your name and contact details on that section) or suppliers can leave pictures of their products etc.

Yes, it was a big project especially for a small blog like Bukidnon Online but it was one that we were willing to do (even if, truth be told, there was no need for us to do so!)

So off to DTI Bukidnon our Girl Friday went.

Our Girl Friday arrived at DTI Bukidnon, asked and gave us updates. She told us that a formal letter was needed. Fine. We can write that.

Next, she was asked if we needed the trade names of all business establishments in the province. Ideally, that was what we wanted but apparently, the DTI Bukidnon personnel mentioned that if that was the case, it would take them “time” to comply with our request. We found that rather odd (so did that mean that they did not have a ready CD or soft copy of the business establishments duly registered with them?) but completely expected. Government offices always use “time” as an excuse. As if it’s too much of a pain to extend PUBLIC SERVICE.

Still, we asked our Girl Friday to just ask for the trade names of establishments found in Malaybalay, Valencia and Manolo Fortich. At least for a start.

Then came the clincher.

After about two hours, our Girl Friday gave us this update: we needed to pay not only for the CD but also P5.00 PER TRADE NAME. Meaning we had to pay 5 pesos for every trade name (a corresponding address would also be found, our Girl Friday was told)!

So say if there were what…300 trade names registered in Malaybalay alone, we needed to pay P1,500 for that list?!?!

PLEASE, DTI BUKIDNON, PLEASE TELL US THIS ISN’T SO!

Remember — we still have all the text messages sent by your personnel.

And if it’s true that your employee said that we needed to pay 5 pesos per trade name, please, we pray, please explain and let us know the legal basis. We would be more than glad to praise you (like we always have) and continue to post your press releases here if we get a good answer.

Geezas, what we wanted to do was HELP people (which, ironically, should be DTI Bukidnon’s role in the first place!) We wanted to spearhead — no, make that VOLUNTARILY spearhead a business matching effort of sorts for people who want to do business with Bukidnon-based entrepreneurs or companies — but what do we get? A menu, complete with price tags, that’s what.

But ah…our Girl Friday might be wrong, yes? Then we await for that explanation.

In the meantime, we, of course, just told our Girl Friday to ditch the plan.

We did not want to go through so much hassle for something that we need not do in the first place.

SAYANG LANG.

So to all of you who have constantly sent in your inquiries, emails etc — we’re sorry but we can only do so much. We guess now’s the best time for you to contact DTI Bukidnon yourselves and ask for their assistance. It is, after all, their duty and responsibility to extend PUBLIC SERVICE. Feel free to contact DTI Bukidnon for any and all of your concerns.

And to DTI Bukidnon — please, if we TOTALLY MISUNDERSTOOD the so-called rule, then let us know. If the 5 pesos PER TRADE NAME thing is totally false, then let us know. If, after everything, your office has a COMPREHENSIVE, easy to understand and easy to navigate business matching website for people who want to do business with Bukidnon-based proprietors, entrepreneurs, companies etc after all, then please let us and the public know.

Because at the end of the day, that’s the point of all these.

There’s a need for a business matching website/facility/service that people can easily use and (yes, correct us if we’re wrong) but YOU DO NOT HAVE ONE.

That’s the point.

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