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Early this year, the Palawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Pal CCI) launched the first phase of its PROPEL (Promoting Regional Opportunities for Enterprise and Livelihood Development) project which covers strengthening of business support services; and development of Palawan Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through a shared incubator kitchen facility.

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The main objective of the project is to establish a very able business centre that can promote and increase the competitiveness of MSMEs in Palawan particularly the producers of the province's specialty foods. Pal CCI invited the participation of the provincial government; Local Government Unit (LGU) of the project areas; Department of Science and Technology (DOST); Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); Technical Education and Vocational Development Authority (TESDA); and Western Philippines University in this PROPEL project. Each role of the cooperating agencies were identified and mutually agreed upon through a Memorandum of Agreement.

The business center functions as support facility for investment promotions. It provides opportunity for developing a more dynamic relationship between public and private offices in addressing issues that affect doing business in the province. Also, the centre is designed to be the uniting platform of private sector participation in planning and implementation of public projects, programs, and policies.

Being one of the tourist destination favourites, Palawan has become a fertile ground for wide range of MSMEs activities that are either formally or informally included in the value chain. And Pal CCI's initiative on incubator kitchen facility has become a very relevant assistance to MSMEs in the food production of local delicacies. This project has not only covered Puerto Princesa city but it has been extended to other provincial areas: Brooke's Point, Simpocan, El Nido, and Culion. The municipalities of Roxas, Narra, and Aborlan are also interested to put up a satellite facility which could help them develop their local products. Each area of the project will utilize its own distinct fruits and nuts, such as turmeric in Brooke's Point; cashew for El Nido and Roxas; and mango for central Palawan.

Apart from providing a complete kitchen facility, Pal CCI has also lined up a series of training for the project beneficiaries in order to improve their production and packaging of Palawan specialty products. DOST is also supporting PROPEL in Palawan by making the needed technology available in the project sites.

PROPEL is a tripartite partnership of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI); the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and the Office of Senator Francis Pangilinan, that aims to address social inequity by opening opportunities to MSMEs in the countryside through the conduct of livelihood training and seminars, capability enhancement, product development and packaging, product branding systems, and implementation of technology-transfer activities. It is supported by the Priority Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Senator Francis Pangilinan to enable local chamber proponents to implement identified activities and projects that promote the growth and development of MSMEs

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