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Case Study

The DTI improves citizen experience with AI-enabled citizen support

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has handled over 100k messages with Proto’s AI Citizen Experience solution, making information accessible across six functional groups in 5 local languages such as Tagalog and Cebuano.

Philippines Department of Trade & Industry




Average response time


chats per day after sneak peek deployed



The Department of Trade and Industry is constantly innovating – looking at ways to deliver better services to the public, from Business Number registration in 8 minutes to Barangay Micro Business Enterprise online registration and now Trade and Industry Assistant (TIA), the DTI Chatbot. TIA is built to speak the language of DTI's customers, understand their needs, and provide them with an immediate response accordingly. Over time, TIA is also fed with new information using different local dialects such as Tagalog and Cebuano, enabling the chatbot to entertain more queries from DTI's customers.
Mary Jean Pacheco
Assistant Secretary & Head of Digital, Department of Trade and Industry
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About the Department of Trade and Industry

The Department of Trade and Industry is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for business and trade innovation, growth, and consumer protection. The department consists of six functional groups that collaborate to deliver services to businesses and the public, and facilitate policymaking to further business development across the Philippines.

About Proto

Proto is the leader for inclusive chatbots and multilingual contact centre automation in emerging markets. Proto’s AI Citizen Experience (AICX) platform is powered by proprietary natural language processing (NLP) for under-resourced and mixed languages. The Proto team has successfully developed novel deep-learning techniques and regulatory partnerships to maximise citizen engagement, protection, and lifetime value across 20+ emerging markets.


The Department of Trade and Industry, which serves as the prime mover of consumer welfare in the Philippines, received a large number of phone and email queries from stakeholders and the general public. They handled each one manually through their contact centre, serving six functional groups with different specializations.

However, different roles and regulations across each functional group made it difficult for admin teams to ensure each query was forwarded to the correct group. Additionally, the volume of queries increased wait times for citizens seeking help, particularly since live agents were only available during business hours. Limited hours also made it more difficult for foreign investors seeking assistance, particularly if they were not in the same time zone.


Proto's solution for the Department of Trade and Industry included a chatbot, TIA (Trade and Industry Assistant), which automates responses to queries across the DTI's six functional groups. It provides 24/7 service to citizens across the Philippines as well as to foreign stakeholders, answering questions in local languages including Cebuano and Tagalog.

TIA was trained with various frequently asked questions from the organization's database, covering topics such as business registration, consumer complaints, and e-commerce adoption. If the chatbot doesn’t have the correct answer for a question, it will suggest the correct channel for citizen queries so they can contact the responsible group.

Besides helping citizens, the Proto platform collects query data to help the team understand what topics citizens are most concerned with, what issues they faced, and which functional group received the most questions. The Department of Trade and Industry will then be able to use this data to improve citizen services – for example, optimising the citizen experience on their website.

The DTI team will continuously improve the chatbot with a channel for consumer complaints, more language support such as Ilocano and Kapampangan, and more channels such as Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp, and Twitter. They will also continue to customise service across the 6 functional groups.


Proto's citizen experience solution for the Department of Trade and industry responded to over 1,500 chats in its first two months of deployment. It saw a significant rise in the number of chats per day after Proto's proactive messaging feature, Sneak Peek, was deployed on the website.

Currently, it handles over 52k messages per month and has also achieved the following:


Total messages


Average bot response time


Increase in chats after sneak peek deployed



The INTUMWA complaints chatbot is deployed across the websites of Rwanda’s banks for maximum exposure to consumers in need of protection. These banks can choose to upgrade the chatbot with additional capabilities for general customer support, payments, and account management.


The INTUMWA complaints chatbot is deployed across the websites of Rwanda’s insurance providers for maximum exposure to consumers in need of protection. These insurance providers can choose to upgrade the chatbot with additional capabilities for general customer support, claims, and coverage applications.


Proto’s AI Citizen Experience solution has helped the Department of Trade and Industry’s contact centre to automate a large volume of repetitive, direct questions while providing more localised and efficient service for citizens.

TIA is also helping the organisation achieve its No Wrong Door policy, by automatically forwarding citizen requests to the correct department. Finally, Proto's platform allows the Department of Trade and Industry to analyse citizen queries to continually improve citizen engagement.

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