Region XI – Davao Region (Davao)

The conference in Region XI was held on November 26, 2014 in Davao City and focused on the processed meat, seaweeds/carrageenan, and cacao/tablea industries.

DTI Region XI Director Maria Belenda Ambi and DTI Assistant Secretary Blesila Lantayona welcomed the participants from the region, while DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo delivered the keynote message.

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L to R: UA&P Center for Food and Agribusiness Specialist Senen Reyes, DTI Region XI OIC Director Belenda Ambi, DTI Assistant Secretary Blesila Lantayona, DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo, DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba, USAID TRADE Senior Adviser Dr. Ramon Clarete, BOI Sectoral Champion Francis Penaflor.

In his keynote address, DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo highlighted the Philippine economy’s strong performance in recent years, particularly the country’s competitiveness which has been improving by the day: in terms of wage inflation rate, sectoral performance (with industry and manufacturing as one of the best-performing sectors in the economy), and growing foreign investor confidence.

In order to sustain its growth, Sec. Domingo emphasized the importance for all stakeholders to work on a unified vision for economic development. For its part, he said that the Philippine government is carrying out policies and programs to support the economy’s growth. These include the implementation of the K+12 program, continuing investment in public infrastructure through the PPP program, the DTI’s Industry Roadmapping Project and Manufacturing Resurgence Program, the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) program, SME Roving Academy, and setting up of Negosyo Centers throughout the country.

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Dr. Ramon Clarete discussed the Philippines in the context of the AEC.

DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba discussed the country’s new industrial policy, while USAID TRADE Senior Adviser Dr. Ramon Clarete talked about the AEC and the Philippine economy. Mindanao Development Authority Director Romeo Montenegro presented on the potentials and challenges in the region. Other speakers included PIDS Senior Fellow Dr. Roehlano Briones, BOI sectoral champion for processed food products Francis Penaflor, and UA&P Center for Food And Agribusiness Specialists Florence Sevilla and Senen Reyes.

The key points of the conference are as follows:

  1. The Philippines is already participating in the AEC, with the reduction since 2010 to zero of tariffs of almost all commodities traded in the region. More importantly, the country is strongly positioned for 2015 because of its recent economic performance – higher trajectory of growth, improving business climate, and increasing competitiveness. Though the country must consistently grow above 6% for the next 5 years to keep attracting investments, the resurgence of the manufacturing sector is among the best news that guarantees the sustainability of its economic growth.
  2. The AEC promises the sharing of technology, higher productivity, and stronger interdependence among ASEAN nations – more complementation than competition. Businesses should be ready and willing to change their mindset and business models in order to take advantage of the opportunities in AEC. While admittedly, some will benefit more than others in the AEC, in balance and despite its downsides, the AEC will offer opportunities for PH firms to be more competitive and reinvent themselves for higher productivity. Nonetheless, SMEs really have to be a part of the process for AEC 2015 to work. There will be no inclusive growth without SMEs.
  3. To attain inclusive growth and take advantage of the opportunities from the AEC and globalization in general, enhancing our competitiveness through industrial upgrading is crucial. The best way to achieve these is to implement a new industrial policy, which implies a more pro-active government that acts as facilitator and coordinator in addressing the most binding constraints to industry development. It also calls for the clustering of industries and allied industries, industry upgrading through growth-oriented action, and the deepening of Philippine participation in regional production networks and global value chains. While there would be challenges to implementation, the private sector, in coordination with government, must participate in the economy’s structural transformation by driving industrial upgrading through the crafting of regional roadmaps. These roadmaps will indicate their goals and vision for their industries and identify their strategies to reach realize these, taking into consideration their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The formulation of the regional roadmaps is an essential step towards the development of the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy.
  4. Region XI envisions itself to reach the global economic frontier hinged on its agro-industry sector. In order to attract more investments, generate better jobs, and produce more exports, it considers industry clustering as an effective strategy for competitiveness. The Region has developed 11 roadmaps for its products: abaca, banana, cacao, coconut, durian, mango, seaweeds, ICT, mining, and renewable energy. Nonetheless, it recognizes that horizontal issues have to be addressed, including improving the quality of logistics and transport infrastructure (modernization of Davao international airport, Sasa port, highway connecting GenSan and Davao city via Panabo), financing, R&D, and other related support for industries.
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Stakeholders from the industry, SMEs, local government, the academe, and the media attended the conference.

 

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Panel speakers, L to R: UA&P Center for Food and Agribusiness (CFA) Specialist Senen Reyes, BOI Sectoral Champion Francis Penaflor, NEDA Region XI Director Ma. Lourdes Lim, UA&P CFA Specialist Florence Sevilla, PIDS Senior Fellow Dr. Roehlano Briones

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