Tugegarao City, Cagayan–The Board of Investments (BOI), the industry development and investments promotion arm of the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), jointly with the DTI Regional Office in Cagayan Valley, gathered for a conference today Thursday (May 12, 2016) around 300 participants from the region’s various industry players, business sectors, local government units and agencies, and concerned stakeholders to discuss how the region can craft its localized version of the national industry roadmaps and achieve further growth and competitiveness.

Dubbed as “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Gameplan: Roadmaps Localization for Competitiveness”, the multi-sector regional conference aims to build the capacities of local industries and stakeholders including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in crafting their localized industry roadmaps aligned with the national industry roadmaps.  The conference also aims to discuss the economic opportunities and potentials for local industries and sectors in the Cagayan Valley region and how they can take advantage of the many opportunities with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) already in place.

The localization of roadmaps in the Cagayan Valley Region focuses on processed fruits, coffee, furniture, processed cacao, and processed meat—the dominant industries currently thriving in the region and which can be aligned and linked with the national industry roadmaps.  Presenting the industry situations on these sectors are resource persons from the private and government namely: Virgue dela Fuente, President of the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation Inc. on processed fruits; Myrna Pablo, DTI Director for CAR; Salvio Valenzuela, Executive Director of the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines on furniture; Josephine Ramos, Managing Director of Options Inc. for processed cacao; and Francis Penaflor, BOI Sectoral Champion for Processed Meat on processed meat.

Assistant Secretary Aldaba urged the stakeholders present in the conference to already initiate crafting their regional roadmap.  She cited Davao Region which already crafted and launched its preliminary regional roadmap while the Calabarzon and Central Luzon regions are about to prepare their regional roadmaps with the assistance of their respective Regional Development Councils and experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“Now that we have the Industry Roadmapping Program in place, we must seize opportunities with government facilitating in coordination with industry stakeholders to enable the region to craft its own industry roadmaps. These industry roadmaps will allow MSMEs to move up the value chain and actively participate in the vast AEC market,” said DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba who also discussed the Philippine’s New Industrial Policy for More Competitive Regional Economies at the multi-sector regional conference.

The AEC, starting December 31 of last year, establishes a single market and production base with free movement of goods, services and investments across the 10 ASEAN member countries. To date, some 96 percent of goods traded intra-ASEAN enjoys zero duties.

Aside from Assistant Secretary Aldaba and the resource persons for the sectors identified, the other presenters and their topics in the conference include Dr. Cielito Habito, Chief of Party of the USAID TRADE Project on Regional Integration and the National Development Agenda; Klaus Peter Berkemeyer, Development Advisor of GTZ-Promotion of Green Economic Development on Greening the Industry Roadmaps; and Mary Ann Darauay, Regional Director of the National Economic and Development Authority Cagayan Valley on the potentials and challenges in the region.

The Industry Roadmapping Program is the BOI’s program in partnership with various industries and sectors in the development and implementation of industry roadmaps.   An Industry Roadmaps details a sector’s current situationer, outlines the vision, goals and objectives, strategies, timelines, and various interventions it needs to be globally-competitive. The roadmaps are crafted and implemented by the industry players themselves with the guidance of the BOI as well as other government agencies.

To date, there are already 40 sectoral roadmaps submitted to the BOI. Of the 40, 32 roadmaps have been completed and are currently being implemented or for implementation, while the rest are still subject to enhancement/finalization.

Through regional conferences, the BOI is going around the country since last year to encourage localization of roadmaps in the regions especially those industries that are dominant or thriving in the area and its alignment and linkage with the national industry roadmaps.   BOI, in coordination with the DTI regional offices, conducted nine regional conferences in Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Tagaytay, Pampanga, Zamboanga, Palawan and Naga last year.  Early this year, a regional conference for the Ilocos Region was held in La Union and two more, apart from the Tugegarao leg, will be conducted in Butuan and Leyte this year.

“This conference is a perfect venue for us to work together to address the challenges and opportunities our own industry clusters face. The alignment of regional industry roadmaps and national strategies will allow us to take advantage of the country’s expanded market access, to attract investments in our region and to grow our MSMEs to make quality of products and services at par with ASEAN standards,” DTI Regional Director for Cagayan Valley Ma. Esperanza Banares said.

“Local industry roadmaps will define our vision, goals, and targets initially for processed fruits, coffee, furniture, processed cacao, and processed meat“,  Regional Director Banares said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us as we identify binding constraints to growth and recommend strategies for industry upgrading and development,” she said.

Cagayan Valley’s gross regional development product is second lowest among the regions in Luzon, only at 113.25 billion from 2010-2014.  “One of the industrial policy efforts in the region is to improve productivity in agriculture where half of the poor are engaged in agribusiness,” Assistant Secretary Aldaba said. “The vision for the region is to be the Philippines’ new food basket and gateway to the North while the goal is to transform its economy equitably and sustainably through industry clustering strategies in the areas of investments, exports, jobs, SME development and implement horizontal measures in the areas of infrastructure & logistics support, incentives, marketing, financing, R&D, other government support to strengthen industry clusters,” she said.