Key agencies involved in the government’s Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) made a commitment to double their efforts in vigorously implementing programs and projects that will propel the country’s manufacturing sector to further upgrade, thrive and become catalysts and engines for sustained and inclusive growth.

At the First Quarter MRP Cluster Meeting which convened recently (March 31, 2016) at the Board of Investments (BOI), MRP-implementing government agencies agreed that the various MRP projects being implemented are relevant and critical to the manufacturing industry’s growth and development and be globally competitive.

“The growth of the manufacturing sector has been very encouraging especially in the last five years.  With this as the ongoing trend, there is high probability that the growth of the manufacturing industry will be sustained in the coming years,” said Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Aldaba at the meeting’s opening.

Chaired by Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary for industry development Rafaelita Aldaba, the meeting that was attended by representatives from various MRP-implementing agencies namely DTI’s BOI and the Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BSMED), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Agriculture (DA), , Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Power Corporation (NPC), and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

In pursuit of the government’s goal of achieving inclusive growth, the government implements the MRP with DTI as lead coordinating agency. The MRP aims to improve the existing capacity of industries, strengthen new ones, and maintain the competitiveness of industries with comparative advantage. It also seeks to build-up agriculture-based manufacturing industries that generate employment, and support small-holder farmers and agri-cooperatives through product development, value-adding, and integration to big enterprises for marketing and financing purposes.

In the meeting, each of the agencies gave updates on the progress and assessment of projects implemented from 2014 to 2015, the ongoing projects and how these projects are supporting manufacturing development,   plans for 2016 and proposed projects for 2017,

Assistant Secretary Aldaba reported DTI’s ongoing MRP projects namely the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program, Die & Mold Making and Design Training in partnership with the MIRDC and the PDMA; Philippine Rubber Investment and Market Encounter; enhancing the competitiveness of the Philippine coffee, establishment and implementation of an Aerospace Quality Management Systems Project; Product and Technology Holistic Strategy Project for the electronics industry, Study by the UP School of Urban Planning, Economics and Anthropology on the revival of key industries in the Sixth District of Quezon City; Cottage Industry Technology Center Transformation Project, Sectoral Value Proposition Development, Regulations review for priority sectors, Industry Roadmapping Project including the development of roadmaps for the footwear and garments and textile sectors; conduct of regional conferences and localization of industry roadmaps; and forum and conferences on trade and industry development talks and updates on various industries and sectors.

DTI’s BSMED on the other hand separately reported its MRP initiatives including the conduct of SME Roving Academy, establishment of Shared Services Facilities and Negosyo Centers.

DA meanwhile reported the highlights of its accomplishments of programs and projects identified under MRP namely the High-Value Crops Development Program which assisted coffee growers, the establishment of rice processing centers for farmer associations, the Philippine Rural Development Project’s I-REAP Component, and the Farm-to-Market Development Program which provides connectivity of the agri-fishery production sites to the processing and market centers.

During the meeting Assistant Secretary Aldaba highlighted the importance of DTI and DA’s close coordination since most of the projects of the two agencies are interrelated.  As identified in the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy (CNIS), the country’s blueprint detailing the overall industrial strategy, the strong linkage of the manufacturing sector and agriculture will stimulate economic growth.

PCA reported the Kaanib Coco Hub Project which aims to increase the income of participating coconut farmers by providing processing hubs for coco-based products such as virgin coconut oil, coco sugar, coco coir, among others.   PCA also reported it is currently working on the coconut roadmap together with the industry players.

Meanwhile DOE, NEA, and NPC separately reported on their MRP initiatives, all of which are geared towards providing sufficient energy resources to stimulate the growth and development of various industries and sectors.

The body also had the opportunity to hear the insights of Dr. Armin Bauer, Principal Economist and Coordinator of Asian Development Bank’s Inclusive Business Initiative, on modernizing the competitiveness of Philippine industries under an Inclusive Business (IB) Agenda.  Dr. Bauer discussed the basics of inclusive business, what the industries and businesses can potentially gain from government support programs, some examples of IB models in manufacturing, how industry promotion programs adopt IB, and the steps government and businesses can do to support IB.