Industry Roadmap
AEC drives us to improve the way we do things – Secretary Gregory L. Domingo
Posted on 2 December 2014

ILOILO CITY – The government is advancing efforts to improve the business environment and support the private sector in advancing Philippine industries. “The goal is to increase efficiency and maximize productivity to enhance competitiveness. AEC drives us to improve the way we do things,” Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said during the forum “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Game Plan: Regional Roadmaps for Competitiveness” held in Iloilo city last 26 November 2014.

In his keynote speech during the forum, Domingo highlighted the need for industry stakeholders to gain a sound understanding of the impact of global policy reforms in industrial development and to ensure that rural communities, particularly MSMEs, benefit from ASEAN integration.

“One of the key strategies of the AEC Game Plan is to improve competitiveness, and this requires addressing issues related to policies, logistics, and infrastructure,” Domingo added.

The forum gathered over 400 stakeholders from the private sector, government, and the academe. The activity aimed to inform stakeholders of benefits and challenges of the ASEAN integration with emphasis on the importance of developing industry roadmaps in the regions.

Former Director General of the National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Cielito F. Habito, one of the speakers in the Iloilo forum said “With the AEC drawing closer to its target date of end – 2015, the Philippines is now being pushed to do the right things such as lowering trade and investment barriers, boosting tourism through Open Skies, and adopting a strong competition policy.”

In addition, Habito encouraged MSMEs to gear up for AEC 2015. He said “First, MSMEs should be able to strengthen and professionalize their financial and overall business management. Second, it would be beneficial for MSMEs to do their research and study the opportunities that they could get from government programs designed to help them such as DTI’s Industry Roadmap Project (IRP) and Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA), among others. And lastly, it is essential for MSMEs to embrace clustering and complementation.”

During the forum, DTI Assistant Secretary for Industry Development Rafaelita M. Aldaba also discussed measures and government initiatives to strengthen manufacturing at the local and national levels vis--vis AEC competitiveness and collaboration. She highlighted the need for a cluster-based industrial policy to transform and upgrade regional industries. To build competitive regional economies, she encouraged stakeholders and relevant agencies to formulate their own roadmaps that are aligned and strongly linked with the national industry roadmaps.

Also featured in the forum were DTI Assistant Secretary Blesila Lantayona, who delivered the welcome remarks, DTI Region VI Regional Director Wilhelm Malones, and NEDA Region VI Regional Director Ro-Ann Bacal, who spoke on the potentials and challenges of local convergence in the region. Other speakers were Senior Research Fellow Dr. Roehlano Briones of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), who spoke on the strategy for the agribusiness industry, Sectoral Champion for Food Processing Francis Peaflor of the Board of Investments (BOI), and Agribusiness Specialist Marie Annette Dacul of Center for Food and Agribusiness.

The briefings titled “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Game Plan: Regional Roadmaps for Competitiveness” will also be conducted in Cebu on December 2 and in Davao on December 4.