Efforts to boost the manufacturing sector will go full steam this year, with a number of key activities lined up under the Industry Development Plan (IDP) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Board of Investments (BOI).

DTI Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal said that for 2014, DTI will pursue six main activities under the IDP: (1) continued implementation and monitoring of the completed roadmaps; (2) completion of remaining industry roadmaps; (3) information dissemination on the industry roadmaps’ contents; (4) revival of the Industry Development Council; (5) preparation of feasibility studies and capacity-building sessions for key stakeholders; and (6) advocacy programs to undertake policy and industry-level reforms.

“The revival of the manufacturing sector is key to inclusive economic growth because it will generate much-needed employment and help the country tap regional production networks. This will require industrial transformation under a comprehensive national industry strategy,” he said.

A total of 26 industry roadmaps—the crafting of which were led by the private sector—have been produced since the IDP launch in January 2012. “The roadmaps envision a growth trajectory for the next 15 years, as well as plot policy and industry-level support measures to help achieve industry goals,” Cristobal added.

According to the DTI, the goal of the IDP is to make the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment contribution of manufacturing at par with neighboring countries. Manufacturing accounts for just about 23% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product and only 10% of employment.

In support of the IDP, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allocated P60M under the national budget approved by Congress for the year, to jumpstart the implementation of the interagency Manufacturing Resurgence Program tasked to implement projects aimed at enhancing the manufacturing sector’s competitiveness.

Cristobal said short-run action plans as stated in the roadmaps had been achieved by industry-specific technical working groups (TWGs), composed of government and private sector stakeholders and chaired by BOI sectoral and the industry champions. The TWGs meet regularly to monitor the implementation of industry roadmaps, undertake industry-level reforms, and advocate industry-supporting policies to concerned government agencies.

The TWGs will serve as the building blocks of the Industry Development Council (IDC), the revival of which is a priority of DTI-BOI. “The IDC will be an effective institutional mechanism to implement IDP’s major activities, such as the resolution of vertical and horizontal constraints, policy advocacy initiatives, and capacity-building programs,” Cristobal said.

In the Chemicals TWG, a research and innovation partnership program with the University of the Philippines (UP) Engineering Research and Development for Technology has been established. This aims to strengthen the synergy between the chemicals industry and the academe.

Another initiative is the pre-feasibility study on establishing a copper wire facility in the Leyte Industrial Development Estate by the copper and copper products TWG. The project is expected to effectively plug important supply chain gaps in the copper products sector.

The BOI has also been holding small-group consultations as well as a series of fora dubbed “Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates”, where roadmaps for the manufacturing, chemicals, copper products, rubber products, paper, mass housing, cement, iron and steel, electronics, IT-BPM, motorcycle, and tool and die were presented. The 7th TID Updates on March 27, 2014 at the Audio Visual Room of the BOI Penthouse will feature the furniture and natural health products industry roadmaps.

Cristobal said roadmaps for aerospace, bamboo, coco coir, and creative industries are expected to be finalized within the year, while roadmaps for medical travel, mineral processing, processed foods (i.e. fruits), processed meat and marine products, shipbuilding, garments, printing, and home appliance will be completed by end of this year.

The following roadmaps have been submitted to the BOI: manufacturing, automotive, automotive parts, biodiesel, cement, ceramic tiles, chemicals, copper and copper products, electric vehicles, electronics, furniture, iron and steel, IT-BPM, mass housing, metalcasting, motorcycle, petrochemicals, plastics, pulp and paper, rubber products, tool and die and natural health products.

The DTI-BOI’s industry development initiatives have garnered the support of international partners, through technical assistance projects such as the European Union – Trade-Related Technical Assistance and the United States Agency for International Development – Advancing Competitiveness Project. The Japan International Cooperation Agency is also working with DTI-BOI on several projects related to industry development.