Iloilo City – In the initial forum entitled “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Game Plan: Regional Roadmaps for Competitiveness” held in Iloilo City on November 26, 2014. DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo capsulized in his keynote speech the theme by saying, “The goal is to increase efficiency and maximize productivity to enhance competitiveness. The Asian Economic Community (AEC) drives us to improve the way we do things.”

Before an audience of some 335 stakeholders from the private sector, academe and government, Domingo emphasized the need for industry to understand how global reforms impact on industrial development so that down to the rural communities, MSMEs, are assured to benefit from ASEAN integration.

Former NEDA Director General Cielito F. Habito, another forum speaker; pointed out that with the impending onset of AEC in 2015, the Philippines need to gear for action. Immediate considerations include lowering trade and investment barriers, boosting tourism through Open Skies, and adopting a strong competition policy.

For the MSMEs, it is rife to strengthen and professionalize their financial and small business management styles, research on and study current opportunities offered by government programs designed for their benefit such as DTI’s Industry Roadmap Project (IRP) and Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA), among others, and lastly, seriously consider embracing the industry clustering and complementation scheme.

Other discussants provided examples of specific benefits from a cluster-based industrial policy to upgrade regional industries with the formulation of industry roadmaps as a strategy in building competitive regional economies.

Similar fora were scheduled in Cebu on December 2 and in Davao on December 4, 2014. (END)