Manufacturing boost seen from MRP

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Agencies involved in the government’s Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) have vowed to redouble their efforts in implementing programs and projects to boost the local manufacturing sector, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Monday.

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The trade agency said that through its investments promotion division the Board of Investments (BOI), it conducted the First Quarter MRP Cluster Meeting with MRP-implementing agencies last March 31.

DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba said during the meeting that there is a pressing need to continue to ramp up the growth of manufacturing in the country.

“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,” Aldaba said.

The MRP-implementing agencies — led by the DTI through BOI and the Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BSMED) – also include the 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 Corp. (NPC), and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

The MRP seeks to improve the existing capacity of industries, strengthen new ones, and maintain the competitiveness of industries with comparative advantage.

It also aims to build agriculture-based manufacturing industries that generate employment, and support smallholder farmers and agri-cooperatives through product development, value-adding, and integration to big enterprises for marketing and financing purposes.

During 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, as well as their plans for 2016 and proposed projects for 2017.

Aldaba cited some of the MRP projects including the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program, Die & Mold Making and Design Training, and Industry Roadmapping Project, among others mostly composed of training programs.

DTI’s BSMED separately reported its MRP initiatives, which consist of the SME Roving Academy, and the establishment of Shared Services Facilities and Negosyo Centers.

The DA reported its milestones in its programs and projects under MRP which include the High-Value Crops Development Program that assisted coffee growers; establishment of rice processing centers for farmer associations; the Philippine Rural Development Project’s I-REAP Component and the Farm-to-Market Development Program that provides connectivity of agri-fishery production sites to the processing and market centers.

Aldaba pressed the need for close coordination between the DTI and DA, since the implementation of the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy (CNIS) has already started.

CNIS is the country’s blueprint detailing an overall industrial strategy.

The PCA likewise reported on its ongoing project — 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.

The coconut authority also said it is currently working on the coconut roadmap together with the industry players.

Meanwhile, the DOE, NEA, and NPC also each 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.

Other than the developments of MRP implementation amongst agencies, the meeting also included the insights of experts such as Armin Bauer, the principal economist and coordinator of Asian Development Bank’s Inclusive Business (IB) Initiative.

Bauer discussed the basics of inclusive business, what 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.

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