MIMAROPA eyes farm goods, tourism

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THE government will promote manufacturing and tourism activities in Region IV-B, also known as MIMAROPA (for Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), to boost and sustain economic growth in the region, trade officials said.

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Joel Valera, regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region IV-B, said that the region, which has been dubbed as a “Destination of Choice,” is well known for its thriving tourism industry.

“But to sustain the tourism sector, there should be industries to support it. Specifically, this is agro-processing or the manufacturing of agricultural products,” Valera said.

“We need to have a good program to support our food processing industry in order for us to be competitive with our Asean neighbors. The Industry Roadmapping Program (IDP) can provide the needed assessments and plan of action to address the supply and value chain gaps of the sector,” Valera said.

According to the NEDA Regional Development Plan, MIMAROPA is rich in agriculture, fishery and forestry resources but products are traded in neighboring regions as raw materials and at low values.

If utilized for inputs for manufacturing and agro processing as well as support for tourism, these products would ultimately contribute to the region’s faster and more equitable growth.

Agriculture products of the region include coconut, banana, cashew, palay, corn, kalamansi and mango.

“In order for us to maximize the opportunities in the AEC [Asean Economic Community] and the European Union, we should be constantly improving our efforts to enhance our competitiveness,” DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba said.

“By identifying interventions and initiatives to upgrade our industries and MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises] and strengthening the competitiveness of our regional economies, we can make our country’s economic growth more sustainable and inclusive,” Aldaba added.

“We cannot leapfrog industrialization, we need to upgrade and transform our industries.
Through a new industrial policy, we can make our industries competitive and create an environment conducive to private sector development. This could lead to more investments, more and better jobs, sustainable and inclusive growth,” Aldaba emphasized.

About 150 stakeholders from the region’s five provinces of Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan attended the first day of the back to back conference.

In 2012, the preparation of sectoral roadmaps was initiated under the IDP by the DTI and the Board of Investments (BOI) in close partnership with the private sector.

With the government’s strategic shift towards industry development, the DTI has taken a more proactive role in implementing the country’s industrial policy, which envisions globally competitive and innovative industry and services sectors that will contribute to the country’s goal of inclusive growth.

Toward this end, under the IDP, focus is placed on the implementation of the Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) and the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.

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