Tacloban, Leyte—Efforts to further move forward the rehabilitation of the former Yolanda typhoon-stricken city is getting added boost as the Board of Investments (BOI), the industry development and investments promotion arm of the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), together with the DTI Regional Office in Eastern Visayas, is capacitating the region’s various industry players, businesses, local government units and agencies, and concerned stakeholders in a regional conference today (June 22, 2016) in crafting their localized version of national industry roadmaps and achieve further growth and competitiveness.
Dubbed as “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Gameplan: Roadmaps Localization for Competitiveness”, the regional conference aims to build the capacities of local industries and stakeholders including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in crafting their localized industry roadmaps aligned with the national industry roadmaps.  The conference also aims to discuss the economic opportunities and potentials for local industries and sectors in the Eastern Visayas region and how they can take advantage of the many opportunities with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) already in place.
At the regional conference, BOI Resource-based Industries Service Division Chief Sandra Marie Recolizado discussed the proposed Ecological Industrial Zone in Leyte, a project under the Copper Industry Roadmap which aims to promote the integrated development and competitiveness of copper and other industries in the context of the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in the region and thus promote sustainable local employment.  The proposed industrial zone also aims to promote industry clustering to reduce businesses’ logistics costs and ensure reliable supply of power.  Leyte has one of the biggest geothermal power plants in the Visayas region.
Conservation and protection of the environment is a major focus of the project, hence the concept of an ecological industrial zone instead of a regular industrial zone.  The proposed ecological industrial zone itself provides services for waste management and recycling. It also takes into consideration climate change risks, thus the zone’s buildings and roads will be designed to be much resilient against disasters and calamities. A plan to have an underground electrication for the zone is also being considered.
It is expected to house potential locators in the field of copper wire rod casting facility, downstream copper industry such as but not limited to copper wire producers, major industrial concerns that need power and port facilities such as steel, copper-using industries, and other business activities identified by industry that may support the economic rehabilitation of typhoon-affected areas such as garments.
Leyte is home to the copper smelting and refining operations of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR). The company is currently operating within the 425-hectare Leyte Industrial Development Estate in Isabel, Leyte.  PASAR is the country’s only copper smelting and refining firm and is one of the biggest in Asia. The copper cathodes used in the manufacture of electronics that are produced by PASAR are among the top 10 export products of the country.
The localization of roadmaps in the Eastern Visayas Region also focused on processed marine, and meat products, and natural health products—the dominantly thriving and potential industries in the region which can be aligned and linked with the national industry roadmaps.  Presenting the industry situations on these sectors are resource persons from the private and government namely: Clarita Lapus, President of Mama Sita Foundation Inc. on processed marine products; Francis Penaflor, BOI Sectoral Champion for Processed Meat on processed meat; and Joracio Abelarde, Chairman Emeritus of the Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippines, Inc.      
“Now that we have the Industry Roadmapping Program in place, we must seize opportunities with government acting as facilitator and coordinating with industry stakeholders in crafting the regional industry cluster roadmaps. These industry roadmaps will allow MSMEs to move up the value chain and actively participate in the vast AEC market,” said DTI Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba who also discussed the Philippine’s New Industrial Policy for More Competitive Regional Economies during the multi-sector regional conference.  
Assistant Secretary Aldaba also challenged the region’s stakeholders to formulate industry roadmaps to create more high productivity jobs which are vital to reduce poverty, speed up rehabilitation efforts, and transform the regional economy.
Aside from Assistant Secretary Aldaba and the resource persons for the sectors identified, the other presenters and their topics in the conference include Dr. Cielito Habito, Chief of Party of the USAID TRADE Project on Regional Integration and the National Development Agenda on regional integration and the national development agenda; Victoria Antonio, Senior Advisor of GTZ-Promotion of Green Economic Development on Greening the Industry Roadmaps; and Meylene Rosales, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region 8 Division Chief for Policy Planning and Formulation on behalf of Atty. Bonifacio Uy, Regional Director of NEDA Region 8 on the potentials and challenges in the region. 
The Industry Roadmapping Program is the BOI’s program in partnership with various industries and sectors in the development and implementation of industry roadmaps.   An Industry Roadmap assesses an industry’s performance, opportunities, and challenges, outlines the vision, goals and objectives, strategies, timelines, and various interventions it needs to be globally-competitive. The roadmaps are crafted and implemented by the industry players themselves with the guidance of the BOI as well as other government agencies.  To date, there are already 40 sectoral roadmaps submitted to the BOI. Of the 40, 32 roadmaps have been completed and are currently being implemented or for implementation, while the rest are still subject to enhancement/finalization.
Through regional conferences, the BOI is going around the country since last year to encourage localization of roadmaps in the regions especially those industries that are dominant or thriving in the area and its alignment and linkage with the national industry roadmaps.   BOI, in coordination with the DTI regional offices, conducted nine regional conferences in Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Tagaytay, Pampanga, Zamboanga, Palawan and Naga last year.  Early this year, regional conferences for the Ilocos Region were held in La Union and in Tugegarao for the Cagayan Valley Region.  The last leg will be held next month in Butuan for the Caraga region.