Taking full advantage of the government’s convergence program that aligns the country’s infrastructure development projects with industry and trade development thrusts, the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) is urging industry stakeholders to already prepare their infrastructure project proposals intended to further spur the local industries’ growth, development, and competitiveness.

The BOI, the industry development and investments promotion arm of the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), jointly with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) recently gathered in a meeting the various stakeholders in industry development to discuss and consult with them the guidelines and processes in preparing and submitting infrastructure project proposals for the Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade (ROLL IT) Program.

ROLL IT is a convergence program between DTI and DPWH to jointly undertake the planning, budgeting, advocacy for legislation, identification, evaluation, prioritization, regulation, supervision, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of industry development infrastructure projects in priority economic and manufacturing zones in the Philippines.

The meeting was an offshoot of the DTI-DPWH Memorandum of Agreement signed by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar in November 2016 at the sidelines of the 2016 Manufacturing Summit and the subsequent stakeholder consultation in January 2017, creating a convergence program that aims to align the country’s infrastructure development projects with industry and trade development thrusts.

Considered as one of the platforms of the administration in ushering the era of the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” for the country with a national infrastructure budget of around Php8 Trillion through 2022, the ROLL IT Program leverages on the success and experiences of the DPWH’s and the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) similar convergence program which aims to upgrade infrastructure leading to tourist destinations.

In the meeting, DTI Assistant Secretary for Industry Development Rafaelita Aldaba discussed the priority industries that can avail of the ROLL IT Program specifically those in the manufacturing and services sectors namely electronics manufacturing services, automotive and auto parts, aerospace parts, chemicals, shipbuilding, furniture and garments, tool and die, agribusiness as part of the manufacturing sector, Information Technology-Business Process Management, transport and logistics, tourism and construction industries.

“This is part of our New Industrial Policy where infrastructure spending is a national priority and an efficient infrastructure system is important for the competitiveness of our industries. Coordination is crucial among government agencies including the local government units, the local industries and other relevant stakeholders in achieving our goals,” Assistant Secretary Aldaba said.

BOI Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa meanwhile presented the criteria and the process involved in the ROLL IT Program. She said that the projects given priority are those that will strengthen the growth of industries notably those in the sectors included in the Industry Roadmapping Program and the Investment Priorities Plan. As part of the pre-qualification documents, Executive Director Dichosa said the DTI, through the BOI, will issue a certification that the industry is in the Top 12 Priority Industries or among the 42 industries with roadmaps, or those included in the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy.

Breakout sessions followed to gather comments on the ROLL IT Program draft guidelines, discuss the pre-qualification requirements for project proposals, identification of priority roads and other relevant infrastructure projects, and documentation of proposals for submission to a Technical Working Group that will evaluate the proposals.

Following the meeting, industry-specific and stakeholder consultations will also be conducted in February 2017 to guide the industries in preparing the documents and requirements of their project proposals in time for the submission and validation of proposals in March 2017. The qualified project proposals will be included in the DPWH’s budget line items for Fiscal Year 2018.

“Efficient use of government resources allows us not only to continue and expand our partnership but also pump-primes the economy as we aim to achieve the golden age of infrastructure in the country,” said DPWH Secretary Villar at the meeting opening adding that DPWH is now pursuing policies and projects aimed at widening national roads and the construction of more bypasses and inter-island bridges.

DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo who closed the meeting meanwhile said, “Through better roads and infrastructure, industry development can spur and set the motion for balanced development, with industries dispersing away from urban areas and moving to urban areas, creating more jobs and income opportunities for Filipinos”. “With better infrastructure, we can attract more foreign direct investments in the country, ensuring smoother flow of business,” he said.