Business managers should continue taking part in the Philippines’ growth story, as the country experiences industry resurgence, giving trade and investment a full swing, the country’s trade chief said.

Speaking at the general membership meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez urged managers to continue banking on the country’s competitive industries and sectors, wherein the Philippines has comparative advantage, thus generating more jobs for Filipinos.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez at MAP meeting
DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez speaking at the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) meeting.

“The top priority areas should be on services, manufacturing, agri-business, infrastructure development and logistics and tourism. We need to transform these innovative industries into an ecosystem of innovation,” said Sec. Lopez.

He also referred to research and development experts and practitioners, members of the academe and incubators as enablers of growth.

“The government is committed to provide opportunities and implement capacity-building initiatives to help Filipinos move-up the socio-economic ladder,” he said.

Sec. Lopez assured MAP members, composed of top business leaders, that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is determined to sustain a policy environment and industry structure that ensures competition, citing tariff reform programs, fair entry of competitive imports with presence of several players and brands as examples.

For the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the trade chief reiterated his request to the big companies to explore ways to integrate the sector not only in their supply chain but also in the global value chain.

 The guests at the MAP General Membership Meeting.

The government, through the DTI, capacitates MSMEs to become global players by helping the sector increase its competence and value-adding potentials. Sec. Lopez shared with the business managers DTI’s current programs to achieve the goal of realizing inclusive growth and prosperity for all, through the establishment of Negosyo Centers and SME Roving Academy for constant mentoring and coaching, as well as through the Go Lokal! stores for product incubation and market access, mainstreaming the best of MSME products.

The President’s Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or P3, meanwhile, gives access to finance and serves as the government’s direct response to the usurious 5-6 lending scheme, according to him.

“All of these activities empower the MSMEs, and empowering the sector means investing on the economic backbone of our country,” he added.

He also detailed the country’s substantial gains in the recent visits to Japan, China, Russia and the Middle East that all resulted to generation of new jobs and business opportunities, new big markets for Filipino farmers, as well as strengthened economic ties with the world’s big economies.

The trade chief, who also serves as current chair of ASEAN Economic Ministers, also said that the Philippines gives investors and businessmen strategic gateway to the bigger market of ASEAN, especially as the Philippines currently chairs and hosts ASEAN 2017. The 30th ASEAN Summit starts this week in Pasay.