It was six months ago when I stood here before you and accepted the responsibility of leading the Department of Trade and Industry. I asked you then for your support and not to slow down in our efforts just because it was an election year, for that is not the DTI way. Instead, I challenged you to go “full speed ahead.”
The Economy
You accepted the challenge – we did go full speed ahead and, happily – so did the economy.
I am glad to report that in the first quarter of this year, the Philippines is back on a high growth track, posting the highest growth rate of 6.9 percent, outpacing 11 other Asian countries including China.
Our gross domestic product (GDP) grew an average of 6.2 percent from 2010- 2015 – the highest 6-year growth recorded by our country in 40 years – and a remarkable performance against the backdrop of the global economic slowdown during the same period.
Moreover, the manufacturing sector, long neglected, grew an average of 8.1 percent in the past four years, faster that the services sector and the economy as a whole. The resurgence of manufacturing, now a reality, was something unthinkable in the past two decades.
What makes this consistent growth under our watch even more significant is that the growth is fueled by investments – not debt or hot money – in areas that create jobs, increase incomes, and improve people’s well-being unlike in the past. More important, by steadfastly upholding the present administration’s overriding policy of transparency and good governance, we have laid a solid foundation for sustained and inclusive growth in the coming years.
The Past 6 Months
We have accomplished much in the last six months.
On the trade front, we concluded a trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and have started formal negotiations for another one with the European Union (EU).
On the industry side, the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS), our flagship industrial program, has accepted the participation of Mitsubishi and Toyota and this should soon further enhance our Manufacturing Resurgence Program that seeks to generate more and better jobs. Investments continue to pour in even as we have inaugurated major manufacturing facilities in various industrial parks.
We also embarked on the nationwide “Negosyo, Konsyumer Atbp.: One DTI Services” program, visiting the various regions to integrate and make the range of our services better known and bring these closer to our compatriots in the countryside.
This gave us the chance to fully break out our strategy of encouraging the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises as we inaugurated Negosyo Centers and Shared Service Facilities throughout the country and launched capacity building workshops for doing business with e-commerce.
In the process, we gained headway in our Innovation Agenda. Building on the success of the first FabLab in Bohol, we inaugurated five more Product Innovation Centers with Co-working Spaces in partnership with leading academic institutions, local government units and private sector partners.
Prior to this we had set in motion the institutionalization of Slingshot Philippines or #SlingshotPH, our Startup and Innovation Ecosystem Development Program. The successful hosting of Slingshot Philippines the Event further energized the stakeholders of the Philippine startup and innovation community, all eager and yearning to launch new enterprises shaped by the advent of the game-changing realities of disruption, technology, and scale.
In early June, we inaugurated a Co-working Space in the DTI International Building that will serve as the Philippine Hub for Innovation. It is a place where the Startup and Innovation Community can regularly meet and exchange ideas, receive mentoring and advice on how to go about building their businesses, and learn how to pitch their products & services to foreign investors & buyers. It won’t be long before the space gives birth to technology-based startups geared toward the global market.
Thank You and Goodbye
So much has been achieved in six months, and still so much more to do.
But the time has come for me to move on. At noon on Thursday, June 30, I will relinquish my post.
Thank you for rising to my challenge to go full speed ahead. The ride was exciting and was made especially memorable by your generous cooperation and support.
My stint as your Secretary may have been brief, but the truth is I have worked with you in the DTI for many years and serving as Secretary – a great honor indeed – was a bonus. We can and should take pride in what we have accomplished together for our people and our beloved country.
From more than a decade working alongside you I have learned the meaning of public service. I will forever be grateful to you for sharing generously with me your knowledge, wisdom, experience, values and ideas that have made the DTI a great institution.
I leave happy with the knowledge that the organization in which I ‘grew up’ is steeped in the culture of excellence and committed to render outstanding service. The incoming and future stewards will do well to recognize and treasure this jewel of an agency.
It has been an honor and a distinct privilege to have served with such an outstanding complement of officers and staff. I am confident that you will all carry on in the best DTI tradition of rendering our “Serbisyong Higit Pa Sa Inaasahan.”
Tanggapin po ninyo ang aking taos pusong pasasalamat. Mabuhay ang DTI! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr.
Department of Trade and Industry
A Farewell Message to the DTI Family
DTI Flag Ceremony, Main Office Grounds
27 June 2016