Efforts to boost the economy of the CARAGA region gets added lift as the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) gathered Region 13 stakeholders to craft their local version of national industry roadmaps in pursuit of further growth and competitiveness in the region.  
More than 250 stakeholders including industry players, businesses, local government units, government agencies, media, and academe participated in the “Industry Roadmaps and the AEC Gameplan: Roadmaps Localization for Competitiveness” regional conference today (August 4, 2016).
The regional conference aims to build the capacities of local industries and stakeholders including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in crafting their own 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 Caraga region and how they can take advantage of the many opportunities of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
DTI-CARAGA Regional Director Brieglo O. Pagaran encouraged stakeholders to raise issues and concerns so that CARAGA can benefit from alignment of local industries with national roadmaps. “In the process, we will be enabling our region to target PHP200 million minimum per year gross regional domestic product (GRDP) and reduce poverty incidence in our region to less than 10 percent,” he said.
Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba, head convenor of the conference, discussed the Philippine’s New Industrial Policy for More Competitive Regional Economies. She said that industry roadmaps will allow MSMEs and farmers to move up the value chain and actively participate in the vast ASEAN market to achieve shared prosperity for all. The localization of roadmaps in CARAGA Region focuses on rubber, palm oil, and processed fish—the dominantly thriving and potential industries in the region which can be aligned and linked with national industry roadmaps.
“We need to upgrade our industries and take advantage of the opportunities arising from the country’s free trade agreements. Our industrial policy focuses on our participation in global value chains as well as in pursuing a cluster-based development to build stronger regional economies,” Aldaba said during the conference.  She said that agribusiness is a catalyst that will drive regional economic transformation. “We want to transform and upgrade agriculture from
traditional farming to a globally competitive agribusiness sector and position the Philippines as an agribusiness hub in ASEAN,” she said.
PH is well positioned in the ASEAN region to take advantage of opportunities of economic integration. Eminent economist Dr. Cielito Habito said that this means that the role of our policy makers is to make the business environment as enabling and as facilitative as possible, at the least cost for our micro, small and medium enterprises. This way, he added, MSMEscan now play a bigger role in ASEAN Economic Community.
The CARAGA region offers a lot of economic opportunities given its inherent strengths in agriculture, industry, and services sectors. CARAGA, through its administrative city Butuan, remains a strategic trading hub in Northern Mindanao with major roads connecting to the other cities in the island such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Malaybabay, Surigao, and Tandag. It also hosts one the busiest airports and sea ports in the country.
Butuan city Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada acknowledged the initiative of the DTI in bringing industry roadmaps to the local level. The newly installed mayors aid “To build industry, we must first address our enabling infrastructure – roads, utilities, power, water, communication and ports. If we want to be competitive, we start with local governance,” he said. The newly installed mayor also cited the importance of creating domestic ecozones in the region to upgrade its industries.
The other presenters and their topics in the conference include Dr. Roehlano Briones, Senior Research Fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS)presented Agribusiness in relation to the Six National Industry Clusters; Raquel Capio, Senior Advisor of GTZ-Promotion of Green Economic Development talked about Greening the Industry Roadmaps; and Mylah Faye Aurora Carino, Regional Director for Caraga of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) presented the potentials and challenges in the region. Presenting the industry situations on potential sectors in Caraga are resource persons from the private and government sectors namely: Rodolfo Mabalot of DTI Zamboanga for rubber; DTI Caraga Regional Director Brielgo Pagaran for palm oil; and Ramon Reyes of Marigold Manufacturing Corporation for processed fish.     
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, 34 roadmaps have been completed and are currently being implemented or for implementation, while the rest are still subject to enhancement/finalization.
The CARAGA regional conference is the 14thindustry roadmap localization event of the BOI. Since 2014, BOI has met with stakeholders in the regions including Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Tagaytay, Pampanga, Zamboanga, Palawan, Naga, La Union for the Ilocos Region, in Tugegarao for the Cagayan Valley Region, and Tacloban City for the Eastern Visayas Region.