The industrial policy team of the Action for Economic Reforms (AER), representatives from state universities including the Naval State University in Biliran and the Northwest Samar State University, the SC Global Coco Products, Inc. in Baybay City, and the National Economic Development Authority participated in the conference on Strategic planning and the road to local industrial development.

Organized by the VSU Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies (ISRDS), the conference was held during the week-long celebration of VSU’s 93rd Anniversary.

The conference tackled the industrial development in the Philippines, and the prospects and potentials for localizing industrial development through paper presentations by AER and VSU. The papers are offshoots from the various engagements done with LGUs in Tolosa, Leyte, and Salcedo, Eastern Samar.

Industrial Development in the Philippines

AER Industrial Policy Team Coordinator Jenina Joy Chavez differentiated localizing industrial policy from simple livelihood provision. Chavez stressed that localizing industrial policy constitutes discovering and developing the talents of the local human resource, generating employment, and enabling industry growth.

There is also a need to recognize the difference of the local industrial policy from the mainstream economic development plan, Chavez said.

“Things are different on the ground,” said Chavez referring to a likely failure of planning at a national level to investigate local dynamics.

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In his paper, Negotiating the maze of local development planning, Paul Anthony Torres, a Masters in public management graduate, enumerated the factors in local governance dynamics that handicap the execution of the local development plan (LDP). These include an understaffed planning unit, a fragmented LDP, and underfunded local development programs, projects, and activities, among other factors.

Torres suggested a few paths to negotiate the maze in local planning including a participatory creation of a strategy paper to complement the Comprehensive Development Plan, and the Comprehensive Land-Use Plan with the help of local state universities and colleges (SUCs) and industries. SUCs, Torres said, can also assist LGUs by doing LDP research.

AER Research Associate Nadine Agustin also suggested the importance of understanding the dynamics in LGUs by identifying what she called as “movers” and “shakers” of local industrial development. These groups or individuals may include the Sangguniang Bayan, local development councils, local chief executives, sectoral or functional committees, SUCs, people’s and non-government organizations, and local industries.

SC Global Manager Emmanuel Licup expressed his high hopes in the involvement of industries in local development planning and wished that such collaboration would be institutionalized.

Prospects and potentials for localizing industrial development

VSU researchers from the College of Management and Economics illustrated how local development can be promoted by harnessing the potentials in tourism and agro-fisheries, among other industries.  

The papers presented the results of various studies done under the project, Localizing industrial development planning for job creation, resiliency and inclusive growth in Tolosa, Leyte, and Salcedo, Eastern Samar, led by ISRDS Professor Dr. Buenaventura Dargantes.

The project team composed of Agribusiness Instructor Joviel Teves, Tourism Instructor Venice Ibañez, and Development Sociology graduate student Ms. Grace Ann Enriquez identified the constraints that slow down local industrial development as well as chartered the prospective growth should the problems be addressed.

For one, Teves said that a tight fiscal situation, weak government investment, and inadequate infrastructure are among the critical development constraints for micro, small, and medium enterprises. Ibañez, on the other hand, said that underdeveloped transport infrastructure, low awareness of the potential tourism products, and a low perceived safety of travelers are dragging the local tourist industry.

The conference is one of the highlights of the VSU 93rd Anniversary conducted in keeping with the theme, Green RDE: Keeping nature and technology in harmony.