Gov’t urged to support 5 strongest industries in Cebu
THE government must support the five strongest industries in Cebu to make it more competitive especially with the upcoming economic integration of the 10-member countries of the Asean.
These industries are shipbuilding, agricultural products especially the mango industry, business process outsourcing, the human capital that includes the academe, and tourism, said Ronald Mendoza, executive director of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center, in an interview last Thursday.
Mendoza said that the government can help by putting in place more policies that will help companies and businessmen in these industries to become more competitive, giving them more chances to seize opportunities when the integration happens.
“There are two things that they (government) can do, which is to create policies that will support and promote these industries with strongest potentials like the five I named for Cebu. They can also create policies that will protect those that still need protection until such time that these weaker industries become competitive,” Mendoza said.
He said that Cebu is lucky to have all these strong industries and that local businessmen should not fear the integration but look at it as an opportunity opening up for them.
“We see all these challenges that they face especially the SMEs (small and medium enterprises), but really we face the same challenges as our neighbors like Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. It’s just a matter really of exploring opportunities and to know what’s coming,” he said.
A more active dialogue between the public and private sector is also a key to ensuring the Filipino businessmen seize more opportunities in the integration.
“It’s the private sector who knows what they need so they should lobby to their government what they need protection from and to make them competitive. How should government provide support and at the same time encourage our entrepreneur to compete?” he said.
At present, Mendoza said, that the government’s thrust is to build a strong brand for the country through the “Matuwid na Daan” campaign which is slowly gaining momentum with the country’s improvement in credit ratings and increased interest from the global investor community.
“The government now believes that it will take a positive branding for the country to also help the entrepreneurs and also some companies like EON founded by its chief executive officer Junie Del Mundo in 1998 that has created a positive branding for the country through the services they provide to many global companies now,” he said.
Del Mundo presently serves as a consultant to the administration lending his expertise in creating a positive brand for the country, its people and its product.
ASSISTANCE TO SMEs
Also now though initiatives by the Department of Trade and Industry, small and medium enterprises are now given assistance through technologies to help them improve processes as well as products including packaging to help them achieve competitiveness and get ready for the integration.
Mendoza reiterated his call for support to these five industries.
“Shipbuilding for example is a new industry that has a really huge potential with the country being archipelagic and you have that here in Cebu that’s even producing ships for other countries. Another is your mango industry here which is very strong. Long before we started seeing buko juice in our grocery shops and exporting them, your mangoes were already known globally,” he said.
Cebu also being a hub for education with many large universities present and producing a lot of graduates every year which supply the workforce to major industries like the outsourcing sector and tourism are also high potential industries in Cebu.
“Cebu has the best combination of high potential industries and we think that growth will be coming from the south. Industries here are already very competitive. Imagine if we have five more Cebus in the country, so the goal is really to duplicate the best practices that has been done here just like the buko juice now being developed and promoted to be successful like your mango products,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.