KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG) together with DTI-Region 12 organized a Regional Innovation Roadshow (RIR) on 24-26 October 2022 to further promote the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI)-based Philippine Industrialization Strategy among the regions.
Attended by eighty (80) representatives from the government, academe, and industry, the three-day event in Koronadal City was the second among the series of Regional Innovation Roadshows (RIR) to be conducted under the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development (RAPID) Growth Competitiveness and Innovation Project which aimed to assist the regions in their journey to be more competitive and innovative.
In her speech, DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG) Undersecretary Blesila A. Lantayona graced the event by highlighting that this initiative is strategically aligned with the Department’s new industrialization agenda especially in developing innovative MSMEs and entrepreneurial startups.
“Collaboration and cooperation are essential in our journey. Thus, the RAPID Growth Competitiveness and Innovation Project shall progress with the Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (RIIC). In the case of Region 12, we hope this roadshow shall serve as the starting point in your journey to establish your own collaborative platform. With the helping hand of the existing RIICs as well as our experts here, rest assured that you will not be doing this alone as you are surrounded by experienced and knowledgeable people,” Undersecretary Lantayona added.
Meanwhile, Competitiveness Bureau (CB) Director Lilian G. Salonga emphasized that the RIR is only one of the DTI’s efforts to achieve the country’s vision of a more competitive and innovative country. She explained that the roadshow banners collaboration as the key to successful implementation of innovation programs. “We put great emphasis on the importance of collaboration among stakeholders in taking big steps toward industrialization. Because no one will be left behind.” Director Salonga said.
Underscoring the value of regional collaboration in advancing innovation, the RIR was joined by Dr. Gonzalo C. Serafica and Dr. Alvin B. Culaba from the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), and Dr. Napoleon K. Juanillo, Jr. from The Institutes for Research, Innovation, and Scholarships (IRIS). These experts have provided their inputs and advices to the current landscape and initiatives of Region 12.
Their expert advices were complemented by testimonials from the RIICs in Regions 6, 8, 9 and 10 during the RIIC Festival segment. Stories from the other RIICs inspired Region 12 to already jumpstart their own collaborative platform. Thus, various questions from participants from the government, academe, and industry were answered during the panel discussion involving Dr. Richard S. Abendan from the RTI International, Chief Arriel N. Nengasca and Senior Trade-Industry Development Specialist Joffreylle Marie O. Plasabas from DTI-Region 11, Information Officer Joven Soluta Quiriones from DTI-Region 12, and Vanessa Claire Tero Plena from the local government unit of General Santos City. The discussion was moderated by CB Assistant Director Jo-Dann N. Darong and RIIC Convergence Manager Cindy Love E. Falcutila.
Aside from the Vision Talks, Expert Talks, and Knowledge Sharing talks, the CB team also conducted site visits among partner MSMEs, large food corporations, and partner academe. The visits were done during the first and third day of the RIR.
During the first set of visits, the CB team went to Mindanao State University (MSU) – General Santos City to discuss their upcoming STI-based programs and proposals. After which, the team was welcomed by Don Ricardo in one his chocolate shops and in his farmland.
On the third day of the RIR, two MSMEs, one large corporation, and one partner academe were visited. PMTZ Care Marketing and Kablon Farms proudly presented their product lines and processes, and shared the challenges they face in elevating their coffee products. Likewise, the Seabest Coporation provided an overview of their company, their market niches, and constraints experienced in the supply chain. Meanwhile, the discussion at the Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU) emphasized on their challenges and recommendations on how DTI can further assist them.