The Department of Trade and Industry’s Competitiveness and Innovation Group (DTI-CIG) together with DTI-Region 11 piloted the first Regional Innovation Roadshow (RIR) under the Rural Agro-enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development (RAPID) and Growth Project last September 21-22, 2022, in Sotogrande Hotel, Davao City. Hinged on the penta-helix model of the Davao Region, the event gathered more than seventy (70) innovation leaders and enablers from government agencies, private sectors, academic institutions, media, and civil society organizations (CSO) from Region XI.
Led by Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba, the two-day stakeholder dialogue bannered vision and experts talks from the regional innovation champions and experts from the DTI, University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP Mindanao), the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), and RTI International in pursuit of achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial transformation and development in the Philippines.
Day 1 of the Regional Innovation Roadshow was officially opened by Undersecretary for Regional Operations Group (ROG) Blesila A. Lantayona and RAPID Growth Project Director and DTI 11 Regional Director Maria Belenda Q. Ambi, emphasizing the essence of collaboration among stakeholders to address industry challenges in the region. Moreover, Competitiveness Bureau (CB) Director Lilian G. Salonga presented the intent and design of the RIR. The RIR has six major component activities such as vision talks, expert talks, innovation challenges, synthesis sessions, action agenda settings, and site visits.
Undersecretary Aldaba laid out the Philippine Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) driven industrialization strategy to set the framework. Notably, she highlighted that the Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (RIIC) would be an excellent avenue for channeling industrial development. Looking into the regional lens, Assistant Regional Director Delia M. Ayano shared the status and prospects of Davao Region’s priority commodities such as cacao, coffee, and coconut while emphasizing the perennial concerns and challenges due to low quality of seedlings, lack of farm input support, difficulty in acquiring quality and food safety certifications, lack of working capital, among others. Dr.Larry N. Digal of the UP Mindanao presented his study on the current status, challenges, strategies and recommendations to push forth the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies in region XI. The presentation was derived from the Innovation Assessment Studies for the four RAPID priority commodities: cacao, coffee, coconut, ad processed fruits and nuts.
During the Expert Talks, the country’s formidable scientists shared on-the-ground experiences to describe the current innovation landscape. This portion is envisaged to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the participants’ knowledge of creation and co-creation, technology utilization, commercialization, and intellectual property, among others.
Dr. Alvin B. Culaba of NAST discussed the reinvention of STE innovation ecosystem to accelerate regional development and stressed the critical role of local government units (LGU) in innovation policy implementation. Another NAST scientist, Dr. Gonzalo C. Serafica, contributed to the conversation as he urged the community to engage in technology utilization and commercialization. He further highlighted that this will potentially create an impact to scale production and distribution and complete product development.
Dr. Richard S. Abendan of RTI International led the synthesis sessions and workshops with Assistant Director Jo-Dann N. Darong. The participants were presented with data and insights from past and present studies and tackled the three workshop innovation challenges on value capture, value creation, and value delivery. After the first workshop, the participants identified issues and concerns aptly categorize into four (4) needs pillars on research and development, infrastructure, supply chain, and skills and capability.
Day 2 focused on gathering actionable insights which are aligned with the STI-driven industrialization strategy and setting a regional action agenda. Lastly, DTI Davao del Norte Provincial Director and RAPID Growth Deputy Project Director Romeo L. Castañaga capped off the event with three key action points for the penta-helix collaborators in support of regional industrialization: increasing appreciation for Industry 4.0 (I4.0), expanding horizons for trade and investment, and cultivating a robust innovation ecosystem.
Aside from the various talks and workshops, site visits were also conducted to the following partner academic institutions and MSME beneficiaries: University of Southeastern Philippines, Ateneo de Davao University, UP Mindanao, Rosario’s Delicacies, Malagos Chocolate Factory, and Belviz Farm.
The next RIR team is scheduled in Koronadal City, South Cotabato and Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental in October and December 2022, respectively. Under the RAPID Growth Project and RIIC programs, inclusive and sustainable industrial transformation and development in Mindanao are further pushed to improve innovation readiness and adoption, productivity outcomes, and market competitiveness among micro, small, medium, and large enterprises.