BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) recently identified ten priority areas of investment that will greatly contribute in spurring economic development regionwide and make the region as one of the potential economic growth areas north of Manila.
Milagros Rimando, vice chairperson of the RDC-CAR and regional director of the Cordillera office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-CAR), said the priority investment areas were identified considering six criteria, namely, the capacity of these investment areas to generate employment, capacity to create forward and backward linkages among industries, extent of its geographic coverage, its use of the region’s natural comparative advantages, its effect on the environment and whether these investment areas are pioneering enabling to other industries.
The ten priority areas of investment in the region as contained under the Cordillera Investment Priorities Plan 2015-2016 are medical service facilities, business process outsourcing, transport facilities, engineered bamboo, light green manufacturing, semi-conductors, metal engineering, coffee production and processing, renewable or alternative sources of energy and eco-cultural tourism.
In order to boost the influx of potential investors for the said priority investment areas, Rimando pointed out among the strategies that will be implemented by the concerned agencies and local governments include investment missions, investment assistance and facilitation, image building and use of promotional collaterals and investment capability-building.
The RDC-CAR official underscored the identified investment strategies can be undertaken by the major agencies, particularly the Board of Investments (BOI), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Regional Development Council and local government units.
It can be recalled the RDC-CAR formulated the Investment Priorities Plan 201502916 as part of its function to accelerate socio-economic development in the region and in particular to ‘promote and direct the inflow and allocation of private investments to support regional development objectives, policies and strategies.’
The IPP provides a list of preferred investment areas for both private and public sectors in the region and the same includes priority investment areas and specific investment areas by sector.
Rimando explained the formulation of IPP was initiated by the RDC-CAR economic development committee and was subjected to a series of workshops and consultations with various stakeholders through the other RDC sectorial development committees until it was approved by the full council.
The RDC-CAR also revealed that there are a number of public private partnership projects that are enrolled in the regional development investment program for the next three years which the private sector can enter into as a partner.
Among the identified major PPP projects are hydroelectric power projects, development of the Baguio Athletic oval, development and prioritization of abattoir, information technology backbone infrastructure, multi-level parking, north-bound bus terminal in Baguio City, socialized housing and solid waste management for the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT).
On the other hand, the RDC-CAR also identified the preferred areas of investments such as agriculture and fisheries, agri-processing, agriculture and support services, economic zones and technology parks, education and sports facilities, handicrafts, housing and retirement homes, knowledge-based industries, light green manufacturing and other exporting industries, livestock and poultry, health-related services and wellness services, mineral production, tourism-oriented and related services, transportation and related services and facilities, water and energy development and PPP projects.
By Dexter A. See