MIC program of Phl and Korea are needed for Phl economic sustainability
By Jason de Asis

SEOUL, South Korea, November 29, 2010–Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology emphasized the need to innovate for economic sustainability through the Multi-Industry Cluster (MIC) program, a Korean cooperation initiative in the country that will promote regional innovation by leveraging regions’ existing competitive strengths.

Angara said in the Korea-Philippines MIC development Cooperation Forum that the primary lesson of it is the strength of a national economy which is reflected by the strength of their regional economies, explaining that in a developing economy like Philippines, it is not enough that progress is concentrated on the National Capital Region but also there is a need to accelerate development in the countryside and can be expanded to become a wider program of sustainable development of natural resources.

A day after North Korea's attack on the South, Angara and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri flew to Korea where the dynamic South Korean economy is miles ahead of its impoverished neighbor in the North and has had tremendous success with MICs, leading to productive synergism between agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and knowledge-based industries.

MICs are expected in the Philippines to lead for the increased of farm production, along with the emergence of manufacturing sectors, increased employment and a more robust rural economy.

Angara said that the industry clusters can produce innovation and technological breakthroughs through training and R&D projects, which may be costly for one company but more manageable if more companies and institutions collectively pursue it, adding that through easier access to shared ideas and skills, clusters can produce common benefits that no single company can expect to capture by itself. This makes the common benefit larger than the private costs.

“Aurora is one of the primary sites for MIC in the Philippines,” Angara said that the province is a rich agro-industrial home and will also be implemented in the provinces of Palawan, Bukidnon and most part of Northeast Luzon, opening up the country to export of high value products and commodities.

MIC will provide a catalyst for agro-forestry and industrial development which can ensure food security in the Philippines, Korea and for all neighboring countries and can stimulate the growth of a cluster of agriculture and food-processing industries employing clean technologies.

Angara cited his home province in Aurora explaining that they setup within the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) a marine culture Park that will promote fish cage farming to culture milkfish and other economically viable species such as grouper, siganids, and snapper, thereby sustaining the seas’ productivity and arresting resource depletion.

He added that Aurora is a strategic location in the eastern coast of the Philippines which is facing the Pacific and its access to Manila and the other ports of Luzon makes it an ideal point for trans-Pacific trade and commerce pointing out that it is blessed with very rich agriculture and fisheries resources. Aurora province is strategically located at the crossroads of international export lanes and the prime spot for mariculture investment because it has large pockets of production.

The Senator is hoping that this is the starting point of a long and fruitful cooperation between Korea and the Philippines towards their common goal of national development and growth.

The Senate awarded recently a resolution commending the efforts of the former Korean Ambassador to the Philippines - now the Senior Economic Adviser of Korea - Choi, Joong-Kyung who has pioneered the said groundbreaking initiative. (Jason de Asis)