THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG), led by Competitiveness Bureau Director Lilian Salonga and with assistance from DTI-Northern Mindanao headed by Regional Director Ermedio J. Abang, conducted the third Regional Innovation Roadshow (RIR) in Cagayan de Oro City on November 29, 2022.

With a total of 138 participants, the Cagayan de Oro leg is considered the largest RIR to date, in terms of participation.

The regional innovation ecosystem actors, comprised of stakeholders from the government, industry, academe, civil society organization, and media, joined the RIR workshops.

Also in attendance were representatives from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), Board of Investments (BOI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and local government units representing the provinces, cities, and municipalities in Northern Mindanao.

During the messages of DTI CIG Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba and DTI Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila A. Lantayona, the science, technology, and innovation (STI)-driven strategies were emphasized in driving industries toward inclusive and sustainable industrial transformation as embodied in the Philippine Industrialization Strategy.

This was supported by Salonga and Assistant Director Jo-Dann N. Darong who highlighted that the conduct of various DTI CIG initiatives such as the RIR is anchored to whole-of-community, whole-of-government, and whole-of-society approaches to the STI-driven Philippine Industrialization Strategy.

Abang, meanwhile, recognized RIR as a platform that initiates regional dialogues to develop more innovations and to implement other joint collaborative efforts to assist the region towards its industrialization.

Through the RIR-Cagayan de Oro, Northern Mindanao’s innovation stakeholders were able to discuss their existing innovation mechanisms and infrastructures, point out their current challenges, and brainstorm strategies on how they can capture opportunities including, but not limited to, the availability of capacity-building offerings in product development and entrepreneurship, implementation of initiatives to develop market linkages and promote regulatory certification programs, and the existence of technical experts and provision of technical assistance.

In addition to the opportunities identified by the RIR-Cagayan de Oro participants, the discussions emphasized the value of research and development and the need to augment efforts in ensuring the availability of funds and other resources.

Although innovation infrastructures are made available in the region, participants acknowledged the need to upgrade laboratories and upscale production machineries.

The participants also manifested that the region’s innovation implementers need guidance, additional mechanisms, and opportunities to be exposed and to develop competencies such as (1) Networking and Collaboration; (2) Communication; (3) Innovation and Entrepreneurship; (4) Organizational Management; and (5) Operations.

The RIR is conducted under the Rural Agro-Enterprise Partnership for Inclusive Development (Rapid) Growth Competitiveness and Innovation Project spearheaded by the DTI and the Regional Inclusive Innovation Center (RIIC) Program, a DTI-DOST initiative. (PR)