Press Release
November 25, 2010


Seoul, South Korea - Senator Edgardo J. Angara today emphasized the need to innovate for economic sustainability through the Multi-Industry Cluster (MIC) program, a Korean cooperation initiative with the Philippines that will promote regional innovation by leveraging regions' existing competitive strengths.

"The primary lesson of MICs is that the strength of a national economy is reflected by the strength of its regional economies. In a developing economy like Philippines, it is not enough that progress is concentrated on the National Capital Region. We need to accelerate development to the countryside as well. This can be expanded to become a wider program of sustainable development of our natural resources," he explained.

Angara and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri flew to Korea on Wednesday, a day after North Korea's attack on the South.

The dynamic South Korean economy, which is miles ahead of its impoverished neighbor in the North, has had tremendous success with MICs, leading to productive synergism between agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and knowledge-based industries.

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

"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 collectively pursue it," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

He added, "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."

Currently, Philippines is the top 6 of fish producing country and 9th globally in terms of aquaculture production and the 3rd largest producer of seaweeds. With MIC to take place in Palawan, Bukidnon and most part of Northeast Luzon , the country will open up to exportation of high value products and commodities . This will provide a catalyst for agro-forestry and industrial development which can ensure food security in the Philippines, Korea and for all neighboring countries.

"MIC can stimulate the growth of a cluster of agriculture and food-processing industries employing clean technologies. In my home province Aurora, we have setup within the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) a Mariculture Park that promotes fish cage farming to culture milkfish and other economically viable species such as grouper, siganids, and snapper, thereby sustaining our seas' productivity and arresting resource depletion," said Angara.

Angara said the Philippines is a prime spot for investment in mariculture and fisheries because it has large pockets of production and it is strategically located at the crossroads of international export lanes.

"I hope that this is just the starting point of a long and fruitful cooperation between Korea and the Philippines towards our common goal of national development and growth," said Angara.

Recently, the Senate awarded a resolution commending the efforts of the former Korean Ambassador to the Philippines, Ambassador Choi, Joong-kyung who has originated this groundbreaking initiative.

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