DOST's Eight Deliverables in Preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community

Manila Bulletin, February 23, 2014 | Go to article overview

DOST's Eight Deliverables in Preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community


At the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2015, business life as we know it will never be the same again. From that day forward, our corner of the world will be known as the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC, the largest multi-nation economic bloc in the world. The AEC will pack the strength of 610 million consumers, a hundred million more than the European Union. And just like the EU, products, services and talent will be allowed unrestricted access from one ASEAN member state to the other. The AEC will be the best thing to happen to manufacturers who are regionally competitive and a nightmare to those unprepared. For the efficient, they get the opportunity to conquer new markets and slug it out with their regional counterparts on equal footing. Those unable to compete will be eaten alive in this laissez-faire environment. In the end, only the cost-efficient and quality-savvy will thrive. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the steps taken by government to prepare for the AEC. In a nutshell, our preparations consist of seminars, corporate coaching (on how to cope in an open market system) and the implementation of the IDP or Industry Development Programs. For those unaware, the IDP is a comprehensive framework that contains the development roadmaps of 30 key industries. All these are being spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry. Behind the scenes, however, another movement is going on. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has been working on overdrive to provide local companies with a science-based foundation in which to build their competitiveness. The DOST has been in the thick of research to support industries with new technologies, inventions and innovations to give them the edge they need. Earlier this month, the various research and development councils under the DOST held a symbolic pledging ceremony to deliver new technologies to four sectors as they prepare for the AEC: Industry, Agriculture, Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM). On the administrative and social aspects, the DOST has also pledged to deliver new technologies to further improve Government Services, Healthcare, Human Resources Development and preparations for Weather and Geological Hazards. Collectively, these deliverables are called The Eight DOST Outcomes, and this will be the legacy of the DOST under this administration. If Secretary Mario Montejo has his way, our economy will be driven by science, technology and innovation. This, after all, is the sole means by which we can transform ourselves from a developing nation to a fully industrialized economy. Science And Technology For Industry Electronics is by far the countrys biggest dollar earner. Last year, the industry generated $23 billion in export earnings despite softening demand in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. The Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI), the industrys umbrella organization, sees steady growth such that by the year 2030, revenues should top $112 billion. For years, the DOST has been the quiet force behind the electronics industry. Not only has DOST helped the industry achieve its revenue targets, it is also hastening its climb in the value chain. As many of us are painfully aware, local content in Philippine-made electronics is just 10 percent at best, given that labor is the countrys solitary input. DOST wants to bring this up to 40 percent in 15 years by having more of its parts, components and processes produced locally. Last June, the DOST unveiled the Advanced Devise and Material Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL) to enable our electronic manufacturers to conduct thermal analysis, failure analysis and advanced materials characterization. These are tests to detect defects and validate reliability. With ADMATEL, our electronics makers can do their product testing right here, instead of having it done in Japan or Singapore. This year, the DOST is set to roll out two additional testing laboratories, the Philippine Electronic Product Development Center, and the Philippine Integrated Circuit Design Center. …

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