President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Korean President Lee Myung-Bak witness the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Agricultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation during signing ceremonies Saturday (May 30) at the Blue House in Seoul. The MOU was signed by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap (left) on behalf of the Philippine government, and Korean Rural Development Administration Minister Kim Jae-Soo (right).
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Korean President Lee Myung-Bak witness the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Agricultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation during signing ceremonies Saturday (May 30) at the Blue House in Seoul. The MOU was signed by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap (left) on behalf of the Philippine government, and Korean Rural Development Administration Minister Kim Jae-Soo (right).

Manila and Seoul are undertaking a feasibility study on a proposed program initiated by Korea that aims to generate investments in Philippine agriculture and other sectors in the country through a multi-industry cluster approach.

Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said this document aims to launch a feasibility study for the application concept of the MIC candidate areas, which include among others provinces in Northern Mindanao such as Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. Other provinces being studied include Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Bohol.

The Multi-Industry Cluster Program (MIC) “is envisioned to serve as a catalyst for the establishment of major industries through high-level cooperation between major actors in the agriculture sector.” Puyat said.

Among the benefits that MIC participants can reap from this program, said Puyat, are increased agricultural productivity, the emergence of a manufacturing sector in the areas covered, a stronger financial system and more jobs.

“The MIC aims to create synergy among major industries like manufacturing and services to drive economic growth,” she said. “It also seeks to address the underdeveloped sectors in the country by putting up investments in areas such as agriculture, labor, and manufacturing.”

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on this MIC feasibility study was signed by Secretary Alberto Romulo of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on behalf of the Philippines, and Minister Yu Myung-hwan of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) during the official visit of President Arroyo to the Republic of Korea last May 30-31.

Puyat said that this feasibility study was proposed by Korean Ambassador Choi Joong-Kyung during the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines (RP) and Korea at the Blue House last January 2009.

In Korea, the MIC led to “productive synergism between the agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing and knowledge-based industries,” she said. “It is hoped that the same effect could be achieved by the adoption of the MIC in the Philippines .”

Besides the DA, the other agencies involved under the proposed MIC are Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Energy (DOE), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Board of Investments (BOI); National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA); and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

The Records of Discussion regarding the MIC was signed last May 12 by Puyat, Ambassador Choi, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Resident Representative Kim Win; and Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corporation (PADCC) president Marriz Agbon.

Puyat said the DA has formally submitted its request and proposal to KOICA for a grant to finance the feasibility study for the MIC.

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