Despite rising tensions in the Korean peninsula, South Korea reaffirmed its commitment to funding aid programs in the Philippines by conducting the Korea-Philippines Development Cooperation Forum on the Multi-Industry Cluster (MIC) project in Seoul on November 25, 2010.
The MIC is an investment program that aims to promote agro-industrial development by conducting feasibility studies for projects to be funded through grants, loans or private sector investments. Among the issues discussed during the said forum was Korea’s experience and strategies for the establishment of Agro-industry clusters in the Philippines.
Choi Joong Kyung, Senior Secretary to the President for Economic Affairs and former Ambassador to the Philippines, said the MIC can help spur Korean investments in the Philippines by taking advantage of the complementation between the two countries. “The MIC can serve as a new cooperation model for stable food supply and in finding new sources of economic growth based on the complementary structures of the two economies. It will help increase the Philippines’agricultural productivity and deepen the industrial structure of the Philippine economy,” Choi said.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) committed that the MIC Development Plan, Feasibility Study and Concept Plan would be ready for presentation to Philippine government by January 2011.
The MIC, which supports projects focusing on increasing productivity,infrastructure development and establishment of manufacturing industries, was conceptualized during Choi’s 20-month stint in the country as a way of sharing Korean technology to the Philippines. The MIC will be implemented in key provinces including Isabela, Quirino and Misamis Oriental.
Deputy Director-General Rolando G. Tungpalan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said that the establishment of the MIC in the country supports the emerging priorities of the upcoming Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP). Tungpalan said that the MIC strategies would support the attainment of medium-term targets, particularly in modernizing agriculture and fisheries and in developing a comprehensive industry and services sector.
More than 230 officials of both governments, representatives of the private sector and the academe participated in the said Forum. The Philippine delegation was led by Senators Edgardo Angara and Miguel Zubiri.