The “Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016” has set three (3) medium-term goals in order to achieve its vision of globally-competitive and innovative industry and services sector contributing to inclusive growth and employment generation: 1) Improved Business Environment, 2) Increased Productivity and Efficiency, and 3) Enhanced Consumer Welfare. In this context, the Plan emphasized to “enhance firm-level support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises” and to “expand industry cluster development” as the strategies to meet above mentioned medium-term goals especially on increased productivity and efficiency.
DTI is taking a proactive role in adopting the Industry Cluster Approach in supporting the development of the Micro, Small and Medium enterprises in the countryside. It will continue to pursue an industry cluster program to foster inter-enterprise linkages among MSMEs and strengthen collaborative networks with different stakeholders parallel to the PDP 2011-2016 and other supplementary policy instruments such as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Plan for 2011-2016 and the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) for 2011-2013.
The Government of Japan (GOJ) has assisted and will continue to assist the Republic of the Philippines in the context of “inclusive development” based on the latest “Japan’s Country Assistance Program for Philippines 2008.” Under this policy, JICA provided technical assistance and funding support in the implementation of the “Davao Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (DICCEP)” from 2007 to 2010 with DTI as lead agency in cooperation with the LGUs, other national agencies, the academe and industry associations. DICCEP was highly evaluated as one of the best practices of industry cluster enhancement activities in the Philippines bagging a Good Practice Award from NEDA in 2010. The said award is based on the criteria which includes the achievement of results, innovativeness, replicability, sustainability and social acceptability. DICCEP bested other ten (10) foreign-assisted projects short-listed by the Screening Committee. The Davao experience showed the critical role of capability building initiative such as the JICA-assisted DICCEP project for the cluster stakeholders in pursuing the cluster strategy. It facilitated the cluster activation and implementation of few but high impact projects.
The DICCEP experience triggered the interest of DTI to embark into its replication nationwide, thus the National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (NICCEP) was proposed to JICA.
Based on the above mentioned background, DTI requested JICA to implement the succeeding and evolving project of DICCEP in 2009 to expand the success of DICCEP to whole country, and also to enhance the capacities of DTI to sustainably implement industry cluster approach through continuous “upgrade” and “expansion” of said developmental approach.
In response to the request of DTI, JICA implemented Preparatory Survey in 2010 and Supplemental Survey in 2011, that provide the basis of the series of discussions between DTI and JICA, both side agreed to implement the proposed Project, entitled the National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (NICCEP).
The project has been officially approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Japan last 28 October 2011. The Record of Discussions was signed by Secretary Gregory Domingo of the Department of Trade and Industry and Mr. Takahiro Sasaki, JICA Chief Representative on 22 November 2011.