CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The National Economic and Development Authority – Regional Office X (NEDA-X) conducted a Stakeholders Consultation for its two Research and Development Projects on 2 December 2021, via video conferencing to present the results of the “Assessment of the Informal Economy in Cagayan de Oro City” and “Competitiveness Analysis of Northern Mindanao as a Potential Location for the Establishment of an Integrated Steel Mill (ISM) in the Philippines.“

The results of the studies were subjected to validation and comments by a panel of reactors from the Local Government Units, National Government Agencies, Academe, Informal Economy Organizations, and Steel Industry Experts and key players, as well as, concerned stakeholders of the Northern Mindanao Regional Development Council (RDC-X) Macro and Development Administration Committee (MacroCom) and Economic Development Committee (EDC).

Dr. Beatriz P. Del Rosario, Project Director of the Asian Social Project Services, Inc., presented the results of the Assessment of the Informal Economy in Cagayan de Oro City. Some of the key findings were: irregular income due to unstable, insecure employment/livelihood; difficulty in registering business due to numerous requirements; low education of informal sector individuals; and considered part of the economy but unrecognized of their economic contributions. Most of the informal sector individuals/groups are engaged in rice/food trading, online selling, retail/sari-sari store operation, transport, carpentry, tailoring, among others.

“Policy areas that we need to focus on are reforms on expanding access to basic social services. Universal healthcare is very important and should be pursued with vigor. Education is equally important; scholarships should be pursued. The 4Ps should be reviewed to precisely target those who need it the most,” said Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno who was among the panel of reactors, alongside representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment-X and the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

Mr. Jhon Louie B. Sabal, Research Team Leader of the Orient Management Consultants and Integrative Competitive Intelligence Asia, Inc., presented the results of the Competitiveness Analysis of Northern Mindanao as a Potential Location for the Establishment of an Integrated Steel Mill in the Philippines. The research study delved into identifying the input requirements of an integrated steel mill and evaluating the trade and production trends of the steel industry in the country and the region. Mr. Sabal shared that Northern Mindanao has the strategic location advantage to host an integrated steel mill due to its geographical attributes coupled with its experiences in hosting steel manufacturing industries and the competitive advantage of the local government units.

“Steel is a vital contributor to the country’s development. It is one of the major industries directly involved in the implementation of our catalytic infrastructure projects, especially those under the Build! Build! Build! Program. The prospects of hosting an ISM in our region would only cement our role as the gateway and industrial core and trade center in the South,” Dir. Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño, Vice-Chairperson of the Regional Development Council-X and NEDA-X Regional Director, said about the project during her opening message.

Both R&D projects are grants received by NEDA-X under the FY 2020 NEDA Research and Development Program Fund to pursue evidence-based policymaking in Northern Mindanao.

All comments and recommendations of the stakeholders will form part of the final Project Reports for endorsement to the RDC-X during its 4th Quarter Full Council Meeting on 10 December 2021.