THE Philippines is developing its manufacturing industry to encourage more investments, create more jobs, and boost the economy. An integrated roadmap covering 30 industries is being readied to strengthen the sector and address impediments that hinder its growth.

The economic outlook is rosy amid the projected recovery of manufacturing by the second half of 2012. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the manufacturing industry's robust growth was a major contributor to the 6.4 percent Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2012. The Department of Trade and Industry noted, "the Philippines is back into that sweet spot in terms of competitive cost of labor, production and can compete regionally but just need to retool and provide support for research and development so they can move on in the production of competitive and quality products."

The German financial giant Deutsche Bank, in its report, "Manufacturing: A New Growth Driver," said the Philippines is on the brink of a manufacturing "renaissance" - "Breadth of industries is impressive; makers of everything from tires, chemicals, capacitors, printers, toys, lenses, boats, ignition wire harnesses, and airline galleys are expanding capacity." The Asian Development Bank (ADB) sees the country's manufacturing sector propelling the economy to higher and inclusive growth, which means more jobs and higher incomes for Filipinos. The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PDIS) cited the need to work on revitalizing the manufacturing industry to make growth more inclusive.

Based on the National Statistics Office labor force survey for 2012, the manufacturing sector employed 8.1 percent of the 37,394 million employed Filipinos. Data from the National Statistical Coordination Board showed that the top subsectors that contribute to manufacturing growth are food manufactures, furniture and fixtures, wearing apparel, communication equipment and apparatus, wood and wood products, footwear, and non-metallic mineral products.

We wish Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan, National Statistical Coordination Board Secretary General Dr. Jose Ramon G. Albert, National Statistics Office Administrator Carmelita N. Ericta, and Philippine Institute for Development Studies President Dr. Josef T. Yap, all the best and success in their cooperation to promote the manufacturing sector as key growth promoter. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!