ACCORDING to the Department of Science and Technology regional director Rowen Gelonga, Innovate Iloilo Roadmap is currently in its “consultation phase.”
The meetings are conducted through small groups. These meetings are carried out with the goal to create an overall strategic vision.
When finished, the new roadmap will allow different industries, sectors and stakeholders in Iloilo to coordinate their efforts in order to develop results.
“May common direction na siya,” Gelonga said, explaining what the new Roadmap will do once finished. “So subong may mga individual kami nga projects, but with the roadmap, we can claim nga synergistic na ang amon nga operation kay makita ko na kung ano ang ginahimo sang iban, like DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) for example, kag kita man nila ang ginahimo namon. May big picture na.”
According to Gelonga, the ultimate goal of the roadmap is to make Iloilo “a premier innovation hub in the Philippines by 2030.” In practical terms, however, it means creating internationally recognized research institutions, a local pharmaceutical industry, additional research facilities, shipbuilding capabilities as well as value-adding industries. Gelonga also talked about encouraging the production of local materials to feed these new and upcoming industries.
“We encourage local farmers to plant our raw materials. We can make use of agricultural waste like pineapple leaves; even abaca. We can move towards a higher level value of abaca. Imagine if we can utilize them for higher value products,” Gelonga said.
Other objectives include improved disaster management, additional communication equipment, as well as increasing partnership with local and international networks. However, Gelonga states that of all the pillars of the roadmap, he considers leadership to be the most important factor.
“What we consider to be the most crucial pillar for Innovate Iloilo is ang Visionary Leadership and I am very confident that with the current stewardship of Iloilo City and Iloilo Province, ga-coincide ang amon networks to use innovation to develop partners in Iloilo City,” Gelonga said, and cites the Iloilo Innovation Council as a good example of Visionary Leadership.
When asked when the roadmap will be finished, he estimated it to be completed early next year. “Definitely by the first quarter of 2020 matapos na siya. Actually ang iban nga projects are ongoing, and ang kanya-kanya nga projects,” Gelonga said.
He added that when the roadmap is finished, many of the projects will be integrated and synergized to meet the wider overall strategy of turning Iloilo into an innovation hub./PN