Press Release
August 17, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the electronics sector to remain competitive by moving from assembly and packaging into higher-value processes.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, made the statement after Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI) revised its 2011 export growth targets to negative 5 percent.

SEIPI originally aimed for 8 percent to 12 percent growth, but reduced its projections after the disasters in Japan, as well as problems in the United States and Europe, dampened performance in the first half of the year.

"Fluctuations in the global market and increasing competition from our neighbors like Vietnam and China are affecting the growth prospects of our electronics sector. It is high time that we move into more complex processes like integrated circuit and system design as fast as we can," said Angara.

In May 2011, electronic products comprised 45 percent of the country's total exports. For the same period, revenues amounted to US$1.8 billion, down by 26 percent compared to the US$ 2.5 billion posted in May 2010.

Trade secretary Gregory Domingo remained optimistic, telling the media that the electronics and semiconductor sector generally performs better in the second half of the year.

"Hopefully, electronics exports will indeed rebound and normalize. But our aim should be to capture a larger share of the global market, which we will be able to do if all stakeholders coordinate and collaborate on boosting our engineering and design capabilities," said Angara.

He noted that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has added P500 million to the budget of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to address the widening job- skills gap in the country.

Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that the DBM, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will work closely with the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and SEIPI to craft courses and curricula that will equip students with the skills needed by industry.

"There is much promise for such collaborations to grow into full-fledged Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in S&T. The potential of these partnerships will be fully realized if they touch on enhancing the skills needed for entering into markets of high-value electronics," said Angara, also the chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

Angara noted that COMSTE has been pushing for the establishment of the Industrial Research and Development Institute (IRDI), envisioned to be an industry-led PPP that will create the next generation of high value electronics through strategically focused R&D. COMSTE has also been active in Team Philippines, an integrated circuit design training initiative led by BiTMICRO, the company responsible for the "Rizal" microprocessor.

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