The Action for Economic Reforms (AER), in partnership with the Visayas State University (VSU), and the National and Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) VIII, conducted the Conference and Strategy Meeting on October 12 to 13, 2018 at the Felipina Hall, NEDA VIII Building, Palo, Leyte and Hotel Alejandro, Tacloban City, respectively, with participants from both the private higher education institutions and state universities and colleges (SUCs), local government units, national government agencies and the private sector. The 2-day activity was funded by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), which aimed to gather the prime movers of Research, Development and Extension in Eastern Visayas, and link them with key policy makers in local governments.

NEDA VIII Regional Director and Regional Development Council (RDC) VIII Vice-Chairperson, Atty. Bonifacio G. Uy, welcomed the Conference participants and thanked AER and its partner institutions for spearheading the activity and for choosing Eastern Visayas as venue. According to him, the undertaking was important and highly relevant in the stakeholders’ joint efforts to promote a high and sustained economic growth in Region VIII.

During the first day of the Conference, the following topics were presented, among others, :1) Coordination Imperative of Industrial Policy: Government-Industry- Education Linkages and the Critical Role of Innovation in Industrial Development; 2) Gender and Development Challenge to Innovation and Action; 3) Challenge of Commercializing Ideas: The Case of the Biofuel Stove; 4) Research and Development for National Development: The Experience of the Engineering Research and Development for Technology; 5) Initiatives for Sustainable Energy Promotion: Syllabus, Renewable Energy Center. Representatives of the industry sector, both from the private and government sectors had the chance of interacting with the presenters during the panel discussions.

The Conference was highlighted with the presentation of the Statements of Commitment of the SUCs and LGUs, such as, expanding the research, development and extension agenda, strengthening ties, and reaching out to and work with the Regional Development Council VIII and respective LGUs in pushing forward the agenda on promoting sustainable energy and industrial policy in the region.

Meanwhile, the Strategy Meeting on the second day focused on coming up with possible solutions that will address related issues and challenges in attaining sustainable energy and industrial policy, including creation of an Ad Hoc Technical Working Group for Sustainable Energy and Industrial Policy, composed of members from the SUCs in Eastern Visayas, University of the Philippines College of Engineering, LGUs, and AER.

During the meeting, the group also identified the delegates to the Renewable Energy Congress scheduled on October 25-26, and the plans for the succeeding meetings on October 24 and 27, 2018.

Article by Meliza Y. Bacolbas, DRD, NEDA VIII