PH, Malaysia to explore bilateral trade opportunities for Halal products

MAKATI CITY—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez discussed more trade opportunities for Halal products with Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman Muhamad during the ambassador’s courtesy call on 20 October 2020. The discussion on trade opportunities was aimed at supporting both countries’ economic recovery efforts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Barter agreements in the south of Mindanao—specifically the Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi (BaSulTa) island provinces—were also brought up in conjunction with Malaysia’s plans to introduce an online barter system. Sec. Lopez also expressed his appreciation to the envoy for Malaysia’s successful leadership as this year’s chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

From left to right: Malaysian Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Rizany Irwan Muhamad Mazlan, Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman Muhamad, and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.  


 DTI, CHED sign MOU in promoting world-class HEIs

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the promotion of performance excellence in higher education institutions (HEIs) through the alignment of the Philippine Quality Award (PQA) Program and the Institutional Sustainability Assessment (ISA).

Recognizing it as a significant milestone in the education system, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez highlighted how aligning the internationally comparable framework of PQA and CHED’s quality assurance program to audit HEI quality systems will further promote a culture of quality and competitiveness among Filipinos and organizations in the country especially in the midst of the pandemic.

“The PQA Program is an integrated approach for performance management that sets the standard of excellence to help our organizations achieve world-class performance. Hence, this partnership between DTI and CHED will help in shaping our Filipino youth to become empowered and economically productive citizen of our country. We not only want to create a mindset of quality in every Filipino, we want to turn the Philippines into a worldwide brand that benchmarks quality and excellence,” Sec. Lopez said.

The DTI Secretary also emphasized that the partnership of the two agencies will increase the capabilities of the country and the university-educated workforce to become globally competitive and respond to the challenges and opportunities in the digital and inter-connected new economy.

Meanwhile, CHED Chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III encouraged HEIs to develop and strengthen their internal quality assurance systems as this will prepare their programs to become adaptable to new challenges in the future. By giving them incentives, Chairman de Vera explained that this will help HEIs appreciate and participate in voluntary assessments and evaluations.

“The ISA is anchored to the core mandates and responsibilities of HEIs which are teaching, research, extension, and production. Since it is voluntary in nature, we observed that HEIs that applied for the ISA process are the same HEIs that appreciate external evaluations, and we see less application from those considered as developing in terms of their organizational approach. By aligning the instruments of ISA and PQA, we are providing a pathway for the HEIs to proceed to the PQA assessment once it has gone through the process ISA,” Chairperson de Vera explained.

Under the signed memorandum of understanding, DTI and CHED shall collaborate in harmonizing or integrating quality management programs to further develop assessment policies, standards, and guidelines. The partnership includes review and promotion of the alignment of PQA Criteria and ISA requirements as well as provision of technical assistance in implementing and improving respective programs.

The ceremonial signing, which was witnessed by DTI Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Group Rafaelita M. Aldaba, PhD., Competitiveness Bureau Director Lilian G. Salonga, CHED Commissioner Lilian A. De Las Llagas, PhD., and Office of Institutional Quality Assurance and Governance Director Luisa S. Valencia, and attended by different academic institutions, was conducted virtually via Zoom and livestreamed on the official Facebook pages of DTI and PQA Program on October 22, 2020, 1PM.



Japanese company invests in wiring harness manufacturing in the Philippines 

After a due diligence study spanning over 12 months in ASEAN, Yokowo Co., Ltd., recently decided to choose the Philippines as the site of a new subsidiary for automotive wiring harness and components manufacturing and assembly operations.  

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Yokowo Co., Ltd., offers innovative high-tech products to manufacturers worldwide in the advancing electronics, electrical machinery and automotive industries. Yokowo describes itself as specialists in antennas, fine connectors, microwaves and advanced devices for the automotive, semiconductor testing systems, mobile device and advanced medical device sectors. 

A new player in the Philippine wiring harness production landscape, Yokowo recently registered a 100% wholly owned business in the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission under the name Yokowo Manufacturing of the Philippines. The company plans to conduct ground-breaking activities, slated for January 2021, for a new 3.7-hectare factory of wire harness and components in the Hermosa Ecozone Industrial Park in Bataan. Yokowo will infuse Php 230M million in the new facility and will require a labor force of 800 workers, which is set to commence operations in April 2022.  

“The Philippine venture will support Yokowo’s in-vehicle communication equipment business which accounts for about 60% of the Group’s consolidated sales,” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Special Trade Representative Dita Angara-Mathay said, who has been working on the account for over a year. 

Yokowo Manufacturing of the Philippines Chief Executive Officer Yutaka Fujita reported, “The Philippines will play an important role in the company’s regional strategy for supply chain stratification that has always been responsive to expected increases in business volume and global expansion of major clientele.” 

“Apart from generating more employment opportunities for Filipinos during this pandemic, Yokowo’s expansion project in the country also supports our innovation and technology-driven thrust in DTI as well as increases market competitiveness in our wiring industry,” DTI Secretary Lopez said. 

Secretary Lopez also added that this is the second Japanese investment in wiring harness production in the Philippines this year, the first being Sumitomo Wiring Systems, who is setting up the company’s biggest factory in the world in Pangasinan. At a minimum, the expansion project of Sumitomo will provide employment opportunities for 10,000 workers in Northern Luzon, adding to the company’s total roster of 55,000 in the Philippines. 

The shift witnessed in the automotive industry towards fuel efficiency will generate greater demand for wiring harness systems in the future. Increasing global demand for electric vehicles will further unleash developmental opportunities for market participants over the next couple of years as more governments pledge to support the adoption of electric vehicles to reduce fuel emissions. END