On March 21, 2024, a crucial meeting was held at the Grand Astoria Hotel in Zamboanga City to address critical issues in Mindanao’s workforce. The meeting united the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) regional offices and boards with partner agencies. The goal was to develop a project portfolio specifically designed to tackle issues such as low productivity, widespread work informality, and persistent poverty. This collaboration aligns with the goals outlined in the Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Development Plan (2023-2028) and requires cooperation between DOLE, government agencies, and industry associations. Mr. Meynard P. Abello, Supervising Science Research Specialist, represented the Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) at the meeting.

The meeting proved highly productive, yielding several significant agreements. The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) committed to providing scholarships for family members of rubber workers and training assessors for a revamped course on rubber production specifically offered in Zamboanga Sibugay. Partner agencies agreed to submit improved project portfolios by April 5 to optimize service delivery and eliminate redundancy of effort.

PRRI played a significant role in the discussions regarding the rubber industry. Mr. Abello highlighted the need for the separation of project components related to Pestalotiopsis Leaf Fall Disease (PLFD) and the wintering season to address them more effectively. PRRI also emphasized their unwavering commitment to incorporating research and development projects, capacity-building initiatives, and funding programs within the project portfolio.

With the collaboration of DOLE and PRRI’s expertise, this project portfolio aims to increase productivity across Mindanao’s priority industries. This effort paves the way for inclusive growth and economic prosperity throughout the region.

𝘽𝙮 𝙈𝙚𝙮𝙣𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝘼𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙤 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙅𝙪𝙡𝙞𝙪𝙨 𝘽𝙞𝙤𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙤