Koronadal searching for product to serve as city’s identity

Elrich Batilaran, Koronadal Investment Center (KIC) manager, said they are currently evaluating several proposals from entrepreneurs based in the city of possible products that may be developed later on as a major industry in the area.  

"Our goal is to have our own product – one that will carry our identity as a people and the resources abundant in our area," he said.

Batilaran said the city government intends to pour in investments and invite some micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the city to venture into the chosen banner product for the city. 

He said they will also promote the identified product as the city's main "pasalubong" or souvenir product and will be displayed in major trade fairs and tourism activities that will be joined by the city government.  

The development of a banner product for the city was an offshoot of Mayor Fernando Miguel's new campaign to promote the city as an alternative trade and investment destination in the country. 

During the week-long celebration of Koronadal’s seventh cityhood anniversary last month, Batilaran said the KIC lined up a product development seminar to help identify products that may be developed in the city. 

Through the help of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), he said they initially received proposals for food and food products, fruit products and several hand-made goods. 

Although the product development seminar did not push through, Batilaran said they have started to study the product proposals and may soon launch them in a bigger product development initiative.  

Two years ago, local government planners and officials identified business process outsourcing or the Information and Communication Technology's (ICT) back-room operations and medical transcription as the city's main venture under the DTI's One Town, One Product (OTOP) program. 

Several medical transcription and call center ventures have opened in the city during the last several years but the local ICT industry has yet to see a major company locating in the city, which was earlier identified as Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao's alternate ICT hub. Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato. 

Koronadal was converted from a first class municipality into a component city of South Cotabato by virtue of Republic Act 8803 signed by then President Joseph Estrada on October 8, 2000. 

The city, which covers 27 barangays, is now one of the fast-developing growth centers in the region and the political, cultural, socio-economic and agro-industrial center of South Cotabato. 

In 2003, the city was adjudged as the country's most competitive small-sized city based on a survey conducted by the Asian Institute of Management's Policy Center and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Two years later, the city landed among the top 10 most competitive cities in the country based on the same survey. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)