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PEZA commits to spearhead digitalization, make Philippines ‘viable digital bridgeway’ in ASEAN and the world

Following the order of President Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr. to ramp up efforts in the digitalization of the Philippines, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is committing itself to be the pioneer in digitalizing the Southeast Asian country and become a trailblazer in the fintech, blockchain technology, AI-based solutions, and BPO innovation.

PEZA Director General Tereso Panga disclosed in a speech at the “Philippines: The Digital Bridgeway in the ASEAN and the World” event, which they co-hosted with Astrolabe and Digital Pilipinas last April 27, that “technological advancements has accelerated with a break neck speed.” As majority of countries worldwide aim to develop their own “smart and innovative society,” the Philippines—with more than 76.01 million internet users and tech-savvy young workers—is positioned to also benefit from this technological advancement.

“Technological advancements in recent years have accelerated with break neck speed, and the so called Fourth Industrial Revolution or digital economy has become the buzzword for every nation that aspires for a smart and innovative society,” the director remarked in a transcribed speech shared with CoinGeek.

“From within our domain and sphere of influence in PEZA, we want to put up our own industry excellence centers so we can put up and provide incubation facilities for start-ups to boost our competitiveness in the manufacturing and IT-BPO sectors.”

Panga added that their Ambisyon Natin 2040 strives for Filipinos to “live in a high-trust society, where no one is poor and the workforce are smart and innovative.” The PEZA director then revealed that they are already working on different projects and partnerships with government and private-led agencies.

“We have partnered with Astrolabe and Digital Pilipinas for the continuous improvement and stakeholders’ capacity building initiative on financial economic services that would eventually be integrated in the Philippine financial systems and platforms. Likewise, we are collaborating with the DICT in promoting digitalization to enhance office efficiencies, customer satisfaction and the delivery of services for a much-improved ease of doing business. In other words, we want to be a trailblazer in this field,” Panga said.

Convenor of Astrolabe-Digital Pilipinas and PEZA’s investment promotion partner Amor Maclang said the Philippines is primed to advance and upskill its workforce in fintech, AI, web3, blockchain, and other nascent technologies.

Panga said they are setting up Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Parks where they’ll be promoting synergies with academes and industries to produce “scientific studies, innovations and where High-Tech ecozones can promote R&D and commercialization of patents, and the various industry upskilling/reskilling measures to prepare the Filipino workforce and local supply/global value chains for advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0.”

PEZA lines up plans for digitalization

Kicking off the start of 2023, PEZA announced that they were expecting to attract more foreign investments from Switzerland and the European Union. Currently, there are 28 Swiss projects hosted in different economic zones in the country.

In February, PEZA shared with CoinGeek that there was an 83.69% increase in investment in January 2023. “The PEZA Board has approved a total of 19 new and expansion projects of ecozone locators and developer/operators expected to bring in PhP 6.393 Billion investments. This is 83.69% higher as compared to the PhP 3.48 Billion investments approved for same period last year,” Panga at the time.

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