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Philippines: Building the digital bridgeway to ASEAN and to the world

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The symbolic ASEAN handshake
The symbolic ASEAN handshake signifies the full support of the ASEAN Secretariat via its representative, the Office of the Permanent Mission of PH to ASEAN, as Digital Pilipinas has been formally appointed and recognized as its partner for championing digital economies and digital transformation.

Highlights

  • The Philippines is positioning itself as a digital bridgeway between ASEAN and the world, with significant investments in infrastructure and a robust digital landscape.
  • eGOV PH super app aims to grow a smarter, more efficient digital governance system for the country.
  • Ambassador Quintana emphasizes the importance of driving digital transformation for the Philippines to enhance its participation in the evolving digital economy of the ASEAN region.

28 July 2023, Manila, Philippines – As the ASEAN alliance focuses on digitally integrating its economy and society through the ASEAN Digital Master Plan 2025, interoperability and integration are top of the agenda. During the ‘The Philippines as a Digital Bridgeway to ASEAN and to the World’ event recently, Ambassador Hjayceelyn Quintana, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to ASEAN, stressed the importance of driving digital transformation, a vital step for the Philippines to enhance its participation in the evolving digital economy of the region.

With that, the Philippines is ready to take its place as a digital bridgeway between ASEAN and the world, with the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN and Digital Pilipinas formalizing their partnership. The said partnership will bring forth a variety of programs with fellow ASEAN member nations and different global trade missions that are all looking at the ASEAN region as the new epicentrum of growth.

“There was a leader statement supporting the digital economy, and what it entails is more on interoperability and more on integration – not so much on removal of trade barriers but more in interoperability,” said Quintana. As for the Philippines’ push to be the digital bridgeway to ASEAN and the rest of the world, Quintana acknowledged the freedom for all ASEAN countries to pursue their agendas while emphasizing the competitive advantage the Philippines has when it comes to digital transformation. Quintana’s office collaborates with Digital Pilipinas to promote the Philippines and its strengths in this sector.

“In the ASEAN, we have this ‘ASEAN Outlook in the Indo-Pacific’, so this represents a good opportunity for us because it comprises about 60% of the GDP of the world and also half of the world’s trade. So, if we show our strength in this particular sector, I think the opportunities are so vast and I think, because this region is where technology hubs are concentrated at the moment and there is so much that we can do,” she added.

Amor Maclang, Convenor of Digital Pilipinas which is now the largest private sector-led movement for creating an innovation and technology ecosystem in the country that is actively engaged to a global digital economy, and Convenor of the Philippine Fintech Festival, emphasized that the country’s superpower is its impressive mass adoption of digitalization, which has helped make the Philippines become the fastest growing e-commerce and startup investment market in the world.

Supporting this is the fact that Filipinos rank 2nd in the world and 1st in Asia for having the most time spent on the internet, even surpassing the global average by 99 minutes – nearly twice the global average, as stated in a report by Foxmont Capital Partners. The same report mentions too, that funds raised by Philippine startups in 2022 exceeded $1 billion for the second year in a row. This makes the country a large, attractive market for that is ripe for investments that is helped by a young, well-educated, digitally savvy, and growing middle class.

At the forefront of this nationwide transformation are Digital Pilipinas Festival and Philippine Fintech Festival, the largest twin Digital Economies Festival that aims to bring together the ASEAN and the world into a week-long immersion this October 2 to 5 at the SMX Aura, Taguig City, and its theme AiSEAN (AI+ ASEAN) will focus on frontier technologies represented by AI as the great equalizer of the era and puts the ASEAN region in the spotlight as it is projected to become the world’s largest single market by 2030.

Maclang adds that while presenting the Philippines as a digital bridgeway to ASEAN, that it is not to diminish the tight work in promoting ASEAN overall, citing that each member nation is formidable in digital economies. “As a Digital Bridgeway to ASEAN, we advocate for the Philippines to complement and work closely our other highly and equally digital partners and neighbors, example, Indonesia for its teching up of its transport system, Malaysia for Insurance and Public Health, Thailand for its progressive and very advanced approach towards digital assets and of course Singapore who has created a new epicenter of digital financial power in the world for all of us.”

To further spur this move to position the country as a bridgeway to the region and beyond, the Philippine government, through the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) led by Secretary Ivan Uy, has recently launched the eGOV PH super app which aims to streamline all government transactions and boost President Marcos, Jr.’s, digitalization push in bureaucracy.

This order from the President is in line with emphasizing digitalization’s relevance in consistently improving ease of doing business here in the country which is helped along by the following initiatives such as the establishment of the National Government Data Center and the Free Wi-Fi for All program, among others.

The super app which is part of the eGOV PH system which was launched in December last year is considered as a one-stop-shop platform that enables the public to conveniently and securely access government services and information online in both local and national levels.

Transactions that can be done in the app include healthcare information, start-up empowerment, job applications, feedback or reporting mechanisms, local government unit services, and the SIM registration as discussed by DICT’s Undersecretary for eGovernment, David Almirol.

According to Almirol, the eGOV PH app not only aligns well with the provisions of RA 11032 – the Ease of Doing Business Act, but it also does the same for Senate Bill 1238 or the E-government Act which institutionalizes the transition of government to e-governance in the digital age. The app addresses the imperative need for an all-compassing, harmonious, and compatible framework for information dissemination, resource pooling, and seamless communication integration for the country.

DICT is currently delivering solutions to 450 government agencies, including 1600 local government units, 114 state universities and colleges, an estimated 42,000 barangays, and not to mention bureaus and other agencies. “We are a solutions department,” he stressed.

As the Digital Pilipinas Festival and the Philippine Fintech Festival Year 2 is fast approaching, we highly encourage everyone to join us in the fourth quarter of 2023, and immerse themselves and interact with leading brands, government regulators, country partners, technologists, the startup ecosystem of investors and founders championing the 12 critical industries of ESG & Green Finance, Logistics & Supply Chain, Mobility & Transport, Energy, InsurTech & HealthTech, FinTech, Smart Cities & PropTech, AgriTech, EduTech, WealthTech, Blockchain & Digital Assets, and SME Digitalization & ECommerce.

To know more about the Digital Pilipinas and Philippine Fintech Festival Year 2, visit https://digitalpilipinas.ph

“The Philippines as a Digital Bridgeway to ASEAN and to the World” event was graced by partners, friends, and guests from various sectors ranging from government to tech and finance, to startups and even entertainment as led by Digital Pilipinas Festival and Philippine Fintech Festival, the largest twin Digital Economies Festival along with representatives from UnionBank, KPMG, Angkas, UNO Digital Bank (UNOBank), Etiqa, Bayad, Inypay, Gorriceta Law, GMA Network, Inc., Rideradar Technology Inc., the Philippine Innovation Hub, SM Investments Corporation, Go Philippines, SIWA Realty, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Fintech Philippines Association, AllEasy, Inc., RePhil, ComBtas Philippines Inc., the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), the Global Blockchain Business Council, iPera, Doconchain, Finscore, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Finance Educators Association, Appboxo, Binance, CIBI Information Inc., Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines, MOCASA, TechStatic, Xendit, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the Philippine Ports Authority, the Maritime Industry Authority, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Bankai Group, Grover Pte Ltd., BDO, the ASEAN PH Secretariat, the Philippine Mission to ASEAN, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Business’ Advocacy in Sustainable and Innovative Concepts (BASIC) Inc., the Department of Tourism, Collabera Digital, Proptech Consortium of the Philippines, Sodexo, and Tryko Technologies.

Game changers and leaders across industries led by HE Hjayceelyn Quintana, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to ASEAN
Game changers and leaders across industries led by HE Hjayceelyn Quintana, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to ASEAN; Usec David Almirol of DICT eGov; and Digital Pilipinas & Philippine Fintech Festival Convenor Amor Maclang kicked off the Digital Pilipinas Festival at The Astbury last 8th June.

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