Gerald Dizon – Philstar.com
September 27, 2021 | 5:00pm
MANILA, Philippines — When the pandemic limited the ways we normally live, digital transactions, remote work and online learning, among others, were adopted. This abrupt change was much-needed to navigate our lives in the new normal.
But to achieve a true digital transformation, there is still much work to be done toward a future-ready Philippines.
In a recently concluded webinar on July 28 entitled Liveable Cities Lab: Empowering Communities through Technology, Globe, together with Liveable Cities Challenge PH let us in on the country’s digital developments and what more needs to be done.
Where we are now
Victor Andres Manhit, founder and managing director of Stratbase Group, believes that the Philippines is seen to sustain a long-term adoption of e-commerce.
Digital technologies such as telehealth, for instance, allows a convenient measure of healthcare delivery.
Meanwhile, modalities in e-commerce, hand-in-hand with e-payment platforms, have given businesses—large, medium and small—avenues to thrive, which is especially beneficial to a country whose economy is mainly consumption-driven.
“We’ve seen e-commerce driving significant growth in the Philippine digital economy (by as much as 55%), registering the highest spike in Southeast Asian Region, even during lockdown. The Philippines is seen to sustain a long-term adoption of e-commerce—a big opportunity for post-COVID recovery,” Victor Andres Manhit, founder and managing director of Stratbase Group, said.
These and the adoption of other digital-enabled activities do not only serve as tools that help keep society going amid current quarantines and lockdowns, but are also fixtures of modern life seen to remain for many more years to come.
What can be improved
Hermosa, Bataan Mayor Antonio Inton supports comprehensive investment in the education system to empower Filipinos digitally.
Of course long-term adoption of digital tech is the obvious route to assume, but the country’s road to full digital readiness and competitiveness is not without its pitfalls.
Right now, for example, we rely so much on internet connectivity and speed to carry out a bulk of day-to-day tasks. While many have enjoyed faster internet speeds in Metro Manila and other key cities, this is not, however, true in all of the Philippines.
There is still much to be desired when it comes to investing in digital infrastructure, and it can’t only come from the private sector.
Things such as national broadband and free public WiFi and connectivity to constituents in underserved and unserved areas—these possibilities can be furthered with investments from both the public and private sectors working simultaneously.
More than this, there should also be a comprehensive investment in the education system that helps build on the skills and digital capacity of the people who will be major contributors to the society and economy.
Addressing digital divide
Iloisa Romaraog-Diga, chief executive officer of Session Groceries, advocates for support in the agricultural sector.
For Hermosa, Bataan Mayor Antonio Inton, this means making digital technology standard, equal, accessible and affordable to all, closing the digital divide among Filipinos; digital technology implemented more in schools, with public schools keeping up, especially.
An emerging goal is to produce a more knowledge-based workforce not only proficient digitally but hold next-generation skills to take on novel opportunities that offer a better livelihood for themselves, and by extension, the Filipino people.
These workforces can be in artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, all of which can go compete among nations gunning for a stake in frontier technology (e.g., artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology).
In terms of agriculture and food security, Iloisa Romaraog-Diga, chief executive officer of Session Groceries, advocates for support in the agricultural sector, specifically the farmers whose work is vital in feeding the nation.
She emphasized this in light of the dwindling number of farmers across the country and the fact that the country continues to be import-dependent.
For her, farmers should be made entrepreneurs in their own right and kept up to speed with technologically driven practices. At the same time, their livelihood can be protected by ensuring that, through digital technology, they are aligned with businesses that help connect them to their market, no matter the season.
“The government and the private sector must work together to identify, analyze and find the best strategies for the digital transformation of all sectors in a policy environment that will foster a digital economy with thriving industries that are globally competitive and sustainable,” Manhit shared.
“Developing our ecosystems to become economic engines that would transform the Philippines into a competitive player in a globally digital economy will hasten economic recovery and sustainability,” he added.
Future-forward for Filipinos
Vince Tempongko, vice president for Site Acquisition and Management at Globe Telecom, believes in encouraging more Filipinos to go digital for a sustainable tomorrow.
In this vein, Globe, a leading telecommunications provider in the country, is doing its part in paving the way future-forward for Filipinos.
With the vision of OneGlobe Ecosystem, Globe has thus far fulfilled its promise in bringing a robust 4G/5G network to all 84 million Filipino customers.
It has also provided a seamless ecosystem of customer-centric solutions beyond telecommunications, making financial services, healthcare and e-commerce more accessible to all.
What’s more, their commitment to a sustainable future adheres to the UN Global Compact Principles and their 10 Sustainable Development Goals.
“As we encourage everyday digital use for Filipinos, we also arm our customers for a sustainable tomorrow,” Vince Tempongko, vice president for Site Acquisition and Management at Globe Telecom, concluded.
For more information, visit the website here. You can also watch the webinar in full by going to this link.