ADRi Statement: “Fostering the Rapid Digitalization to fast-track economic recovery”

During a recent Public Briefing, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque thanked the two telecom companies for the improvements they have done towards improving their service. During the briefing, the telecommunications industry showed that it has made efforts to keep-up with the growing demands of Filipinos. For instance, Smart Communications President Mr. Al Panlilio said that over the past five years, they have invested Php 260 billion for service improvements. Furthermore, it was also recently announced by Globe Telecom President Mr. Ernest Cu said they will spend Php 70 billion to build 2,000 cell sites next year. In a press briefing.

However, while local industries continue to make the necessary investments to create the necessary digital eco-system necessary for economic growth, they will need the continued support from government to ensure continued economic development.

During the recent 2020 Pilipinas Conference, a key point of discussion was the evolving nature of security threats such as pandemics and how it has forced states and people to adopt a digital mindset to minimize face-to-face interactions and sustain efficient operations and transactions. Speaking at the event, Mr. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said that they have realized that there were a tremendous number of products and services that were going to have to ride digital infrastructure. “When the pandemic hit, there was absolutely no choice. Customers, if you’re focused on them, were thinking about keeping themselves safe and were accessing services and products in completely different ways. With that, transformation just moved up to a whole other degree.”

As the Philippines shifts towards accelerated digital transformation, it is crucial for the Philippine government and the private sector to work hand in hand in order to mitigate potential risks and maximize opportunities presented by the country’s current situation. Moreover, the public sector must match private sector investments in building a robust nationwide digital infrastructure.

In the recently concluded Stratbase ADR Institute virtual town hall discussion titled “Secure and Reliable Cloud Banking for Economic Recovery,” three important components were pointed out that are applicable to the country’s overall digital demands and needs: technology, processes and governance, and transparency. The Philippines must keep up with emerging information and communications technologies especially in essential online services in e-commerce and e-banking.

The pre-requisite for encouraging economic recovery are empowering regulations and policies that are at pace with digitalization. The rights of companies and Filipino consumers must be respected. Contracts must be honored, regulations must be stable, and there must be transparency and accountability in public services. Protecting the sensitive data of individuals and the capacity to minimize and respond to risks are important to earning public trust in the emerging digital economy.

Given the current socio-economic situation, the Stratbase ADR Institute calls on the Philippine government, the private sector, and other important stakeholders to work together in order to harness digital solutions and prioritize the country’s digital transformation in order to facilitate a digitized eco-system in the new normal. The Institute also encourages government agencies to shift to cloud-based and secure technologies, accessible nationwide through fortified digital infrastructures. By working towards this direction, the Philippines would be able to build economic resilience and fast-track its economic recovery.

Prof. Dindo Manhit
Stratbase ADR Institute

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