Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning

Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Forum and Showcase

Australia Awards and Alumni Engagement Program Philippines

Multipurpose Hall, Asia-Pacific College, Makati

July 26, 2019, 1:00 PM

Chairman Ramon Dimacali of the Asia-Pacific College;

Professors Emil Bolongaita and Murli Viswanathan;

Distinguished guests and resource speakers;

Graduating course participants;

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

It is a pleasure to be with you this afternoon for the Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Forum and Showcase.

The Philippine economy has been growing at a steady pace averaging 6.4 percent over the last five years. This rate slipped a bit to 6.2 percent in 2018, and was further dampened to 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019 owing to the budget impasse in Congress. The economy must grow 6.1 percent on average over the next three quarters to reach our full-year growth target of 6-7 percent growth rate.

Looking further ahead, for the economy to move to a higher growth path that is inclusive and self-sustaining, the government needs the active cooperation of the business sector and the academia. In this context, I refer to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, our blueprint for sustainable development. Its aim is “to lay down the foundation for inclusive growth, a resilient and high-trust society, and a globally competitive knowledge economy.” The Plan’s main pillars are: Malasakit, Pagbabago, and Patuloy na Pag-unlad – which translates to “Strengthening the Social Fabric (Solidarity), Inequality-Reducing Transformation, and Enhancing the Growth Potential of the economy.”

The NEDA together with the DOST and DTI have been engaged with several Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE) members—based here and in the U.S.—in building our country’s Science and Technology Innovation (STI) ecosystem toward the PDP’s objective and pillars. Specifically, “a globally competitive knowledge economy,” and Patuloy na Pag-unlad or “enhancing the economy’s growth potential.”

Academics—i.e., scientists and engineers—can work on the supply side of the STI ecosystem. But to make the ecosystem alive and functional, there must be demand for what scientists and engineers produce—i.e., the demand on the side of the private sector—business people including industrialists, entrepreneurs, and capitalists. The government’s role, besides crafting the country’s development plan, is to provide the wherewithal (e.g., funding for graduate studies, including scholarships, and for R&D, ease of procurement of equipment needed by scientists and engineers in universities, etc.) for the academic sector, and to foster a stable and favorable business climate for the private sector, as well as to catalyze the relationship between these two sectors.

Given an interactive supply and demand sides or sectors, the STI ecosystem can become vibrant, mature, fully functional, and self-sustaining. This also suggests the need for higher trust and respect between the academic and business sectors, and among its members. Which is consistent with the objective of the medium-term PDP, namely, “To lay the foundation for a high-trust society” Underpinning, and resulting from a high-trust society is Malasakit—strengthening the social fabric (or, in a word, solidarity)—the first pillar of the PDP 2017-2022.

Solidarity is needed between and among the academic, private and public sectors—not to mention the citizenry in general—for our country to achieve the objectives of the PDP 2017-2022 and the goal ofAmBisyon Natin 2040. A small step we have taken was to bring together several PAASE members to meet with some government officials at NEDA and in UP Diliman in October last year. And just last May, UPD PAASE members managed to gather a similar group of academics with key persons from the business sector.

What remains is a trilateral substantive gathering of catalytic members from the three sectors, namely the government, academe and the private sector. Holding such meetings periodically, if not frequently, will be needed to sustain efforts in firmly establishing our STI ecosystem.

Your course and this forum on Business Intelligence and Data Analytics is very topical and highly germane. The Philippines can benefit immensely from the adoption of digital technology such as data analytics, which can help organizations efficiently and immediately identify problems, come up with solutions, and even create new goods and services.

Technological innovations can further upgrade the IT-BPO industry, which thus far has contributed about 10 percent to the GDP and 15 percent to formal employment.

However, a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed that the level of innovation in the country remains low, with less than half or around 42.9 percent of Philippine establishments marked as innovation-active in 2015. In 2016, the Global Information Technology Report placed the country behind its ASEAN peers like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. In 2017 and 2018, the country ranked 73rd among 127 economies in the Global Innovation Index (GII) according to the World Bank. Nevertheless, in 2019 the latest GII, the Philippines improved its overall rank sharply to 54th of 129 countries, as well as in the nearly all the sub-metrics of the GII.

For us in the public sector, there is much to be done in terms of fully utilizing data analytics. We need to catch up with science, technology and innovation. We need to upgrade our IT infrastructure, create networks and database interoperability between and among agencies, and produce a skilled and nimble workforce that can optimize the use of these emerging technologies.

This is why we have been actively improving our systems and shifting to e-governance.  Efforts include the passage of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Governance Service Delivery Act, the Philippine Identification System Act, and the Philippine Innovation Act (RA 11293), which will further harness innovation efforts for start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises.

In addition, the DBM-DOST has established a Project Digital Imaging for Monitoring and Evaluation, which monitors government projects through light detection and ranging technology, satellites, and drones.

Developing our capability to adopt, produce, and utilize these types of technologies will allow us to not only raise our economic growth potential but also improve the lives of our people through quality public services. Indeed, the President gave his marching orders in the recent SONA to cut the red tape through the use of digital technology. An example is the streamlining of government transactions and processes. Imagine how efficient and seamless it will be for citizens lining up for passport application if the Department of Foreign Affairs has an inter-operable database in place with the Philippine Statistics Authority, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine National Police, among other relevant government agencies.

I believe that Filipinos are naturally creative and innovative, but we have to show this more visibly to the rest of the world. We see this everyday as we walk the streets, scroll through social media, and watch our favorite shows.

Once again, in pursuit of the Philippine Development Plan’s goal of attaining a globally competitive knowledge economy, we need a vibrant, mature, fully functional, and self-sustaining STI ecosystem.Eventually this will also help us achieve our aspiration, AmBisyon Natin 2040, affording every Filipino family a matatagmaginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat.

Thank you, and good afternoon.