Ernesto M. Pernia, PhD

Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning

Data Driven Philippines: The 2019 PH Data Analytics Summit

November 21, 2019


Mr. Francis Del Val, President, COBENA;

Other guests and officials of COBENA;

The Analytics Association of the Philippines and the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines or IMMAP;

Distinguished guests and participants in this summit;

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

I am pleased to be part of this important event, “Data Driven Philippines: The 2019 PH Data Analytics Summit”.

Our economy is on a high growth trajectory. It surged to 6.2 percent in the third quarter of 2019 after two quarters of sluggish growth. We are confidently taking on the challenge of meeting at least the low-end of government’s full-year target of 6.0 to 7.0 percent for 2019. With the current vibrant economy, it is quite an opportune time for us to discuss the possibilities of the data analytics industry.

We have repeatedly stated that the Philippines can garner huge benefits from the adoption of digital technology such as data analytics, which can help organizations efficiently identify problems, solutions, and create new goods and services. The IT-Business Process Outsourcing or BPO industry, for example, has contributed about 10 percent to the GDP and 15 percent of formal employment.

Moreover, data analytics can be applied in different fields such as health, agriculture, business, and government in general. It can improve patient care and farming methods, make data-driven business decisions, and change the way public goods and services are delivered.

We in the government recognize our primary role of providing an enabling environment for the private sector so that industries, such as the data analytics industry, can flourish. Therefore, key legislations have recently been enacted that will provide further impetus for data analytics to gain ground in the Philippines.

First, the Philippine Innovation Act, which seeks to address the current gaps in the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) ecosystem governance framework. Through the law, a National Innovation Agenda Strategy Document will be crafted that will help the country to progress towards becoming a globally-competitive knowledge-based economy.

NEDA is currently finalizing the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law so that the organizational set-up can already be in place by next year. With data analytics, the large volume of digitalized data can help facilitate innovation in the country by coming up with a new technological idea from a multitude sets of existing technologies.

As well, the Philippine Innovative Start-up Act, which was recently signed into law, will be of great help in the establishment of innovative and technology-based start-ups. This law is expected to create opportunities for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to gain access to capacity building, exchange programs, thereby linking them to potential investors, collaborators and markets, both local and overseas.

The application of data analytics can provide start-up companies with the information needed to make business decisions such as expanding market opportunities, finding appropriate techniques for a more efficient operation, and ways to increase market demand.

Moreover, a 2018 study of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies or PIDS, the government’s think tank, highlighted that the various industry 4.0 technologies, including data analytics, are already being adopted by Philippine industries and organizations in varying degrees of diffusion. The study further noted that the extent to which the country can maximize the benefits of these technologies depends on our ability to progressively and systematically improve our capacities, and effectively close existing technological gaps.

NEDA has been very supportive of policies that seek to close the technological and digital divide in the country. The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, which NEDA spearheaded in crafting, states that the government will continue to pursue strategic trade and investment policies that will facilitate a faster transfer of innovative ideas. We will also commit to reduce anti-competition practices and promote more competition in key industries like ICT. We aim to produce better-educated and trainable workers, and we will pursue policies to strengthen education and training systems both in the public and private sectors, and invest in data collection. By the way, we are currently carrying out the Midterm Update of the PDP 2017-2022.

We still have a long way to go. We ourselves in the public sector need to innovate and learn to use new technologies. Our infrastructure, IT networks, and workforce need an upgrade to be able to operate efficiently within the realm of new technologies.

Our adaptability to new technologies will greatly affect our ability to provide public services to Filipinos. Thus, we are serious in streamlining government transactions and enabling processes to be as seamless as possible. In line with this, we have introduced game-changing reforms such as the Philippine Identification System or National ID Act, and the Ease of Doing Business Law.

Overall, the NEDA is keen on making sure that we are able to provide our people a vibrant, mature, fully functional, and self-sustaining STI ecosystem. This is in line with the PDP’s objective of creating a globally competitive knowledge economy. With this, we are also supporting our ultimate goal of helping ensure that every Filipino will have a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay.

Thank you, and good morning.