June 26, 2020

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said that the government will continue to craft well-targeted policies to optimize the use and further develop the digital economy of the country in the webinar: ‘Digital Readiness for the New Normal’ hosted by the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation and the Makati Business Club (MBC) last June 23, 2020.

“Digital economy plays a key role in shaping the new normal of the country as both the society and economy will be moving away from long-held manual, analog, or legacy practices. Especially now as the country transitions into a new normal, Filipinos are starting to dive into a contactless world where the majority of interactions must take place virtually,” said the NEDA chief.

Aside from MBC members and other key stakeholders, the webinar was also attended by Senator Sonny Angara, Philstar economics columnist Boo Chanco, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Executive Vice President Ramon Jocson who all served as panel reactors to Secretary Chua’s presentation.

“Digital technologies can help facilitate social distancing and continuity of businesses and also enhance productivity of businesses, provide opportunities for people, especially MSMEs, and facilitate more efficient public service,” Chua said.

In line with this, Chua said that there is a need to increase the adoption of digital payments by accelerating the country’s national identification system and developing a policy to incentivize the use of e-payments. The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), a project led by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has the potential to transform the access and delivery of services in the public and private sectors and accelerate growth and dynamism of the Philippines’ digital economy.

The PSA aims to register at least five million family heads by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, other implementation milestones are underway, such as the completion of registration guidelines and protocols, recruitment and training of field registration personnel, and the establishment of registration centers.

“Digital identity is the fabric of the digital economy as it provides a significant opportunity for value-creation to both individuals and institutions. That is why it is imperative to provide a trusted digital identity platform on which the rest of the other digital systems under the new normal would be anchored,” said Chua.

Moreover, Chua said that having the correct data to measure the digital economy is crucial for the government to track its progress and benefits to the country’s overall economy.

The NEDA chief closed by saying that, “while it is true that various forms of data are available in some of the official statistics generated and monitored by the Philippine government, much is still needed to capture the digital economy for purposes of the policy. It is therefore important that within our official statistics, the conceptual and operational coverage should be well-defined.”