December 2, 2022 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is ramping up its efforts to promote science, technology and innovation as part of its continued efforts to transform the country into a digital economy, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In a statement, Trade secretary Alfredo Pascual welcomed the recent results of the Network Readiness Report (NRI) released by Washington DC-based think tank Portulans Institute which recognized that the Philippines’ ranking improved by 12 notches, from 83rd place to 71st.
The report cited the Philippines as the year’s biggest mover, with impact as its main strength and technology as greatest scope for improvement.
The Philippines performed considerably well on e-commerce legislation, high tech exports, and information and communications technology (ICT) services exports.
The report also ranked the country fifth among the 36 lower middle income economies included in the report, outperforming in 10 sub pillars namely access, content, future technologies, individuals, governments, trust, regulation, inclusion, economy, and quality of life.
“We thank the Portulan Institute for recognizing the Philippines as one of the champions of digital transformation, this is a testament to the continuing efforts of the Philippine government to transform the country into a digital economy,” Pascual said.
“It shows that we are a country composed of digital natives, and it indeed gives us a demographic advantage. We are mindful of this advantage and recognize that the digital economy is about people and technology, so we are ramping up efforts to promote science, technology and innovation, as our main strategy,”he said.
In line with these efforts, Pascual said several initiatives are in the pipeline.
In terms of legislation, he said the enactment of the proposed Internet Transactions Act (ITA) and amendments to the e-Commerce Act are also underway.
He said digital transformation initiatives to address upskilling and reskilling of human capital and businesses are also being scaled up.
In addition, e-Government or the automation of government processes are also being pursued through a whole-of-government approach.
Pascual pointed out that the DTI is driving the formulation of the updated eCommerce Philippines Roadmap 2023-2025 which is designed to be more inclusive — including the youth, women, senior citizens and PWD sector, to help build a more robust e-commerce industry.
The DTI said that it also serves as a key partner of the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on financial inclusion and digitizing merchant payments.
In line with this, the DTI through its e-Commerce Office launched the e-Bayad Mo! social media campaign including a pay drama series as part of its initiatives toward acceleration of digital payments adoption in the Philippines.
An e-Bayad Mo! Regional Caravan is set to be launched, which will provide financial literacy sessions to encourage and discuss the benefits of using digital payments.
Pascual expressed optimism for the country’s movement towards network readiness as he noted the country’s young population.
“The report highlights that digital natives will build and manage the future of the world. Our country’s median age is 25 years old and about 40 percent of our population are digital natives (20 years and below). With our huge base of young, highly-mobile workforce and consumers, we have more than enough economic assets to inspire the government and incentivize the private sector towards Network Readiness.”