Philippines must embrace digitalization – Marcos

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Philippines must embrace digitalization � Marcos
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. delivered speech during the Telco Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay on December 6, 2022.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines must embrace digitalization if it wants to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic economy, President Marcos said yesterday as he called for the quick adoption of technological innovations to make the country competitive under the new normal.

Speaking during the Telco Summit 2022 in Pasay City, Marcos said digitalization is a “very important part” of improving the ease of doing business and that it should start with the bureaucracy to make it easier for the public to avail themselves of key services.

“The landscape change accelerates faster, compelling us to be even smarter, even bolder in finding digital solutions to many problems,” he said. “And it is not as if we have a choice in doing this. It is not for us merely an option. Maybe we should digitalize, maybe not. It’s not that way at all.”

He said that for the Philippines to survive or flourish in the post-pandemic economy, it must digitalize as quickly as possible and take full advantage, exploit new and the best technology.

Marcos said that technology would provide solutions and it’s up to us to find them.

Technology, he said, refers not only to hardware or software but also new ideas, strategies and techniques that people found to be successful.

“And that’s why it is ongoing. It is not something that we say we fixed, finished. You cannot, you cannot leave it. You must stay. It is one of those situations that if you are standing still, you’re going backwards,” Marcos said.

He assured the telco industry that digitalization is a priority of his administration, citing the importance of applying and exploring new technologies.

“We have to move quickly. When I looked around when I was in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), I saw that we are not too badly off, but we could do so much better,” he said.

Marcos said the Philippines has to cooperate and compete with its neighbors and this can be done if the country has the same level of digitalization as the others.

The country’s connectivity rate has to improve since it is “still pretty low” at below 70 percent, he said.

“That’s not good enough, especially for an archipelagic country such as ours where connectivity is exceedingly important because we have many isolated communities that need some form of contact, some form of communication with the rest of the country, with the rest of the world.”

“Right now, we are not quite there but let us work hard at it. That’s why I encourage the relevant government agencies (and) our private sector partners to ensure that these efforts will be implemented, they will be strengthened and translated into a more efficient delivery of government services,” Marcos said.

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