COVID-19 pandemic accelerates digital wave in PH

MOVING FORWARD. Stakeholders discuss the current dynamics of the digital economy in the Philippines and the creation of innovation hubs across different cities to promote inclusive growth and development

By Marjune N. Muzones

Increased access to information and accelerated shifts to digital interaction amid the ongoing pandemic were discussed by stakeholders during the online webinar “Building Digital Cities” on July 20, 2022.

The forum was organized by Liveable Cities Philippines in cooperation with the League of Cities of the Philippines and Globe Telecom.

As usage of digitally enabled services continue to increase, adaptation and innovation are necessary to promote inclusive growth and development in cities and the countryside and create a digitized economy.

“We, the DICT, are building the country’s digital landscape to spark interest in our people, interest in ICT that can fuel passion and more Filipino innovations. By embracing data and technology, we are one step further in realizing our vision for a digitized Philippines, a country that is capable of actively engaging in the global digital economy,” Secretary Ivan John E. Uy of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) expressed.

Mr. Jack Madrid, President of IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (ITBPAP) discussed the current resurgence of the country’s Information Technology- Business Process Management of IT-BPM industry which exceeded forecasted growth with a headcount increase of 9.1% and revenue up by 10.6% last year.

“The industry has really been instrumental in preserving jobs, generating new skills and opportunities, and very interestingly, stimulating countryside development, driving investments, and creating even more demand in real estate. These are the unequivocal contributions of the industry to our task of nation-building,” he said.

The CEO of Leechiu Property Consultants, Mr. David Leechiu expects that COVID-19, high inflation, currency crisis, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict to pumped up global remittances, offshoring, and tourism in the Philippines and lead the country’s economy to prosperity far into the future.

“The landslide victory of this administration (Marcos-Duterte) will just mean the strength of political will to carry forward reform that is much needed through the country and to ensure that all these projects, infrastructure and others will be completed on time and within budget. We are very confident about the economic team… There are many things to be optimistic about. We are very excited about the future,” Leechiu stated.

Cities around the country like Bago in Negros Occidental are also bracing for the impacts of an increasingly digitized economy and ensure that they can well adapt to opportunities and uncertainties presented by current dynamics and the near future. Digital cities and innovation hubs are also projected to rise beyond present urbanized areas and spread growth to the countryside.

“We will continue to work with development partners and like-minded institutions towards achieving greater heights in ensuring that the best government service is offered to Bagonhons. It is our thinking that this can only be realized through improved e-governance. We hope that one day, we will be able to commune, identify, and discuss issues on how we can better collaborate for the purpose,” Mayor Nicholas Yulo of Bago City remarked.

“There is no way for us to move forward but to go digital. We have the technology. I believe that we have the resources… and we also have the skills, the competence, and the willingness to really make a difference,” Mr. Manny Estrada, Regulatory Development and Strategy Head, Corporate Legal Service Group of Globe Telecom stated.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion and questions from the audience were also answered.

The recorded webinar session can be accessed at the Liveable Cities Philippines Facebook page or through this link: