PH gov pushes for digital adoption to revive local economies

The Philippine government is urging local governments to jumpstart — or accelerate — digital adoption in order to aid local government units to revive local economies, as well as promote business efficiency.

In the third installment of fintech firm PayMaya Philippines’ online forum titled “Creating Digital Ecosystems to Jumpstart Local Economies,” public and private stakeholders are in agreement that technology will play a significant part in facing the new reality of living with utmost caution and mobility restrictions.

“We are seeing now that the new normal is actually a digital normal,” said Undersecretary Rose Edillon of the National Economic and Development Authority when she underscored the importance of leveraging technology in order to survive — and thrive in the sudden shift in the business landscape.

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Digital transformation is among the pillars of the Philippine government’s economic recovery strategy as the country faces the crippling effects of COVID-19. The other pillars include food security, health system improvement, and learning continuity.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will be empowering micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with programs that would enable them to leverage the benefits of e-commerce. The Philippine government, according to Trade Assistant Secretary Jean Pacheco, is also laying out a plan that would simplify processes for MSMEs when setting up their business or adopting digital tools.

Edillon reiterated the need for LGUs “to adapt to ensure continuity of local development, not just public services.” With digital adoption, LGUs can streamline government services that would encourage more entrepreneurs to help the local economy.

Among digital adoptions that MSMEs can begin with include the use of social media to promote their products or services, building websites for customers to do transactions, and introducing cashless payments.

“Sari-sari stores can utilize e-commerce tools and go cashless,” said Marvin Santos, enterprise head for the public sector, PayMaya. “The role of the LGU is not primarily to transform itself but also to enable its citizens.”

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