UBX, the financial technology (fintech) venture studio of the Aboitiz Group, is leading the multi-sectoral initiative that will drive the accelerated digital transformation in government to help bring essential and critical services closer to Filipinos.
On Thursday, October 27, UBX officially introduced the Digital Transformation ng Pilipinas (#DigiPinas) Initiative, a multi-stakeholder advocacy group that will work closely with all relevant stakeholders towards the digital transformation of the country.
A response to the call of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos, #DigiPinas is composed of platforms and solutions providers, local chief executives, policymakers, national government agency representatives, members of the academe and people organizations.
Together, #DigiPinas members will champion digital transformation in government, supported by enabling laws, policies, and regulations, including Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act; RA 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Act; Executive Order (EO) 170 or the Adoption of Digital Payments for Disbursements and Collections; and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion and Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap.
“One of our core values and advocacies in UBX is to include everyone and even though we have come a long way towards a more inclusive Philippines, there is still much more to be done. #DigiPinas is our response to the call for an accelerated digital transformation in government to help bring essential and critical services closer to Filipinos,” UBX President John Januszczak said.
The ongoing pandemic, albeit receding, forced the Philippines to accelerate its digital transformation initiatives over the last two years. This helped push the Philippines in the latest International Institute for Management Development (IMD)’s 2022 World Competitiveness Yearbook, which ranked the Philippines 48th in 2021, a four-notch improvement from the year prior, but still considered second lowest in the Asia Pacific.
With this, #DigiPinas intends to help the government in the development of technologies that transform everyday experiences, particularly government services and transactions.
“Digital transformation is one of the leading thrusts of President Marcos and we have a long way to go to achieve a digital Philippines. We need the partnership from the private sector, working simultaneously with synergy to achieve that goal,” Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Director Jose Reyes said.
The Philippines is facing obstacles in achieving digital transformation such as low digital adoption, lack of awareness, gaps in access, digital skills gap, and complex regulations. Only 26 percent of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were aware of digitalization programs offered.
Meanwhile, 32 percent of households in the National Capital Region (NCR) had access to the internet, but only 5 percent had access in rural regions such as the Bicol province.
“The private sector plays a big role in this vision. We are hoping that a lot of private sector groups will come in to fill the gaps,” Dr. Brian Poe Llamanzares of the Office of Senator Grace Poe said.
#DigiPinas will identify national government agencies and local government units that it can support through digital transformation, equipping each government partner with digital tools and solutions to bring their services closer to their constituents.
“Digitalizing government services will help reduce inequalities and inequities, as the Internet, as they say, is the greatest equalizer. But we are still far from the new digital world that we seek. #DigiPinas takes a multi-stakeholder approach to address barriers and challenges and help hasten development not only in major cities and provinces, but in rural towns and far-flung areas,” #DigiPinas Spokesperson Mikan Leachon said.