By Chino S. Leyco
The Department of Finance (DOF) has invited the Alibaba Group to partner with the Duterte administration and the private sector in building an inclusive financial system in the Philippines.
In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the potential partnership would help fuel economic growth in the country’s rural communities and level the playing field for small businesses.
Dominguez said a closer relationship between the Philippine government and Alibaba is among the ways of further cementing bilateral ties between the Manila and Beijing on the Duterte watch.
During a recent visit of Philippine government officials to Hangzhou, China, Alibaba Group Founder Jack Ma said the Philippines, like other emerging economies, has a “huge potential” to embrace the technology revolution.
Ma believes that e-commerce was specifically designed for developing nations like the Philippines.
“This delegation coming here made a very brave and inspiring step forward to embrace and understand the technology revolution,” said Ma in commending the Philippine government officials and representatives from the business sector led by Dominguez.
“Someday, I think the Alibaba people would be very happy to go to the Philippines to learn from you,” Ma said.
“The Filipinos are a great and kind people and I have a lot of people working together who come from the Philippines. I think they are intelligent, hardworking and professional,” he added.
The Philippine delegation attended the three-day new economy workshop, the first overseas government training program organized by the Alibaba Business School.
The workshop lectures included topics on e-commerce development in China, inclusive finance through digital technologies, rural e-commerce development and smart or data-based logistics in the digital economy.
On behalf of the Philippine delegation, Dominguez has thanked Ma for organizing the New Economy Workshop, which, he said, gave them a glimpse of the future.
“When we met in November (in Manila), I mentioned to you that we have a great admiration for Alibaba for being at the cutting edge of technology and we have seen this for ourselves here and we have not been disappointed,” Dominguez has told Ma.
In an interview by Chinese domestic media Global E-businessmen, Dominguez has described Ma as a “true visionary” with “a very good concept of what the future is going to look like.”
Dominguez said President Duterte was impressed with Ma when they met in Malacañang Palace last November in Manila and had issued instructions to pursue discussions with the technology entrepreneur to find common areas that Alibaba and the Philippine government could pursue together.
“I will report to the President that there are many elements here that we could use in the Philippines, including in the area of security management,” Dominguez said during his meeting with Ma in Hangzhou.
Dominguez said technology is a powerful tool not only in helping reduce poverty, but also in maintaining law and order.