PH economy must speed up digital switch to stay viable—DOF

Published May 26, 2021, 12:41 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Philippines’ chief economic manager said the domestic economy should quickly adapt digitalization to remain viable, otherwise “drown in its wake.”

At virtual groundbreaking ceremonies of Union Bank of the Philippines Innovation Campus, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III saiid that the country’s experience during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for the economy to quickly adjust to the trajectory of modern digital technologies because the old brick-and-mortar business strategy will no longer suffice in the post-pandemic era,.

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“We need to move quickly online, engage our clients through their smartphones, and improve on our internal processes to meet new standards of efficiency,” Dominguez said in a virtual event held today, May 26. “Those that cannot swim in the digital tide will drown in its wake.”

Impact of digital technology has never been more pronounced than in the field of finance, he pointed out, saying the mobility restrictions left the entire banking system with no choice but to rapidly innovate on its processes, products and customer experience.

Apart from the banking industry, Dominguez said other productive sectors of the economy would have to quickly move online.

Dominguez cited Unionbank’s Innovation Campus in San Pedro, Laguna, which is envisioned as a futuristic hub that will develop talent to fuel lender’s digital innovation strategies.

Dominguez welcomed the decision of UnionBank, led by its chairman Erramon Aboitiz, to build the Campus, which he described as “a landmark for the Philippines’ relentless push towards comprehensive digitization.”

“This facility will be a breeding ground for cultivating new talent, evolving new products, and developing new ways to be competitive in the new economy,” Dominguez said.

“I wish UnionBank’s Innovation Campus all the success and look forward to even more fruitful collaboration in this coming period of recovery,” he added.

As a business continuity facility that will function as a back-up of UnionBank’s operations, Dominguez advised the bank to continuously strengthen the cybersecurity safeguards of their digital systems to protect these from potential threats and risks.

During the event, Dominguez also recognized UnionBank’s “well-deserved reputation for cutting-edge innovation” as it has been a reliable partner of the Social Security System (SSS) and the Bureau of the Treasury.

“The Bank has been instrumental in helping us achieve President Duterte’s goal of financial inclusion and a comfortable life for all Filipinos,” Dominguez said.

UnionBank’s five-storey Innovation Campus will feature state-of-the-art facilities such as the Operational and IT Command Centers, security monitoring rooms, modern learning spaces, collaboration areas, cafeteria, dormitories, and health and wellness facilities.