ABAC PH adds dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion, in­fras­truc­ture to its pri­or­ity ar­eas

Sun.Star Pampanga - - BUSINESS! -

The

APEC Busi­ness Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil (ABAC) Philip­pines has added dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion and in­fras­truc­ture to its pri­or­ity ar­eas. Along with its thrusts on MSMEs, Non-Tar­iff Bar­ri­ers, and Ser­vices, ABAC Philip­pines seeks to tackle the im­pact of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies on ed­u­ca­tion and fu­ture jobs and take ad­van­tage of re­gional op­por­tu­ni­ties that may com­ple­ment the na­tional govern­ment’s am­bi­tious in­fras­truc­ture push.

The broad­ened scope of work was an­nounced fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of the first ABAC meet­ing for 2018 in Auck­land, New Zealand last Fe­bru­ary, where these is­sues emerged as highly im­por­tant for the Philip­pines.

Specif­i­cally, ABAC Philip­pines is or­ga­niz­ing a pub­lic-pri­vate task force which will lead in for­mu­lat­ing the strate­gic roadmap for dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion. The en­vi­sioned roadmap will be linked to govern­ment poli­cies, ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem and train­ing pro­grams. This ef­fort is crit­i­cal given that 48 per­cent of the ac­tiv­i­ties of Filipino em­ploy­ees – equat­ing to 18.2 mil­lion jobs – could be au­to­mated, based on a pa­per by in­ter­na­tional con­sult­ing firm McKin­sey. Sec­tors most af­fected in­clude agri­cul­ture, re­tail trade, and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to ABAC Philip­pines chair To­mas Al­can­tara, “Dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion will bring us to the fu­ture. How­ever, many of the jobs we have to­day will dis­ap­pear 20 years from now. What are the skills and the com­pe­ten­cies that a Filipino worker must have to ‘sur­vive’ in the fu­ture? What kind of ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem will we need to pre­pare our chil­dren? These are crit­i­cal ques­tions that must be an­swered to en­sure that the Philip­pines will not be left be­hind.”

The coun­cil also aims to tap into in­ter­na­tional Is­lamic funds which are cur­rently es­ti­mated at US$70.8 bil­lion. It will fa­cil­i­tate the es­tab­lish­ment of bi­lat­eral ar­range­ments of the Philip­pines with economies such as Malaysia to se­cure suc­cess­ful fi­nanc­ing of in­fras­truc­ture pro­jects.

“Ad­e­quate fi­nanc­ing is the lifeblood of in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment in the re­gion. I see the po­ten­tial of Is­lamic in­vest­ments in un­lock­ing in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment hur­dles es­pe­cially in Min­danao,” ac­cord­ing to ABAC mem­ber Joanne de Asis.

Mean­while, Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez ex­pressed his con­tin­ued sup­port for the work of ABAC Philip­pines and shared valu­able in­puts on dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion.

“We are ex­cited for the out­comes of ABAC Philip­pines’ ini­tia­tives. As the govern­ment con­sis­tently pushes for in­no­va­tion, DTI is com­mit­ted to as­sist­ing the coun­cil to en­sure that their pro­jects are aligned with our ef­forts and pri­or­i­ties,” said Sec. Lopez.

DTI has as­signed coun­ter­parts to each of the coun­cil’s work pro­gram. The agency will also as­sist in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ABAC Philip­pines’ lo­cal pro­jects.

As the voice of Philip­pine busi­ness in APEC, the coun­cil will con­tinue to rep­re­sent the pri­vate sec­tor in the sec­ond ABAC meet­ing to be held in Tokyo, Japan this April.

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