Toral: E-Commerce Summit

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


THIS Saturday, I am organizing the 5th E-Commerce Summit and referring to it as the E-Commerce Entrepreneurs Summit. I am glad that two speakers from Cebu will be joining this event in Manila, namely, Fleire Castro of Third Team Media and Daniel Arcenas of Rural Net.

Fleire is a graduate of my e-learning course partnership with ELearning Edge known as the certified blog and social media entrepreneur program in 2010. From a virtual staff serving foreign clients, I have seen Fleire transform, as she now serves local companies and helps them with their social media presence.

With many getting into social media marketing, Fleire was able to use her online skills in disaster relief coordination at times when it was needed the most. Her experience in this space is so valuable, as not everyone gets the opportunity to do projects with local businesses and use it at a time of great need in our country.

Daniel is a visionary entrepreneur. I was very fortunate to get a glimpse of Rural Net’s early days up to its transformation today as a payment platform connecting rural banks, government, e-commerce players, and consumers. It aims to bridge the unbanked and small businesses through rural banks in the countryside. Its entry in the e-commerce scene will surely broadens the Filipinos’ online potential.

The Rural Net project is something that Cebuanos can be very proud of, especially when it gets implemented in the mainstream and in full scale. It is a legacy project that can help connect more Filipinos in the digital world by doing their real world transaction needs with their nearby rural bank.

With the E-Commerce Law turning 14 years old this year, much has been accomplished, although there is still much that needs to be done. We have to go back to its main spirit. If we want e-commerce to prosper in our country, private sector must take the lead. We have taken a back seat long enough and waited for things to happen and evolve.

But as the startup economy is now booming, the more it is imperative for our government and businesses to embrace e-commerce, especially if it will result in better public service.

Take the case of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. We don’t need automated bureaucratic processes. We need change and efficient registration, filing, payment, reporting, and correction processes that are easy to use for Filipinos. Not the kind of process that hounds entrepreneurs for non-compliance penalties and the like. We have to graduate from that old process, especially with a younger generation enabled to earn online by doing work from home.

It is a must for e-commerce to flourish in the Philippines. Enable all revenue-generating agencies to serve constituents online. Accept online payments and issue electronic receipts. It is time to move forward for the growth of e-commerce in the Philippines.

(digitalfilipino@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 12, 2014.

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