BAGUIO

Tibaldo: Vision 2020 -- riding high with digital economy

Consumers atbp.

I'D LIKE to look at 2020 as a promising year that can lead and direct anyone today to their set goals or planned destinations. During my first government job at the Philippine Information Agency, my driving eye test in 2000 marked a 2020 vision and I even earned a sharpshooter mark in a Cal.45 rapid-fire fun games during a dual-meet with media and Philippine Military Academy personnel.

Four years after, I saw myself needing a reading glass as I spent most of my working time in-front of a computer in my new office that promotes trade and industry and facilitate consumer needs. There was also a time during the first decade of the new millennium when my agency distributed personal computers for public schools for use by recipients in educating their students with digital technology. Said program was funded by the Government of Japan that envisions to raise and enhance the IT skills of Filipino youth as the country's future knowledge workers. Computer laboratories were established in public high schools and teachers were trained in implementing computer education curriculum in recipient schools with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Education (DepEd) partnering to help public high schools catch-up with the emerging trend of digitalization and massive use of information technology. It was also during that period when I decided to keep my old analog gadgets and start toying with the idea of establishing a media museum.

Almost certainly, we are now fully engrossed with a wide range of day-to-day economic activities that use digitized information and IT-based knowledge. The internet, e-commerce, social media and other new digital technologies are used to collect, store, analyze, and share information digitally and transform social interactions. The digitization of the economy creates benefits and efficiencies as digital technologies drive innovation and fuel job opportunities and economic growth. The digital economy also permeates all aspects of society, influencing the way people interact and bringing about broad sociological changes.

Asia's digital transformation according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) two years ago is already having a massive impact on the region's economies. In February of 2018, Asia's e-commerce transactions account for 25 percent of the business to consumer market in the world with China based companies like Alibaba finding a niche at the top.

While Asia continues to benefit from this digital transformation, ADB however warns that there are new issues related to trust, privacy, and transparency also need to be addressed as Asia's digital transformation intensifies. Though we haven't realized the full potential of digital technology due to weak or poor information and communication technology infrastructures including inadequate skills, we hope to level up with all the information technology based platforms and not only as the global No. 1 social media users.

With January being the busiest month for business registration in all the localities in the country, I noticed that hundreds of applicants still flock to government offices in person while some services can actually transacted online. In applying for a business name for example, there is a three online process at bnrs.dti.gov.ph with easy steps that applicants can follow to apply and renew including procedures to pay online after which they can download and print their certificates of registration.

This is part of the streamlined procedures in front-line government agencies to spare applicants from long lines and waiting time. Considered as a landmark legislation by the new administration, this actually supports the "Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act or RA 11032 of 2018," designed to make businesses in the country more promising and conducive to investments.

One of the most interesting provisions of the Act is the Zero-Contact Policy under Section 7, which states that "Except during the preliminary assessment of the request and evaluation of sufficiency of submitted requirements, no government officer or employee shall have any contact, in any manner, unless strictly necessary with any applicant or requesting party concerning an application or request." With this, I look forward to a more robust and leveled-up implementation of laws and government plans including developmental infrastructures for the year 2020 and I also hope not only to ride along the proverbial information super-highway but to actually cruise on the paved skyways from Bocaue, Bulacan to Batangas City of Batangas and soon to the connecting road channels down to Davao City on Mindanao.


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