PH, US companies sign pact for digitalization, energy, health, connectivity

PH, US companies sign pact for digitalization, energy, health, connectivity
Photo from Bongbong Marcos Facebook page

VARIOUS partnerships have been forged between Philippines and United States (US) companies that are seen to boost digitalization, internet connectivity, weather forecasting, as well as the health and energy sectors.

On the sidelines of his attendance at the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting and related activities in San Francisco, California, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. witnessed the sealing of agreements between several Philippines and US-based companies and government agencies.

Atmo Inc., the leading artificial intelligence (AI) meteorology company in the US, signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for the establishment of a high-resolution weather forecasting system for the Philippines using AI technology.

“Atmo and the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) partnership on an AI-powered weather forecasting system will help the Philippines build its climate resilience,” said Marcos, noting that it will be Asia’s largest AI-driven weather forecasting program.

He said the Philippines is in need of such a technology considering that it is one of the countries most affected by typhoons, with an annual average of 20 typhoons that bring heavy flooding and cause billions of pesos in damage to infrastructure and agriculture, and loss of property and even lives.

Meanwhile, the Philippines will get the first satellites solely dedicated to the country to improve connectivity in far-flung areas following the partnership between Astranis and Orbits for the launching of MicroGEO satellites.

The project, worth around $400 million aims to bring internet connectivity to unserved and underserved areas in the Philippines by deploying the first two internet satellites named as “Agila” exclusively for the Philippines.

These satellites are expected to cover up to 10 million users and 30,000 barangays and may create more than 10,000 jobs for direct and indirect employees and partners.

In his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos tagged digitalization as one of his administration’s priority in order to improve the daily lives of the people especially in transacting with the government, as well as for better governance.

Marcos, in his speech during the Philippine Economic Briefing, said the government is focusing on boosting productivity with much improved infrastructures through the administration’s Build Better More program to attract investments that will uplift the living condition of Filipinos.

“And that is what we’re really going for because when we look to successful economies that have had to pick themselves up after war for example, and the Covid was kind of a war so, we have to pick ourselves up from that,” he said.

“It is productivity, it’s an increase in productivity and that’s what we’re trying to achieve. Infrastructure -- the physical infrastructure, a better -- a more efficient transport system, a cheaper transport system, all of these will increase the productivity of every single Filipino worker,” he added.

Marcos also witnessed the deal between the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and the Ultra Safe Nuclear Cooperation (USNC) for a pre-feasibility study on Micro-Modular Reactors (MMRs) to explore clean and sustainable energy options in the Philippines, aligned with the administration’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate change.

The study will enable Meralco to obtain an estimate of the environmental and social impact, capital expenditure, and operational costs, among others, related to the siting, construction, and operation of one or more MMR energy systems in the Philippines.

Marcos was also elated by the partnership between ACH Health and Varian Medical Systems to improve access to quality cancer care in the Philippines, particularly by establishing and running its first dedicated specialty oncology hospital.

Under the agreement, AC Health will establish the Healthway Cancer Care Hospital in the Philippines, which will serve as a network of oncology clinics throughout Metro Manila aimed at providing cancer patients access to comprehensive cancer care utilizing Varian’s state-of-the-art and multimodality cancer care technologies.

Cancer is the third leading cause of death in the Philippines, with about 141,021 new cancer cases and 86,337 cancer deaths every year.

As of November 2023, the Department of Health (DOH) is set to establish 16 Cancer Care Specialty Centers nationwide.

Also for health, Marcos witnessed the signing of a joint venture agreement between Lloyd Laboratories and US-based DifGen Pharmaceutic worth $20 million to boost the local production of medicines in the country. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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