Issue of December 3, 2017

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Advocates push for inclusive, wholistic digital economy
by Press release

In the age of digital economy, no one should be left behind.

This was according to advocates who spoke at the seminar on “The Digital Economy: Potential Benefits, Challenges, and Implications for Regulations” jointly organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies and India-based Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International.

On the finance aspect, Lito Villanueva, managing director of PLDT’s financial-technology arm FINTQ, said that while the 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project ranked the Philippines high in three dimensions of financial inclusion – country commitment, mobile capacity, and regulatory environment – it has to improve in the areas of adoption of digital and financial services.

Villanueva said the country needs to provide Filipinos with easier access to formal financial services so that informal lenders and lending, which do Filipinos more harm than good, can be lessened.

“Having no access to formal financial services would make them susceptible to tapping their families, relatives, and friends for a loan, pawnshops, or usurious money lenders,” Villanueva explained.

Capitalizing on the digital era, he also introduced their lending program, “Kasama Ka Community & Income Builder.” The program, which uses digital platforms like computers and mobile phones, aims to encourage “underserved” Filipinos to avail of the different financing services provided by, a one-stop shop for loans. It also provides additional income to those who can refer others to avail of its various loan products.

The advantages of adopting a digital economy should also be considered in the health sector.

Director of UP-Manila National Telehealth Center Raymond Sarmiento emphasized the need for the government to strengthen its efforts in shifting to more digitized systems to be able to provide efficient health services to Filipinos.

The government, Sarmiento said, should invest in big data and analytics to “improve the access to quality health care and decision-making by having quality data that can be collected, stored, utilized, and disposed of afterwards.”

Part of this, he pointed out, can be done by using electronic medical records for health facilities and by investing in surveys and administrative data which can be used as basis for improving deli-very of services.

At present, Sarmiento said that the government has already started its digitization efforts by establishing the national e-health steering committee that oversees the implementations and strategies on e-health initiatives.

The plans for having the Philippine Health Information Exchange, which aims to seamlessly integrate health records and other related data for continuity, accuracy, and efficiency, are also ongoing, he said.

However, Sarmiento warned that these efforts should take into consideration the concerns on data privacy, emphasizing that stakeholders have to carefully plan on how to go about the said projects without compromising the security, safety, and privacy of Filipinos.

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Kings College of the Philippines
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Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan
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Philex Mining Corporation
Pines City Colleges
Province of Benguet
Sangguniang Panlungsod
SM City Baguio
Social Security System

Assumption Medical Diagnostic Center
Baguio Center Mall
Baguio Central University
Baguio Heart and Lung Diagnostic Center Inc.
Baguio Memorial Chapels Incorporated
Baguio Water District
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – CAR
C & Triple A Supermart
Congressman Ronald M. Cosalan
Curamed Pharmacy
Data Center College of the Philippines of Baguio City Inc.
Department of Agriculture – CAR
Department of Environment and Natural Resources – CAR
Department of Trade and Industry – CAR
Department of Transportation – CAR
Easter College Incorporated
Fabulo Beauty and Image Salon
Fast East Pacific Commercial
Filipino–Japanese Friendship Association of Northern Luzon, Inc.
GMS Technology
Immigration Network Services, Inc.
La Funeraria Paz, Inc.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda
MMS Development Training Center Corporation
Mother Earth Deli Basket
National Economic & Development Authority–CAR
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
Philippine Science High School – CARC
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Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board – CAR
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Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

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