Speech by Paulius Kuncinas, OBG Managing Editor for Asia, at CEO Business Forum

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Titled ‘Staying Alive in the Digital World’, the event, which was organised by the accountants Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A) Grant Thornton and supported by Oxford Business Group (OBG), took place on October 27 at the New World Makati Hotel, Manila.  

In his speech, Kuncinas highlighted the pivotal part that digital technologies were already beginning to play in reshaping public services, particularly the regulatory environment. “If properly implemented, e-government will make a real difference to businesses and people,” he said. “It represents a powerful force of change.”

Kuncinas highlighted some of the benefits that online services in areas such as customs, procurement, tax and licensing were expected to bring. “Access to timely information, faster decision-making, project pipeline visibility and faster registrations are all positives coming under the umbrella of an improved business climate and reduction in bureaucracy,” he said.

Major projects, including the e-government masterplan, the public key infrastructure and the fibre optic cable connecting 160 government agencies in Metro Manila, would provide the foundations for the next digital milestones, Kuncinas added, led by the much-anticipated digital payment system for online services.

“This landmark will eliminate face-to-face contact, facilitate faster online transactions, reduce paperwork, do away with cash payments and increase transparency,” he commented.

Kuncinas told the audience that the opportunities for the business community to help develop the Philippines’ e-government eco system were considerable. “Smart system design and integration, digital platforms, data services, legal and accounting services, software and security are just some of the areas holding plenty of potential for private sector input,” he said.

The digital drive, including the development of e-government services, is one of many topics set to be analysed in The Report: The Philippines 2016, Oxford Business Group’s forthcoming publication on the country’s economy. The publication will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure and other sectoral developments. The Report: The Philippines 2016 will be available in print or online.