(Manila, Philippines) – On August 16, 2022, the US-ASEAN Business Council (the Council), in collaboration with IBM, hosted “Digital Transformation in Government,” an event for different government agencies to discuss their initiatives and challenges in shifting to a more digital landscape with their department’s duties and operations. Around forty (40) public officials from different departments and government agencies attended the event.
The event was officially opened by Amb. Michael Michalak, the Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director for the Council, and Mr. Paul Burton, the IBM Asia Pacific General Manager. Both delivered their welcome remarks respectively, highlighting the increasing importance of digitization to the nation and economy amidst globalization and the new normal.
Meanwhile, Atty. Ivan John Uy, the Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology emphasized in his opening remarks the importance and plan of the public sector to be more digital with their operations, citing some examples of current initiatives being done.
In the first session of the program, Mr. Madhavan Vasudevan, the IBM Asia Pacific Chief Technology Officer, identified different opportunities and areas where digital transformation can be applied in the government at present. He also presented three cases of successful government digital transformation from different countries in the region. Afterwards, Ms. Maricel Fernandez, the IBM Philippines Country Technical Sales Leader, moderated an open forum.
The second session consisted of a panel discussion with Ms. Ma. Rosario Charo Enriquez-Curiba, Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Mr. Mamerto E. Tangonan, Deputy Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and Mr. Jonathan Soriano, Director of the Bureau of Customs. The different officials shared learnings and successes in current digitization projects of their respective government agencies. They also shared some key challenges they experienced with regards to their digitization experts, from current legislation to existing infrastructure. The panel discussion was moderated by Atty. Princess Lou Managuelod Ascalon, the IBM Philippines Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive.
In the second panel discussion, Ms. Ma. Francesca M. Del Rosario, Undersecretary of the Department of Budget and Management, Ms. Fita Aldaba, Undersecretary of the Innovation and Competitiveness Group of the Department of Trade and Industry, and Ms. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology shared and identified various inter-agency cooperation scenarios in digital transformation. This session was moderated by Ms. Aileen Jiao, the IBM Philippines Country General Manager.
Finally, Ms. Jiao concluded the event by providing a summary of the discussion and presentation from all sessions. She mentioned the key challenges in digital transformation in the government
from the private sector perspective and provided recommendations on how these challenges can be addressed.
This event was the first of its kind, having been able to get a notable turnout of attendees from different agencies and departments. Besides the speakers, Rep. Joey Salceda, the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and Congressman Teodorico Haresco Jr., the Chair of the Economic Affairs Committee of the House also attended the event. Various ICT officers of government agencies were also present. All-in-all, the event was attended by around fifteen (15) agencies including the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Finance, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, National Economic Development Authority, Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, Congressional Policy Budget and Research Department, Senate, and Congressional Staff. In the end, the event enabled an inclusive dialogue for inter-government collaboration and cooperation.