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Travel, trade sectors to benefit from digitalization

THE COUNTRY’S travel and trade sectors could benefit from fully digitizing processes in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Executive Officer Dorjee Sun said.

Mr. Sun said at the BusinessWorld Economic Forum that Filipino seafarers and overseas Filipino workers should have digital identification that would allow them to travel freely, as well as come home safely.

He added that digitalized and blockchain-enabled documentation can be used in place of letters of credit and certificates of origin in trading goods, which could help governments improve efficiency.

“The Philippines is tremendously reliant on travel. It’s a trade hub. It’s a tourism center,” he said.

The shift to digital could also expand sectors like business process outsourcing.

“The other area that’s a powerhouse for you economy, when you look at call centers, business process outsourcing, this absolutely is a chance for the Philippines to expand its work,” Mr. Sun said.

“And the work from home, I think the city of Manila, all of your cities do have terrible congestion because of traffic. How do you really optimize your economy because people can work from home and not have to lose hours a day in terms of transport? How can you add that as income, as economic benefit for the families?”

In terms of digital access, he said the Philippines has good mobile penetration and digital wallet use, but noted Filipinos can also demand for more digitized government services.

Anti-Red Tape Authority Deputy Director General Eduardo V. Bringas said at the same online session that government agencies must be streamlined before they are automated.

The problem of government, he said, is that it functions under siloed systems.

“We tend to have our own kingdoms. In the siloed system, you would enclose yourself to others. You don’t work with other agencies and that is the cause of red tape.”

SAP Southeast Asia Chief Operating Officer Khor Chern Chuen said that he tells his clients  in the private sector not to automate complexity.

“Usually, our advice to our clients is to look at the end-to-end value chain and to digitize them so that you can gain insights that will allow you to further fine-tune your business process and make business decisions,” he said.’s Mr. Sun said traceability and transparency on a digital ledger will be important for purchasing in the future.

He explained that Airbnb, for example, did not streamline hotels but took unused inventory of houses and organized it around an online platform.

“You’re now recreating whole supply chains or recreating whole processes. It is still streamlining, but it’s just totally different.” — J.P. Ibañez

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