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Romualdez eyes tri-nation digital infra project in PH

April 16, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 142 views

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has proposed a partnership among the Philippines, the United States and India in building a digital public infrastructure in the country.

He made the proposal during the Digital Public Infrastructure lecture held on April 15, at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington D.C. where he had a brief chat with Nandan Nilekani, one of the founders of Indian multinational information technology company Infosys.

“I think it is very important for the Philippines, India, and the US to lead in this digital public infrastructure initiative because nations have much to gain from this,” Romualdez said.

The event was part of the World Bank (WB)-IMF Spring Meetings.

He said building public digital platforms “is very much aligned with the campaign promise of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to speed up the country’s digital transformation.”

“This is the reason why the House of Representatives has passed the E-Governance/E-Government Bill, which seeks to shift the entire bureaucracy to the digital space for faster and transparent delivery of services, and for better engagement with the public,” he said.

“Digitalization will definitely prove to be the panacea to the economic problems left behind by COVID-19,” Romualdez said.

Digital public infrastructure is defined as infrastructure that allows people to engage in public and civic life in digital space. It is funded mostly by the government and taxpayers. It is not profit-oriented, unlike privately owned digital platforms that rake in billions mostly from advertising.

Finance Sec. Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Felipe Medalla, and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Sec. Arsenio Balisacan attended the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (WB-IMF) Spring Meetings in Washington D.C. and generated positive and encouraging remarks from businessmen, WB, IMF, and bank officials on the country’s strong economy.

The four members of President Marcos’ economic team had briefed IMF and World Bank officials and potential American investors on the state of the country’s economy.

Romualdez bared that during the event IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva extended her best wishes to the Philippines and its strong economy.

“She is very, very delighted with our attendance and presence during the Spring Meeting of the IMF here in Washington D.C. We look forward to further interaction with the IMF, World Bank, and other leading financial institutions,” Speaker Romualdez said.

In a meeting with President Marcos’ economic team, Speaker Romualdez assured them “that your House of Representatives is very much supportive of the President’s Agenda for Prosperity and 8-point socioeconomic program.”

“We would like to congratulate them for a job well done in presenting the state of our economy to US investors,” Speaker Romualdez said.

In his remarks before prospective investors and IMF and WB officials, Diokno said the 2022-2028 Medium Term Fiscal Framework, which Congress passed shortly after it convened in July last year, “serves as a compass to steer the economy closely along the patch of fiscal sustainability and economic growth.”

“The targets and measures under this framework are firmly supported not only by the President but also by both houses of Congress,” Diokno said.

He cited economic liberalization measures Congress recently approved to attract more foreign investments, such as the amended Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Retail Trade Liberalization Act.

Last year, Diokno said the economy posted “a 46-year record-high growth rate of 7.6 percent.”