The Philippines' Position in the Digitalization Race: Discussing the Digital Roadmap

In 2023, the digital economy contributed 8.4 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Philippines, or equivalent to about 2.05 trillion Philippine pesos. The sector employed about 6 million people in 2022 or 13% of the total employment of the population. 

Government Support

In order to foster digital innovation in the nation, the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the Philippine Startup Community have developed the Roadmap for Digital Startups, a short- and long-term strategic plan. This roadmap is designed to modernize infrastructure, enhance digital skills, promote innovation, and create a robust regulatory environment.

A. The Philippines’ broadband infrastructure is modeled around the National Broadband Plan (NBP). The NBP has three strategies to achieve faster and more affordable internet access:

  1. Institute Policy and Regulatory Reforms that target the intervention in development of key issues to support policy and regulatory reforms in telecommunications and ICT sectors. The primary areas of focus are Administrative Reforms and Market Entry.
  2. Government Investment in Broadband Infrastructure for the implementation of the national broadband infrastructure that will work alongside the existing infrastructure of Telecommunication to ensure access to broadband.
  3. Support on the Stimulation of Broadband Demand to sustain the momentum of “push” measures (i.e., development of broadband infrastructure), the government will establish “pull” measures to create demand and eventually, increase broadband take-up rate. The programs will focus on the local content development and promotion of this content, conduct different capacity building and information outreach programs, and introduce incentives to broadband users.

Government has a holistic vision towards digital connectivity. Free Wi-Fi in public areas has been provided by the Department of Budget and Management, approved the release of about P2.5 billion. The government’s free internet access program, which includes building infrastructure for information and communication technology, will be supported by this budget.

Additionally, the two important legislations, the Innovative Startup Act and the Philippine Innovation Act, outlining national policy is also expected to support the development of ICT businesses in the country. The Innovative Startup Act fosters a vibrant innovation ecosystem. International companies can leverage local talent, collaborate on cutting-edge projects, and benefit from government incentives.

Introduction of 5G

The Philippines has experienced economic growth as a result of the deployment of 5G infrastructure. With broadband penetration and extensive 5G coverage, international companies can seamlessly establish and scale their digital presence. This is also supported by digital literacy programs and a focus on STEM education that ensures a continuous supply of tech-savvy professionals. Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones has insisted on sustaining blended learning as learners and students should be able to adapt to digital advancements and technological demands of the future. 

5G infrastructure also plays a crucial role in boosting the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry in the Philippines, the industry that contributes an estimated $29.1 billion to the country’s GDP. 5G mainly offers significantly faster data transfer rates compared to previous generations of mobile networks. This translates to quicker upload and download times for BPO employees, allowing them to handle large datasets, complex tasks, and real-time interactions with clients more efficiently.

The Philippines’ digital roadmap is a strategic initiative aimed at transforming the country into a leading digital economy. By focusing on infrastructure, skills development, innovation, cybersecurity, and e-commerce, the roadmap not only boosts the domestic economy but also creates a favorable environment for international companies. These companies can leverage the improved connectivity, streamlined processes, skilled workforce, innovation ecosystem, robust cybersecurity, and e-commerce facilitation to successfully enter and thrive in the Philippine market. As the Philippines continues to advance in the digitalization race, it offers a dynamic and promising landscape for global business opportunities. Contact ASEAN Business Partners to learn more about the Philippines and its digital Infrastructure, and to help your company enter the Philippine market smoothly and seamlessly with the help of our team.

About the Author

Jun De Dios
EVP for Growth & Strategy | Profile

Jun De Dios is our EVP for Growth & Strategy and he is also our Country Manager for Philippines. Jun was the CEO for AkzoNobel in Vietnam from 2008-13, and then CEO in Indonesia, before being appointed Cluster Director for Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands over the period 2013-2019.