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Go digital, boost PH economy amid pandemic, MSMEs urged

/ 10:25 AM January 31, 2021

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MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sonny Angara on Sunday urged more businesses to go digital in order to remain competitive under the new normal and to boost the country’s economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“We want to see more economic activity this year but we still have to remain cautious as we are seeing a lot of new COVID-19 cases, as well as the new B117 variant of the coronavirus,” Angara said in a statement.

“Easing of restrictions will not happen right away so we have to continue making adjustments to thrive under the new normal,” he added.

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While the economy is expected to rebound after a historic slump last year, Angara said economic growth is still expected to remain sluggish as restrictions to movement are still in place and the roll out of the vaccination against COVID-19 has yet to begin.

He added that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) could help generate more economic activity by moving towards digitalization, which he said many have done already amid the pandemic.

“In the past year we have seen significant growth in our MSMEs. People who lost their jobs due to the pandemic were forced to find ways to generate income and for many of our enterprising kababayans, starting small online businesses was the way to go,” Angara said.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara. INQUIRER.net / FILE PHOTO

Citing data from the Department of Trade and Industry, he said registration of MSMEs soared to 88,000 as of end-2020 from a mere 1,700 before Covid-19 hit the country.

The DTI expects e-commerce to grow from the current 3.4 percent of GDP in 2020 to 4.3 percent this year and to 5.5 percent in 2022, he added.

Angara said the key to success for MSMEs now is to move into e-commerce, which he pointed out will not only expand their market share, but will also be more cost effective than operating physical stores.

“What we need now is to help our homegrown businesses in moving towards digitalization and to have the entire government undergo digital transformation,” he said.

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“We must work doubly hard to provide the infrastructure needed, starting with a fast and stable internet connection in all parts of the country,” he added.

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Angara has filed several bills seeking to make local industries and Filipino professionals become globally competitive and for the Philippines to be able to export more products that are complex and high value.

Among these legislations include the proposed National Digital Transformation, the National Digital Careers Act and the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act.

“We want to see more investments coming into the Philippines and more importantly, generate even more quality jobs for Filipinos so that there will no longer be a need for them to find work outside of the country,” Angara said.

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