THE evolution of the digital economy lags in the Philippines, even though its citizens lead the world in terms of internet use, an official said at a briefing.
“What the study says is that while the internet users in the Philippines are amongst the most engaged in the world, our digital participation remains low compared to others,” according to Mary Jean T. Pacheco, assistant secretary of Digital Philippines and officer-in-charge of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Consumer Protection Group.
A study conducted by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co. found that digital participation in the Philippines remains low even with internet users who are among the world’s most engaged.
It concluded however that low digital participation “signals sizable headroom for digital economic growth over the medium to long term as incomes grow.”
GoDigital Pilipinas Executive Director and Private Sector Advisory Council member Mishy O. Co said low levels of digital participation indicate a reluctance to use digital tools.
“I think as Filipinos, we are so used to being served by people where there is human touch and intervention. And the reason why we were so engaged in social media is because we are entertained (by the content), which makes it like a service for us,” she said.
“I think (the gap between) the watchers and content creators (is large), and I think that says something about our skills. We are not yet ready to jump into using the digital tools that are available right now because it requires learning something we are not used to,” she added.
Asked how could this be addressed, Ms. Co said: “First is, of course, advocating for and educating people. When we educate people, we also advocate and once we do that, that is the time that we can jump into a movement.”
She added that households should let the younger generations evangelize for the digital movement and allow the older generations to adapt through them.
Ms. Pacheco said the DTI’s E-commerce Roadmap is hoping to implement a Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap (DPTR) encompassing businesses and consumers.
“The first goal in the DPTR is to digitize merchant payments, and we all know that the DTI is promoting the digitalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” she said.
“And another part of the DPTR is to promote financial inclusion … we want more consumers to have access to all of these payment facilities,” she added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile