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PH, Israel collaborate for digital transformation

By: Nathaniel Mariano

IN AN effort to engage common Filipinos in digital transformation and solutions, technological communities from the Philippines and Israel birthed a collaboration and knowledge partnership during the TechUp Pilipinas held recently in Makati City.

Blockchain Association of the Philippines and Israeli Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines both led the collaboration, which targets to share the best practices about the financial technology landscape in Israel and how the Philippines can improve its own.

BAP President and UnionBank Chairman Justo Ortiz spearheaded the session by encouraging different startups, financial technology companies, and entrepreneurs to learn from one another.

Ortiz expressed that he acquired the inspiration from self-regulatory organizations which “do not choke” the industry.

By learning from other principles-based regulation practices, he believes blockchain companies and other startups can model their own ecosystem in the country.

Blockchain of the Philippines president and Unionbank of the Philippines chairman Justo Ortiz collaborates with Israeli Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Itamar Gero to share best practices about the financial technology landscape in Israel and how the Philippines can improve its own.

“We have a tendency to play in our own sandbox and test and learn by ourselves. But we know that blockchain and other technology is moving very quickly and we need more innovation rather than less,” he said, highlighting the need for the normal individuals to advance as both technology and the Internet progress.

“We need to encourage the community to learn from the best practices happening in other countries and industry players and take inspiration from that,” said Ortiz.

GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications Inc. chief marketing and communications officer Amor Maclang moderated a series of talks joined by ICCP president Itamar Gero, Asia Select chief executive officer and president Gilbert Camasura, Satoshi Citadel Industries co-founder Miguel Cuneta, and the Philippine Association of Digital Commerce and Decentralized Industries and Fintech Advisor to CEZA chairman emeritus Mary Rose Magsaysay.

Gero discussed the environment and situation in Israel which allows for innovation and startup culture.

According to Gero, Israel, while being located in the oil-rich Middle East, lacked natural resources, resulting in limited opportunities for growth. To address this problem, Israel turned their efforts investing towards their people and focusing on the development of innovative industries.

He added that Israel has been dubbed as the Startup Nation – the innovation capital of the world. Also, as per the World Bank, the Jewish country spends 4.27 percent of its growth domestic product on research and the development.

To make the Filipino workforce ready for the advances in technology, Camasura expressed the importance to invest more in people, particularly in tech.

Meanwhile, Cuneta discussed how quickly blockchain in the country progress and the opportunities it possesses for Filipinos to be leaders in this field.

Magsaysay, on the other hand, talked about how the community is formalizing and coordinating with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators for the guidelines of the evolving economic financial tool.

She added that she was broadcasting through the radio every week to reach and educate the common people.

“We talked about it in Tagalog because we want everybody to appreciate what technology can do,” Magsaysay said, adding that they would need to level up and tell the people that they are now organized.

“We are going to work with the government, together with the SEC. We are going to lobby heavily to prove that this technology will cheapen the services of the Filipino people and help them become very whole, so they can help in the development of the country,” she said, further explaining the aim of the talks.

TechUp Tuesday is a monthly initiative targeted to achieve inclusion and access to the digital platform for more Filipinos.

The said initiative will be held every last Tuesday of the month, hosting a series of talks and presentations to help the country in digital transformation.

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