Cooperation between Philippines and Singapore in Developing New Technologies Urged

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Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Friday the Philippines and Singapore should tap each other’s strengths and explore opportunities for cooperation in developing new digital tools and technologies to take advantage of the growth of start-up companies in the region.

Singapore has positioned itself as a center for innovation, research and development, which the Philippines can complement with the intellectual capital of its highly talented, tech-savvy, and young workforce, Dominguez said.

Dominguez, at the same time, urged the Singaporean business community to “take a much closer look” at the investment opportunities in the Philippines that have been enhanced by the country’s strong fundamentals, fiscal stamina, pro-business environment, and effective governance.

Singapore has positioned itself as a center for innovation, research and development, which the Philippines can complement with the intellectual capital of its highly talented, tech-savvy, and young workforce, Dominguez said.

He said this would provide Singapore the opportunity to create an ecosystem for its leading start-ups to establish their presence in the Philippines and could likewise be instrumental in helping Filipino start-up companies to flourish.

Dominguez said he looks forward to more comprehensive dialogues with Singapore and the rest of the Philippines’ fellow members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on how they can make their regional partnerships more dynamic to enhance each other’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dominguez said he looks forward to more comprehensive dialogues with Singapore and the rest of the Philippines’ fellow members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on how they can make their regional partnerships more dynamic to enhance each other’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will not recover alone. The best way forward for the region is to resume integration and cooperation in earnest,” Dominguez said in his keynote speech at the virtual Philippines-Singapore Business Conference held this afternoon.

“We are each other’s best allies in recovery. We create products for each other’s consumers. A surge in demand later this year should translate into an expansion of our manufacturing activities and more robust investment flows,” he added.

The virtual event held via Zoom was organized by Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap.

Aside from Dominguez, the conference also included Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, who is president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), as speakers.

Dominguez said the “forward-looking event signals that the Philippines is back in business despite the pandemic.”

“I urge the Singaporean business community to take a much closer look at the investment opportunities in the Philippines,” Dominguez said. “I hope that our strong fundamentals, fiscal stamina, pro-business environment, and effective governance will continue to make us a promising investment destination for Singaporean investors.”

Dominguez cited the Duterte administration’s policy of fiscal prudence to maintain the Philippines’ strong financial position ahead of the pandemic, its tax reform measures and improved tax administration that raised funds for the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program, universal health care (UHC) and other priority projects, as among the factors that have helped the country face the pandemic “with strength on the fiscal front.”

Dominguez said President Duterte’s policies and reforms allowed the country to afford a responsible level of deficit spending to cover its COVID-19 response measures, which included emergency subsidies for low-income families and workers of small businesses; assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and the expansion of medical resources to fight the pandemic.

“Although we undertook emergency borrowing to support our budget deficit, our debt load remained within a sustainable threshold,” Dominguez said.

He said the Philippines is now focused on “opportunities in the horizon” following the global health and economic crises triggered by the pandemic.

“Despite lingering problems with fully suppressing infections, the mood is now more hopeful. The Philippine economy continues to demonstrate strength and resilience in adverse conditions,” Dominguez said.

While the Philippines is recovering from the pandemic, Dominguez said he expects the government to easily fulfill its funding requirements for this year on the back of a healthy liquidity situation and available policy tools to sustain a low-interest rate environment.

The Philippines’ high credit ratings, unprecedented volumes of international reserves, strong currency, and enhanced revenue collection efforts will also support the country’s economic recovery program, he said.

Dominguez said “Build, Build, Build;” the accelerated rollout of the national ID system, electronic invoicing, and digitization of frontline services; and stimulus measures to ensure the active participation of the private sector in the economic recovery program will also strengthen Philippine efforts to bounce back from the pandemic.

“We believe that a strong private sector is the key to our recovery strategy. Along with the national vaccination program, we continue advancing the policy reforms required to ignite business activity and restore consumer confidence,” Dominguez said.

“These key reforms will ensure a nimble bureaucracy able to support our businesses to recover from the pandemic. These will also increase the flow of investments that we need to fuel our long term growth,” he added.

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