Perth — The Philippines highlighted its efforts towards innovation and ease of entrepreneurship in an investment forum hosted by the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre Sydney and Philippine Honorary Consulate in Perth on June 8, 2019 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega opened the forum by sharing the news of the credit rating upgrade of the Philippines to BBB+ by S&P Global. The Ambassador discussed the robust partnership of Philippines and Australia and the tremendous opportunities for further defense cooperation and economic engagement.
With reference to the 75th anniversary of Philippines-Australia diplomatic relations in 2021, the Ambassador said, “Our political-security cooperation, economic engagement and people to people connections, anchored on shared adherence to democracy, rule of law and market economy in the past seven decades, form a strong impetus for the elevation of the relations to new heights.”
Trade and Industry Undersecretary Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba delivered the keynote remarks, where she discussed the Philippine roadmap on “Inclusive Filipinnovation and Entrepreneurship” and the opportunities in AI, startups, and e-commerce as the country moves towards industry 4.0 and new digital age.
The Undersecretary said, “the Philippine start-up ecosystem is young but full of potential and embedded capabilities.” The Philippines continues to develop the legal framework on open access data transmission and cross-border e-commerce, largely in view of the 124.2 million Filipinos that have mobile subscriptions and 71 percent of the population who are active internet users.
“Our vision is to make the Philippines as an AI Center of Excellence in the region focused on data science, analytics, chip design and software development,” she added.
The Philippines established technology hubs in 13 universities to develop AI expertise and regional inclusive innovation centers to promote science and technology driven industrialization. The Philippines was the third fastest growing economy in Asia in 2018 and the high economic growth was driven by manufacturing.
The Undersecretary assured the investors present that the Philippines is crafting a more modern investment incentives scheme. She invited Australia to be part of the economic transformation of the Philippines. From 2010 to 2018, Australia ranked 11th in terms of foreign direct investment into the Philippines.
During the forum, Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton made a presentation on the Austal shipyard in Balamban, Cebu. He said that the largest vessel, by volume, to be ever built by Austal in 30 years is being built in the Philippines. The shipyard in Cebu, which is now bigger than the Austal shipyard in Western Australia, employs around 900 Filipinos. He said the facility is most technologically advanced and added that he gives “great credit to the capability of Filipinos.”