With the new administration in place by July 1, exciting times are up ahead for the Philippines as we face a new set of leaders that majority of the citizenry has chosen to chart a sustainable growth path for the country. It may not be easy, and the road ahead may arguably be filled with its own set of challenges but resilient as we are, there remains to be a bright light waiting to shine on us.
The new administration is progressive enough to look into the advantages of technology (one example is in looking at other options in providing internet connectivity, i.e. satellite, as shared by incoming DICT Secretary Atty. Ivan Uy), to ensure everyone — micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and even individuals like you and me — can reap its benefits. We can only see a strong alignment between the private sector’s financial institutions and the government in forging alliances and sustained collaborations in ensuring that digital is not only enjoyed by those who are tech-savvy but even the masa (public). Such inclusion gives weight to the phrase financial inclusion’ which everyone is looking at if only to make our day-to-day transactions easier.
Of course, we know that the pandemic has hit many of the MSMEs so much that they had to close shop and find another way to transform, and the statistics do not lie. On the contrary, the pandemic has also encouraged individuals to register their own businesses and find new ways of earning income while stuck at home. There is a huge chunk of businesses, in other words, that have started during the pandemic and have inevitably taken advantage of the benefits of going digital.
There is a sense of empowerment achieved when one goes digital. Essentially, you just need a smartphone that is capable of downloading the application and you are all set. Regardless of age, Filipinos are now empowered to look into additional revenue streams without having to go physically to a bank branch just to get the physical money; in fact, most are now transacting digitally with little to almost no cash in their wallet.
One example that has supported such thrust is RCBC’s Diskartech and ATM Go: not only did they help empower Filipinos go digital via their Diskartech app, but their ATM Go was also instrumental in helping DSWD disburse their Social Amelioration Program funds electronically to the recipients, making it hassle-free in getting the money, while in the middle of the pandemic. The service not only provides a platform to do digital payments but also provides additional revenue streams such as referral and other products available in their marketplace such as microinsurance.
Part of inculcating this digital mindset among the citizens isn’t just in addressing financial transactions per se but also an overall sense of financial stability, and where, a microinsurance product can actually play a huge part. Much of the risk in running a business is in not knowing what lies ahead, and products such as microinsurance can provide a lifeline to those MSMEs who may one day struggle to find themselves in a position that their business may be compromised. RCBC’s chief executive vice president, and chief innovation and inclusion officer, and also concurrently the chief Digital Transformation advisor for the Yuchengco Group of Companies and Founding chairman of Fintech Alliance.ph further stresses the point of looking into these budget-friendly products as “pwedeng paghugutan kapag kailangan.” True enough, with how volatile the current circumstances are, it does pay to look into these offerings in order not just to survive but to also thrive in a VUCA world.
Catch the upcoming Hungry Workhorse show streaming online soon to discuss and share more on the available technologies that can benefit the lives of the Filipinos whether as entrepreneurs, freelancers or individuals looking to have a more efficient way of doing things.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the Chief Operating Officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include food innovation, nation-building and sustainability. The author may be reached at email@example.com.