The first virtual National Export Congress (NEC) 2020 underscores “Digitalization Boost: Invigorating Exports in the New Normal” as its theme this year. The recently concluded event was a success with a broader audience reach nationwide, having participated virtually by over a thousand participants via Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube on 03 December 2020.
The NEC is the highlight event of the National Exporters Week (NEW). Every first week of December is the annual celebration of the NEW per Presidential Proclamation No. 9931, s. 1996 and House Resolution No. 33. It highlights the government and private sectors’ commitment to continuously work together to sustain export promotion and development, especially in this most trying time of the pandemic.
The Plenary Session
During the first panel discussion, the private sector speakers tackled the Road to Digital Transformation, focusing on Manufacturing, Logistics, Payment Systems, and Skills Upgrading and Retooling. These are viewed as essential to invigorate exports in the new normal.
Mr. Perry Ferrer, EMSI President, emphasized that the future of manufacturing is to prepare learners for the future. Technology should be maximized for the near future, and prepare the work system’s flow through maximizing human resources’ productivity and efficiency. Albeit these undertakings, the inevitability of challenges are still paramount in consideration – there is still a question of the Government’s support, funding, and lack of infrastructure.
Ms. Maria Ana Leticia Pascual, GCash Head of Key Merchants and Acquirers, discussed the payment system used amid the pandemic. Noting Record-breaking growth as Gcash users had three (3) times more monthly active users than before the pandemic. People quickly adapted to the digital lifestyles and online payment system, which gives them ease of contactless transactions. Covid-19 has brought a driving shift to online behavior: the emergence of a non-contact revolution and virtual communities, and continuous navigation through financial volatility. With these, GCash is doing its part to keep the Philippine economy moving.
Mr. Pierre Carlo, Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines’ President, presented the effects of Digitalization on Logistics: On the demand-side, shorter lead times and order status transparency are observed. On the other hand, the supply-side’s impact is the disruption of traditional supply chains and the rise of technology-driven new entrants. However, despite these repercussions, opportunities can still be foreseen for incumbents – digitalizing manual/analog processes can shorten lead times, and utilizing and integrating technology can enable order transparency. Hence, Digitalization is an act of survival.
Mr. Antonio L. Sayo, EDC Member, TVET Representative, and PCCI & German International Cooperation Lead Technical Expert of K12+ Project, highlighted the following in upskilling and reskilling towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): 1) the shift of the global market to practices focusing on achieving pertinent United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals is an avenue for the PH manufacturers and exporters to upgrade their enterprises’ position vis a vis their current and future markets abroad, and 2) in the process of upskilling and reskilling its workforce, the Philippine companies can incorporate pertinent SDGs and embedding such factors as green environment, alternative energies, water preservation, and gender balance among others unto their work plans and programs.
Speakers from the government sector further discussed how the government responded to Digitalization’s need. DICT Asec. Manny Caintic, BSP Dir. Melchor Plabasan, DTI Asec. Mary Jean Pacheco and TESDA ED Bungallon shared their agencies’ initiatives to strengthen e-commerce, digital financial services, network connectivity, and online learning.
The DTI prepares programs and projects concerning the e-commerce triple S=S; Security, Speed, Structure, and Sales framework to embody the phrase “Basta E-Commerce MADALI (Market Access DigitAlization Logistics Integration). On the other hand, BSP has created a 3-year payment transformation roadmap focusing on digital payment streams, digital finance infrastructure, and digital governance standards. Increased cell tower construction is expected since the LGUs relaxed permitting requirements and approved almost 3,000 permits for the said construction reported by DICT Dir. Padre. Further, DICT’s Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) system provides digital signatures among government agencies and the transacting public for faster and paperless transactions. ED Bungallon shared TESDA’s utilization of delivering virtual services to their students through the National Technical Education and Skills Development (TESD) Plan 2018-2022 that teaches global competitiveness, workforce readiness, and social equity.
Since e-commerce is the greatest equalizer, DTI Asec. Pacheco mentioned ‘e-commerce partners with e-government. Hence, the government assures regulatory compliance and quality measures to prevent trade malpractices online. For those online sellers and buyers who experienced fraud, fully documented complaints can be filed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unethical business conduct will be sanctioned, as stipulated under the Philippines’ Consumer Act, with a fine of PHP500.00-PHP300,000 depending on the offense’s gravity. On the other hand, BSP Dir. Plabasan advised stakeholders to be vigilant and to practice proper cyber hygiene to prevent security breaches in conducting online financial services.
The Top Exporters Award 2019
The Top Exporters Award is conducted annually as a highlight of the NEC. This year’s awardees are based on their 2019 export performance, which has exhibited excellence and innovation in the country’s goods and services exports and tops in contributing to the country’s export revenues. This recognition proves the strong partnership between the government and the private sector to pursue the country’s inclusive and sustainable export development.
Top Exporter Award
The following exporters have achieved the highest value of a 1-year stellar record of export revenue performance for 2019 in their respective sectors based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data.
- 1. Electronics: SFA SEMICONDUCTOR PHILIPPINES CORPORATION
- 2. Machinery and Transport Equipment: B/E AEROSPACE B.V.
- 3. Ignition Wiring Sets (Motor Vehicle Parts): LEAR AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES (NETHERLANDS) B.V. PHILIPPINE BRANCH/LEAR CORPORATION
- 4. Fresh Bananas (Fresh Fruits): SUMIFRU (PHILIPPINES) CORPORATION
- 5. Minerals: PHILIPPINE SINTER CORPORATION
- 6. Metal Components: TOYOTA AISIN PHILIPPINES, INC.
- 7. Chemicals: PETRON BATAAN REFINERY/PETRON CORPORATION
- 8. Coconut Oil: NEW DAVAO OIL MILL, INC.
- 9. Garments & Apparel: L & T INTERNATIONAL GROUP PHILIPPINES, INC
- 10. Processed Foods and Beverages: UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION
- 11. Travel Goods & Handbags (Leather Goods): SIGLO LEATHERWARE MANUFACTURING, INC.
- 12. Woodcrafts & Furniture (Builders Woodworks): SCAD SERVICES PTE LTD
Most Outstanding Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters Plus Program (RIPPLES) Plus Award (Luzon/Visayas/Mindanao)
These are the SME exporters who penetrated global markets in 2019, based on the companies’ export transactions provided by the PSA.
- 1. Luzon: PETER PAUL PHILIPPINES CORPORATION
- 2. Visayas: CELEBES COCONUT CORPORATION
- 3. Mindanao: PHILBEST CANNING CORPORATIOn
Services Excellence Award
These companies offer services and have shown an exemplary contribution to the export industry and exhibited excellence in their respective fields.
1. IT-BPM Sector (Software Development): ADVANCED WORLD SOLUTIONS, INC.
2. Animation Services: ANIMATION VERTIGO ASIA, INC.
3. Excellence Award under Knowledge Process Outsourcing Sector: ADEC INNOVATIONS, INC.
4. Franchising Services Sector: POTATO CORNER OF CINCO CORPORATION
Hall of Fame Award
These are the companies with the highest export revenues in the last three (3) consecutive years in their respective sectors based on PSA data.
- 1. Motor Vehicle Parts Sector (Ignition Wiring Sets): LEAR AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES (NETHERLANDS) B.V. PHILIPPINE BRANCH/LEAR CORPORATION
- 2. Fresh Fruits Sector (Fresh Bananas): SUMIFRU (PHILIPPINES) CORPORATION
- 3. Chemicals Sector: PETRON BATAAN REFINERY/PETRON CORPORATION
- 4. Garments and Apparel Sector: L & T INTERNATIONAL GROUP PHILIPINES
- 5. Woodcrafts and Furniture (Builders’ Woodworks): SCAD SERV L & T INTERNATIONAL GROUP PHILIPPINES
The She Trades PH Hub Launch
The SheTrades PH Hub, a project of the DTI-EMB in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC-Geneva) in collaboration with the DTI Regional Operations Group, was also launched during the NEC.
This aligns with government initiatives to empower women’s economic activities and businesses. It showcases PH women-owned businesses who are successfully navigating the new normal, are gaining competitive advantage through their digital transformation and will be able to access more global trade opportunities through the ITC SheTrades initiative. SheTrades Hubs contribute to the overall SheTrades goal of connecting 3 million women to global markets by 2021.
And though the pandemic poses challenges, digitalization was proven to be the key to improve production and supply chain, manage risks, and create crisis-resistant industries to invigorate export. Also, harmonious collaboration among the government, the private sector on the policy environment, and the Filipino people’s resilience are necessary to build on the Philippines’ competitive edge. KJS/ MRJ