Pilipinas Conference 2022 with the theme of “Business Value Creation: Paving the Path for Inclusive Growth.” We panel discussions have indeed been packed with insights into the vital role of business in nation-building.

In the first panel, sustaining the Philippines growth momentum amid physical challenges and global uncertainties, I understand that there were discussions on how private sector investments contributed to rebuilding our economy, generating jobs, achieving development goals, and boosting resilience through multiple-level stakeholder partnerships.

In the second panel, balancing recovery with progressive development through Global cooperation, I understand and I caught part of it, we heard from international partners, we could realize opportunities for increased productivity development through trade investments in improved business environment and investment climate.

In today’s third and last session, leaders of the Country’s blue-chip companies given insights on creating long term value for all stakeholders.

We create long term value for all stakeholders when we are responsive to the needs, not just our shareholders, but also other stakeholders—employees, suppliers, customers and community we, all know this.

Private sector is the engine of economic growth. The private sector is also a crucial partner in achieving the Country’s green, sustainable, and inclusive development. Beyond corporate social responsibility, corporations should also plan and implement sustainable and inclusive development programs in partnership with the government and the local and national levels.

Government creates long-term value by building relationships with and among stakeholders. It links knowledge and skills, capital and resources and the all important market players to each other.

The current administration for example, established the Private Sector Advisory Council to link government and the private sector. This council or PSAC comprises a diverse group of the nation’s top CEOs from various industries, it is tasked to promote government and private sector collaborations. Seeking to create intra and inter regional links among businesses, government, and the academe. the Department of Trade and Industry, my Department, introduced the regional inclusive innovation centers, or RIICs.

These hubs connect various stakeholders and address gaps in every region’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. The RIICs are one of our drivers for inclusive growth in the region, along with multi-stakeholder investment planning and promotion. The RIICs are expected to address the inequalities in regional development and if we address these disparities and regional development, we can claim that we have achieved inclusive growth. But we cannot talk of inclusive growth without focusing on MSME development, the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises.

One of DTI’s strategic priorities is the linking of large corporations with MSMEs to develop supply and value chains in the national and global level. Aside from addressing gaps in the value chains and the suppliers value chains, these links will help us graduate micro to small, small to medium and medium to large enterprises.

We have designed and launched programs to help make sure MSMEs are on par and ready to work with large corporates. One of our priorities in DTI is to upgrade, upskill, and upsize MSMEs. By the way, MSMEs in terms of number constitute 99.5% of the total number of enterprises or companies in the Philippines. For MSMEs to continue to upscale, we are addressing constraints their access to finance, technology and markets.

To help MSMEs access financing, DTI is developing a number of instruments that will cater to MSMEs in different capacities. For example, we have a grant-matching facility that supports agri-business, addressing gaps in food value chain in selected regions. We also have other financing programs through the Small Business Corporation or SBCorp.

To help ease MSMEs’ access to services including technology and skills, we have established 1,344 Negosyo Centers throughout the country. These centers serve as mentoring hubs and provide business development services. To further on helping, small businesses including large businesses improve their technological situation, we are adopting the industry 4.0 technology through the establishment of a center for Artificial Intelligence Research and the industry 4.0 Pilot Factories. These are two innovation hubs that we are in the process of setting up.

In partnership with UnionBank and Global Learning Solutions, we launched the Center for Artificial Intelligence Research in Laguna back in September, couple of months ago. This AI Research Center is a hub, where data scientists, researchers, can perform collaborative AI, R&D.

This center will help mainly small businesses, but its capacity for R&D is also available to large enterprises. We know that the super large enterprises in the Philippines already access AI research through international outfits in places outside the country, but you bring one year to be able to serve the needs of smaller enterprises.

Complementary to the AI Research Center, we’re establishing the industry 4.0 pilot factory. This pilot factory will be a demonstration and learning site for relevant technologies. These relevant technologies include robotics, intelligent manufacturing and cyber physical systems. The pilot factory to be set up in BGC, Taguig will be a space where businesses, researchers and universities will have hands on lessons on robotics,

automation and smart factory, among others. We will soon be able to bring equipment donated by Siemens of Germany into this facility. When we were visiting Singapore a couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to visit the pilot factory that Siemens established in Singapore, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to replicate in the Philippines.

We believe that by developing MSMEs, we can achieve inclusive growth, and to develop them we need to gear them toward science, technology and innovation and we’re providing the means for doing that.

DTI has also conducted industry consultations on DTI’s science, technology and innovation-based industry strategy for the next six years. This industry strategy focuses on 4 industry clusters: (1) Health and Life Sciences (HLS); (2) Technology Media Telecommunications (TMT); (3) Industrial Manufacturing and Transport Industries (IMT); and (4) basic needs of a resilient economy.

The first three will avail of the opportunities that have opened up as industry streams restructured in response to disruptions that are happening even before the pandemic. You know, the rapid changes in technology and then when the pandemic came, another set of disruptions and now the war in Eastern Europe is a cause for a lot of distractions as well. And there are opportunities created by those changes, like for example the idea now that for large international companies. This rely on one country source.

So there’s now diversification of supplying sources and the Philippines will try to catch some of those additional facilities set up for alternative supply sources, or for those that will exceed certain countries to another friendlier location.

To zero in on the need for a strong linkage between educational competencies and industry workforce requirements, DTI launched in June 2021, the Philippines Skills Framework or PSF, an inter-agency effort to build the skills and competencies for the Country’s workforce toward the needs of the future economy. It involves the development of sector-specific skills framework that will address stakeholders’ concerns: guide the Country’s workers in skills enhancement, help employers design progressive talent development plans, and assist educators in revising existing curricula or designing new courses that are more relevant and responsive to current industry needs and emerging market manpower demands. Priority sectors include construction; creatives; food (agriculture, fisheries) health and wellness; Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM); logistics and supply chain; manufacturing; and tourism.

As we participate in the ongoing potential growth, industries that we have identified, we need to be mindful of the stakeholders involved. Living wages good working conditions for employees, their contracts for our suppliers, customer-focused products and services, community centered activities.

Only in doing so can we realize shared prosperity fall and inclusive growth. Last month, I was in Brussels trying to negotiate renewal of our GSP+ coverage and there are

conditionalities there. Some of the conditionalities fair to our shared stakeholders, particularly labor and environment. I’m trying to explain to them what we do.

Thank you all for listening to me, basically I thank the business community for its solid commitment to the Country’s growth and development for being our partner for many years now in creating and managing opportunities for the Philippines, seeking new areas of cooperation. We look forward to many more years through full partnership. I encourage you to be part of the Philippine growth story and let it be an inclusive growth. Let’s make inclusive, resilient, and sustainable growth happen in the Philippines.

Thank you and again good afternoon to all!