San Pedro, Laguna—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with the UnionBank of the Philippines (UBP) and Global Learning Solutions (GLS), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen collaboration and cooperation on digital transformation at the Inauguration of the Union Bank Innovation Campus (UBIC) during the 2022 UnionBank Innovation Festival on 9 September 2022.

“DTI puts science, technology, and innovation at the heart of the country’s industrial policy to grow and develop globally competitive and innovative industries and achieve sustainable, inclusive, and resilient industrial transformation,” Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said.

“We are grateful to the Union Bank of the Philippines and the Global Learning Solutions for partnering with DTI in making the vision for the country’s twin innovation facilities possible,” he added.

Through the partnership, DTI, UBP, and GLS will support the establishment and operation of the Center for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) and the Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory (I4PF). CAIR is among DTI’s initiatives to make the Philippines an AI Center of Excellence and will be instrumental in boosting AI’s contribution to the economy. With the support of private sector partners, the Center will serve as a hub where data scientists and researchers can perform collaborative AI R&D. Complementary to the CAIR, the I4PF will host pilot, demonstration, and learning laboratories for relevant technologies. These include robotics, intelligent manufacturing, and cyber-physical systems.

The facilities will also support the development of the digital economy and the creation of new activities in trade, agriculture, manufacturing, and services and encourage entrepreneurship through the adoption of advanced digital technologies in these sectors.

In addition, the collaboration aims to create a robust startup ecosystem and capacitate enterprises as they pursue digital transformation. It likewise facilitates the expansion of e-Commerce, especially for SMEs across the different regions in the country, and encourages collaboration with industry associations, other government agencies, startups, the academe, and other relevant stakeholders to promote R&D, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Under the agreement, DTI will spearhead activities for collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders. The Department will also champion the establishment and development of CAIR and I4PF, in cooperation with other private sector partners to foster a dynamic and robust Industry 4.0 ecosystem in the Philippines.

On the part of UBP, it will provide the necessary support for the establishment and operation of the CAIR and I4PF, and house the said establishments in the Union Bank Innovation Campus (UBIC) for free. The Bank will also take the lead as the primary industry and digital innovation partner for all the activities and initiatives on digital transformation that shall be executed under the collaboration.

Meanwhile, GLS will serve as the official training and learning partner for all the upskilling and reskilling activities (e.g. workshops, learning sessions, etc.) of SMEs free of charge. It will also provide subject matter experts for digital transformation events and activities organized under the partnership.

The signing of the MOU, which happened on the sidelines of the inauguration of the UBIC, was graced by the attendance of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The first-in-industry Innovation Campus is a five-story smart building envisioned to be a research and development technology hub and a launchpad for game-changing solutions and innovations. The establishment will also house the Asian Institute of Digital Transformation (AIDT).

UBP and GLS jointly established the Asian Institute for Digital Transformation (AIDT) as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to attain their social and economic imperative of helping the public and SMEs through sharing of knowledge in business technology and innovation.

The agreement was made in accordance with the Philippine Innovation Act of 2018, which calls for the government to adopt a broader view in developing its innovation goals and strategies covering all potential types and sources of innovation, including product innovation; process innovation; organizational innovation; and social innovation goals directed at developing new technologies.

“DTI recognizes the need to embrace Industry 4.0 technologies and will continue to pursue digital transformation to enhance productivity and competitiveness, develop new industries, create more and better jobs, and attract new investments,” the Trade Chief said.

“This is just the beginning of our efforts in transforming our country into a pioneer in innovation that will position the Philippines as a Center of Excellence in AI R&D in the region,” he added.

The MOU was signed by DTI Secretary Pascual, UBP President and CEO Edwin Bautista, and. GLS CEO and Founder Roger Collantes. The event was also attended by DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba and other executives from the public and private sectors.  

Date of Release: 12 September 2022