Let me greet the Honorable Mayor Joy Belmonte whom I have been seeing for few years now as the leader of Quezon City where I have been residing for many years now, Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, thank you for the introduction again, the members of the Diplomatic Corps, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant morning to all.

Thank you for the pleasure and privilege of speaking before you today at this “Quezon City Business Summit 2022” on the theme “Future Ready”. Well, I hope I will have some of the energy that the Mayor has created in the room when I make this brief remarks.

Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Indeed, while generally unknowable, the future can be shaped and directed. The process begins with a clear assessment of what is known. And being future-ready means being sustainable, inclusive, and resilient. It means getting ahead in climate change adaptation and mitigation, poverty elimination, and disaster risk reduction and management. We know that Quezon City has been doing all these things already so they are indeed future-ready.

With this summit, Quezon City is poised to take on future challenges. We invite top-notch businesses to consider setting up their businesses here or if they have existing businesses, to expand these businesses. We want them to build high-impact infrastructure projects and by doing so, contribute to the city’s economic development, social services delivery, good governance, and sustainable growth.

The local and international awards that the City has received over the past several years indicate that the Quezon City is ready for future contingencies.[1] Its awards in health and safety, carbon disclosure, and disaster risk management prove that the city is prepared to mitigate climate change and adapt to its profound effects.

Quezon City is ranked highest for locally generated revenues, it’s the richest city, I would say, you know, in the country. So the city has funds to match private investments for undertaking large projects through public-private partnerships (PPP). We’ve heard recently the President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. talking about the partnership that we want to pursue with the private sector. We’re pushing for more PPPs and together build the needed facilities in Quezon City, in partnership with the private sector.

Let me now share how we at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as part of the national government, work to build future-ready business ecosystems. We are fully implementing the recently-adopted policy reforms that create a favorable investment environment in the country for local and foreign investors.

The Ease of Doing Business Act seeks to streamline current systems and procedures of government service. We’ve heard Quezon City talk about how they are doing this themselves, to promote the Ease of Doing Business. In addition, amendments to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investment Act and Retail Trade Liberalization Act make it easier for foreign startups, retailers, and other enterprises to establish business in our country. The Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises, or CREATE Act, updates our incentives regime. These are all available to Quezon City.

What are some of DTI’s strategic priorities for a future-ready economy that may inform Quezon City’s development plans?

One strategic priority of DTI is promoting the application of science, technology, and innovation (STI), including essential digital technologies.

The Quezon City government, as we have heard earlier from the Mayor and from the City Administrator, has already led the way in this area. At the Digital Governance Awards 2021, Quezon City placed second in Customer Empowerment with its Automated Inspection Audit System.[2]

Quezon City was the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s 2020 Best in Inter-Operability, second place, for its I-RISE UP (Intelligent, Resilient and Integrated Systems for the Urban Population). The program connects data and systems with other government offices for the convenience of constituents and improved delivery of public services.

The Batas Quezon City also won the OpenGov Asia Excellence Award for Innovative and Disruptive Use of Technology in Delivering Citizen-Centric Services.

These awards show that Quezon City is DTI’s partner in implementing our STI-driven strategic priorities.

Quezon City, together with the potential investors here in this summit, may consider research and development in artificial intelligence as it hosts some of the top universities in the country, including my alma mater, the University of the Philippines Diliman and the Ateneo de Manila University where I taught parttime for 5 years in my early career.

Another DTI strategic priority is supporting the digital transformation of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the growth of startups.

 Quezon City has thousands of these enterprises.

            As the economy’s backbone, MSMEs need help to meet changing market demands for quality and new products, processes, and business models.

The DTI-Negosyo Center in Quezon City facilitated the recent registration of over 3,000 business names and barangay micro-business enterprises in that center.

The DTI NCR office, through the SME Roving Academy (SMERA) Program, has capacitated existing and potential MSMEs in Quezon City. We have trained over 7,000 Quezon City MSMEs to help them rebuild their operations, especially those that Mayor Belmonte was talking about, which has been closed during the pandemic, rethink their new business models, and accelerate the adoption of digital solutions.

Under two DTI livelihood seeding and recovery programs (Livelihood Seeding Program – Negosyo sa Barangay and Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa Program), our regional office in NCR was able to distribute livelihood kits to hundreds of qualified beneficiaries from Quezon City.

            The DTI-Quezon City partnership has also trained and given free business counseling services to aspiring youth entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses.

            We will also launch an e-commerce platform under the DTI brand to help initiate MSMEs’, who, for the first time, will participate in the digital economy. This digital platform will operate like a virtual shopping mall and give MSMEs access to a broader marketplace. With a few clicks on the computer, firms can set up their digital storefronts within minutes.

            MSME financing will also be incorporated into this platform. With digitalization, data can be accumulated, stored, and processed. Eventually, credit scores can be generated for enterprises and financing provided to them. One of our partners, Union Bank, is already doing this. We will try to expand it with our e-commerce platform.

Meantime, to help businesses recover from the ill effects of the pandemic, our DTI regional office has proactively promoted the financing programs of SB Corporation, which is under DTI and it’s operating here in Quezon City. SB Corp. has approved 1,183 loan applications worth almost PHP357 million, releasing 97% of the amount to borrowers.

A third DTI strategic priority is reconfiguring the export market into industrial clusters.

The first cluster, Industrial, Manufacturing, and Transport (IMT), pertains specifically to aerospace, automotive, and semiconductors. The second cluster, Technology, Media, and Telecommunication (TMT), covers the digitalization of services. The third cluster, Health and Life Science (HLS), involves pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and healthcare services.

These types of industries do not require much phase and they can be established right here in Quezon City. These sectors have immense potential growth as they are currently undergoing global reconfiguration. This is an opportunity for the Philippines and Quezon City to upgrade, diversify, and reposition its global value chain participation in the three industrial clusters.

An additional cluster, the fourth one that we are promoting, is the Modern Basic Needs and Resilient Economy. This cluster refers to basic human needs such as food, shelter, and education. These needs offer opportunities for new investments to support the country’s economic recovery and long-term sustainable and inclusive growth.

I think that Quezon City can leverage its status as the City of Stars in developing the second cluster – Technology, Media, and Telecommunication. For example, in Quezon City we have the UP Ayala TechnoHub, which could be the site for these industries. And as the host of many residential communities, Quezon City can also dig deep into the fourth cluster – producing food products and providing educational services, that is the Modern Basic Needs and Resilient Economy that I was talking about.

I will now share a fourth DTI strategic priority which is promoting and supporting regional development.

To address the country’s regional growth and development disparities, DTI prods regions and urban centers to specialize where they have the most competitive advantage based on their natural endowments.

We have chosen Quezon City, together with Marikina City, as among our two pilot cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) for our Regional Inclusive Innovation Center. To create a robust regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, we have institutionalized coordination among government, academe, and industry leaders in Quezon City.

We will include other stakeholders such as funders, R&D and Science &Technology parks, accelerators and incubators, and other service providers. These platforms will promote a more innovative culture and accelerate the commercialization of R&D outputs in the regions, particularly in Quezon City.

Our regional office has facilitated the establishment of four Shared Service Facilities in Quezon City, including the UP College of Fine Arts Fabrication Laboratory or FabLab, a sewing and bag-making facility, and a craft beer manufacturing plant.

In DTI-NCR’s Food Certification Program, the department organized a seminar on Good Manufacturing Practices for food-related MSMEs in Quezon City. It also gave them free assistance on shelf life and nutritional facts analysis of their products.

            In closing, let me say that we at DTI have put Quezon City in the Hall of Fame for the Most Competitive Highly Urbanized City in the Philippines — after it held the title for four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019. Quezon City stood out for government efficiency, infrastructure, and economic dynamism. It is also exemplary in its campaign for good governance, as we have heard in the talk of Mayor Belmonte, and won awards on anti-red tape. Congratulations again!

Let me say now, Quezon City is future-ready, Quezon City is open for business. Together, let’s make investments happen in Quezon City!

Thank you, and good morning to all.

[1] https://quezoncity.gov.ph/about-the-city-government/lgu-awards/ 

[2] https://quezoncity.gov.ph/about-the-city-government/lgu-awards/

Date of Release: 10 October 2022