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Diokno showcases PH digital connectivity agenda at EU-led Global Gateway Forum

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno showcased to world leaders the Philippines’ digital connectivity agenda during the European Commission-led Global Gateway Forum on October 26, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.

In a thematic session on digital infrastructure, Secretary Diokno shared with fellow panelists the Philippine government’s strategies to accelerate the implementation of digital connectivity projects, noting that higher public spending on infrastructure, opening key sectors of the economy to foreign participation, and harnessing private capital and expertise through public-private partnerships (PPPs) are critical to narrowing the digital divide.

“These projects and other initiatives will be instrumental in connecting markets in urban and rural areas, expanding supply chains, simplifying public and private transactions, improving the educational system, and more. We are striving forward to ensure digital inclusion for all Filipinos and to foster an enabling environment for innovation,” the Finance Secretary said.

He further noted that the Philippines has put at the forefront of its agenda the implementation of digital connectivity projects in the government’s priority infrastructure flagship projects list.

“We have identified some 197 big-ticket projects worth about 154 billion US dollars. Out of that, five projects are connected to [digital] interconnectivity, worth about 1.7 billion US dollars,” Diokno explained.

These include the Digital Transformation Centers (Upgraded Tech4Ed Project), National Broadband Program, National Government Data Center, Philippine Identification System, and Road Transport Information Technology Infrastructure Project Phase II (LTFRB IT).

Secretary Diokno added that the Philippine government has made necessary reforms to the PPP policy framework to fully harness PPPs as an additional mode of financing for digital infrastructure.

“Recognizing that all governments face budget constraints, we strengthened the PPP mechanism. In fact, we recently consolidated all the laws on PPPs into one law, making the system more efficient, faster to implement, and simpler,” he remarked.

The digital infrastructure session shone a spotlight on