• By The Financial District


As the country’s enterprises recover from the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is pushing for building the resilience of the country’s industries by making Philippine manufacturing smarter.

This was the theme of the recently concluded virtual Manufacturing Summit 2020, DTI’s annual gathering of key stakeholders from the public and private sectors to review the performance of the country’s manufacturing sector and consider ways forward in its development.

“Innovation in our industries will be key to sustained competitiveness and development in the ‘New Normal’. The silver lining with the pandemic is that it is catalyzing the adoption and utilization of advanced digital technologies among our enterprises,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

He added: “We need to stay the course to sustain the resurgence of local manufacturing, which should involve the digital transformation of our industries. To be resilient, Philippine manufacturing must evolve – faster, better, and smarter.”

The Summit covered discussions on government policies and programs to renew the national economy; future-proofing the country’s manufacturing enterprises through new business models and robust supply chains; and accelerating technology adoption and innovation among Philippine enterprises.

Aside from featuring speakers from DTI, including Competitiveness and Innovation Group Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba and Industry Development and Trade Policy Group Undersecretary and Board of Investments Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo, the Summit featured presentations by experts from Deloitte Southeast Asia, McKinsey Singapore, Siemens, TÜV SÜD, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the World Bank.

From the perspective of the private sector, Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala highlighted that “both the public and private sectors will have vital roles to play, not only in rebuilding the country’s manufacturing capacity but also in transforming it for greater global relevance.”

“The private sector can complement and support the government’s efforts to build a strong and sustainable manufacturing base by creating new jobs aligned with the post-pandemic economy, helping reskill the workforce, and localizing the high-value, complex capabilities required for long-term national competitiveness,” he added.

Across the Summit’s three sessions, major themes were brought to the fore. First is the importance of government support in fostering innovation among the country’s enterprises and ensuring an enabling policy environment for the manufacturing industry towards promoting technology investment, adoption, and utilization.

Second is the importance for firms to accelerate their digitalization, adopt flexible and adaptive business operations, and enhance the capacities and skills of their workforce through existing advanced technologies and new business models in order to be more competitive, resilient, and more productive in the post-pandemic future.

And third is that the collaboration among government, industry, and the academe will be key to facilitating the digital transformation of local enterprises and will be crucial to better prepare the country’s industries and workers for future disruptions.