Technology And Global Change In The Philippines
Before the pandemic, rapid technological change has already been apparent, especially
in high-income and developed countries. When the COVID-19 hit the world, innovation
acceleration became even more apparent and essential. While the pandemic brought
upon unprecedented challenges and further aggravated existing issues, it also revealed
opportunities for the countries to develop new and emerging technologies and repurpose
The Philippines, through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has demonstrated the potentials of reinventing the available technologies such as developing local COVID-19 RT-PCR detection kit which technology platform was initially used for dengue; a telemedicine device that measures the vital signs of patients; an epidemiological modeler software to monitor the COVID-19 spread; and 3D printing for face shield frames and various hospital items. The Department also supported new innovations such as designing specimen collection booths, developing local ventilators, and creating a travel management system application.
While rapid technological change brings promising benefits, these advances may also worsen the inequalities within and between countries. UNCTAD’s Technology and
Innovation Report 2021 states that “developing countries face three main challenges in
promoting equal access to the benefits of frontier technologies which are higher income
poverty, digital divide, and shortage of skills”. The Philippines supports the suggestion of UNCTAD that “to overcome these challenges, governments and international community need to guide new and emerging technologies so that they support sustainable
Ladies and gentlemen, for the governments to successfully create an enabling environment and ensure that the benefits of the technologies are shared by everyone, all sectors in the society must be engaged. Governments must collaborate with the private sector, the academic and research institutions, the non government organizations, and the civil society. The Philippines built partnerships between enterprises/businesses and universities or government R&D institutions through the Department’s program called Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage the Philippine Economy.(CRADLE).
Due to the physical restrictions put in place to protect the people from COVID-19,
societies shifted to digitalization. From e-commerce, to communications, to online
learning and jobs, and to delivering services, digital transformation became a means to
continuously perform the people’s daily activities. Recognizing the great digital divide, the
Philippines promotes connectivity through the National Broadband Program for upscaling
the country’s infrastructure and through the Free Wifi for All Program. While we call for
universal access to the internet, we must also protect the safety of the users online
through transparency, data privacy, and data security.
The pandemic calls for strengthened international cooperation. It is high time that we extend a helping hand to one another, may it be through North-South, South-South, triangular, regional, or multilateral cooperation. The nations’ efforts to recover would be stronger, more resilient, and more sustainable if they are collective.
Excellencies, we must make science and technology work and overcome the crisis without leaving each other behind.