Photo: Dignitaries of the 5th CALABARZON Economic and Financial Forum: [top row, from left to right] BSP Deputy Director Cherryl R. Ofracio, GCash AVP Racquel B. Holazo, and BSP Officer Marie Kristine V. Pajarillo; [middle row, from left to right] PayMaya Regional Business Leader Joshua Jerald Deomano, PSA Regional Director Charito C. Armonia, and NEDA Regional Director Luis G. Banua; [bottom row, from left to right] BSP Lucena Acting Deputy Director Carina P. Del Rosario, and BSP Regional Operations Managing Director Rosabel B. Guerrero. All are listening attentively to the opening remarks of Dir. Guerrero.

The 5th CALABARZON Economic and Financial Forum with the theme, “Bridging Digital Gaps: Making Economic and Financial Information Available to All”, was successfully held virtually on October 29, 2020.

The forum was conducted to inform the public on the safe use and practicability of digital technologies, particularly those involving financial transactions. The use of online financial transactions is a key driver for economic growth that will boost the national and regional economy. Digital transformation is seen as one of the methods to help the economy recover from the unpleasant effects of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Despite the challenges of low digital adoption, the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, and the CALABARZON Regional Development Plan 2017-2022, already identified strategies to facilitate digital transformation in the new normal,” said Dir. Luis Banua of NEDA Region IV-A. Some of the strategies are providing access to economic opportunities such as expanding e- commerce and offering convenience to business financing and financial services; encouraging private sector participation and promoting competitiveness among them; accelerating ICT-related infrastructure development, and developing human capital. “All state-of-art- and modern technologies will be useless without the human resources needed to utilize these technologies,” said Dir. Banua.

Financial experts shared the various digital channels of monetary transactions in coping with the “new normal”. The presentations include: Digital Peso Equity and Retirement Account or PERA by BSP Deputy Director Cherryl R. Ofracio; uses and benefits of PESONet and InstaPay by BSP Bank Officer Marie Kristine V. Pajarillo; emerging payments acceptance solutions or EPAS such as PayMaya by Regional Business Leader for Smart Padala/PayMaya Negosyo Joshua Jerald Deomano, and GCash by Assistant Vice President and Cluster Head for Public Sector and Education, and Enterprise Group of Mynt Racquel B. Holazo.

BSP Regional Operations Sub-sector Managing Director Rosabel B. Guerrero and Lucena Branch Acting Deputy Director Carina P. Del Rosario shared their insights on moving forward in handling financial transactions through virtual means.

To conclude the event, Dir. Charito Armonia of PSA Region IV-A officially closed the 2020 National Statistics Month Celebration with flying colors.

BSP Lucena Branch graciously hosted the event in collaboration with PSA Region IV-A and NEDA Region IV-A.

Benjamin Jose G. Bautista, NEDA Region IV-A | October 30, 2020