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EXCLUSIVE – Philippine OpenGov Leadership Forum 2019 Keynote Presentations

Over 208 government officials and senior technology executives from across the Philippine government, academic institutions and healthcare organisations convened at the 3rd Philippine OpenGov Leadership Forum 2019 on 25 April 2019 at the New World Makati Hotel.

OpenGov Leadership Forums seek to provide an opportunity for government officials, industry experts and distinguished international and local speakers to come together to exchange ideas and learn about the latest developments in the public sector technology landscape.

Facilitated by OpenGov Asia, speakers and delegates deliberated what it means to be “Building a Digital-Native Philippines” as well as the opportunities and challenges of moving forward in its digital transformation.

The Philippines has been improving its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure for the past few years. But digital transformation cannot take place without involving its citizens.

After all, digital transformation includes the process of grooming digital natives and delivering outstanding digital customer service. As such, becoming a digital-native nation will be the next step for the Philippines.

Mr Mohit Sagar, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia kicked off the Forum talking about the imperative of digital transformation in the public sector. He highlighted that digital transformation is more than just the technology – it is about understanding citizens’ needs and driving desirable outcomes.

He also touched on the ACDC 2019 Prediction – Augmented Intelligence, Convergence, Data, and Cyber Resilience.

Keynote presentation

Mr Denis F. Villorente, Undersecretary for Special Concerns, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) of the Philippines delivered the keynote speech on behalf of DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr.

He began by mentioning how the recent 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila served as a reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to efficiently serve and protect the Filipinos, particularly in challenging times.

The DICT is facing a different but also a timely challenge: digital transformation.

To fully digitise the economy, the DICT recognises that there is a need to establish a network of infrastructures that would boost the current connectivity status.

He highlighted that for the country to truly embrace the journey of transformation, the government needs to include the people in the equation.

“At the end of the day, the transformation will be completed if it revolves around – not data, not emerging technologies – but with our people.”

International and local guest speakers shared the experiences of their respective countries to the audience so that the delegates can gain insight, learn new things and be inspired to transform.

Get Inspired – The Netherlands

Mr Frans Rijkers, Strategic Advisor Innovation and Identity, National Office for Identity Data shared with his peers his experience on “Self Sovereign Identity: The Future of Health Identities.”

The Netherlands’ Self Sovereign Identity (SSI) is considered as the next evolutionary step in digital identity management, usable in public and private transactions.

The initiative highlights that every person has a right to an identity that securely stores elements of their digital identity and preserves privacy.

Get Inspired – Singapore

In his address to the forum, Mr Wong Ching Ping, Senior Business Development Manager, Enhanced Security Solutions, Fortinet Southeast Asia & Hong Kong, dealt with “Holistic Security Strategy. Smart Nations & Thriving Cities That are Secured & Safe”.

Being a smart nation or city is not only about the deployment of technologies through various government initiatives but also in how secure they are, ensuring that they will continue to thrive.

Three components are needed to provide complete protection: Broad visibility of the entire digital attack surface; Integrated protection across all devices, networks and applications; and Automated operations and continuous assessment.

Get Inspired – Korea

Mr Lee Kyong-yul, Secretary General, World Sustainable Cities Organisation (WeGO), shared with the participants his experience with “Smart Sustainable Cities for All Humanity”.

Although the 4th Industrial Revolution is what makes smart cities possible, a crucial component that is sometimes overlooked is people. A smart city is owned by its people and ownership is reflected in their participation.

Overcoming many urban challenges existing today can improve the lives of citizens and this is by making the cities smart and sustainable for all humanity. Thus, the real correct term should be Smart Sustainable City.

Get Inspired – New Zealand

At the Forum, Mr John Edwards, Privacy Commissioner, Office of the Privacy Commissioner New Zealand, shared with participants his experience on “Understanding Privacy – Data Protection is Taking Centre Stage”.

Digital economy, according to him, depends on the relationship of trust. In order to gain trust, one should look at Canada’s Privacy by Design, which are characterised by embedding privacy to the design; being proactive rather than reactive; valuing privacy; full lifecycle protection; being transparent; avoiding false dichotomies; and taking a user-centric approach.

He highlighted the importance of fostering and supporting a culture of protecting personal information.

Get Inspired – The Philippines

Mr Raymund Enriquez Liboro, Privacy Commissioner and Chairman, National Privacy Commission, shared with an audience, which is filled with his fellow countrymen, his knowledge on “Open Government-Augmenting Trust and Privacy in a Data Driven World”.

They aim to lay down the foundation for inclusive growth, a high-trust and resilient society, and a globally competitive knowledge economy by 2022.

He emphasised on transparency, which is one of the three privacy principles identified in the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA).

Data Privacy, according to him, is a pre-requisite for having an open government and highlighted the significance of complying with the DPA, which was put in place as a reminder that there is accountability for the data being held as well as a reassurance that the customers’ data are being cared for.

Get Inspired – Australia

In his address to the Forum, Mr Brett Aimers, Adjunct Associate Professor, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, shared his experiences with “Embracing Emerging Risk Strategies and Technologies Today for the Citizens of Tomorrow”.

Disasters are more severe and frequent at present particularly because of climate change. To be resilient tomorrow, governments and citizens must plan today. Spending on disaster recovery is almost nine times higher than prevention, thereby requiring a shift to prevention and risk mitigation.

New technologies and digital age offer some risk reduction opportunities, which should be utilised as these are considered new approaches to managing disasters and are urgently needed.

Delegates left the Forum with a far more comprehensive and pragmatic understanding of digital transformation. The genuine sharing of real journeys, robust discussions and insightful interactions provided not only food for thought but a better idea for a way forward.


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