The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region I culminated the observance of the 2021 Economic and Financial Literacy Week (EFLW) through a webinar on November 23, 2021 via Zoom and livestreamed at the NEDA Region 1 facebook page. Anchored on this year’s EFLW theme, “A Glimpse into AmBisyon Natin 2040: What to Expect in the New Normal”, the webinar highlighted on re-connecting stakeholders with the long-term vision in the light of the ongoing pandemic, provided some innovative ways to cope up with the current situation, and discussed financial literacy through digital transactions and payments in view of the new and better normal.

Mr. John F. Gagucas, OIC-Chief of the Development Research, Communication, and Advocacy Division (DRCAD) of NEDA Region I, provided a short background of the event. In welcoming the participants, he articulated the relevance of the topics to be discussed in the realization of AmBisyon Natin 2040. He also encouraged the participants to actively participate in the event and learn innovate ways in coping up with the new normal. Afterwards, a recorded presentation of NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon on AmBisyon Natin in the New Normal was played. In the said presentation, the economic impact of COVID-19, as well as some learnings on financial and economic literacy were discussed. A glimpse on how a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay by 2040 can still be achieved while complying with new normal standards, was also highlighted.

Invited guests from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) served as resource persons in the activity. They presented their agency’s major programs and projects towards understanding the digital economy, and the role of these programs as channels of coping up with the challenges brought about by the pandemic and means in realizing the AmBisyon.

Ms. Michelle M. Villanueva, Senior Trade-Industry Specialist of DTI Region 1, discussed the agency’s programs and projects that can be helpful in the recovery of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). These initiatives include: Negosyo Center Online Portal, Ctrl+Biz Reboot Now Project, and Tech Tools for MSMEs, among others. MSMEs were encouraged to take part in these programs and projects of the DTI to help them navigate through the new normal and lessen the negative impact of the pandemic to their businesses.

Meanwhile, Ms. Therese Ethel E. Jularbal, Bank Officer II of BSP-North Luzon Regional Office, shared the BSP’s initiatives and recent trends along digital payment. She emphasized the benefits of digital payments, and how these are already becoming imperative under the New Economy Arrangement. She also said shared BSP’s initiatives in the pipeline, which are expected to expand the access to responsive payment products and services better-suited to the varying needs of the paying public.

In her closing statement, NEDA 1 Assistant Regional Director Irenea B. Ubungen expressed her gratitude to the participants for the continuous support in the events of NEDA, and enjoined them to share their learnings to others. She likewise encouraged everyone to stay informed, observe health protocols, and support the government’s vaccination and other programs to continue the journey in achieving the long-term vision for all Filipinos.

Seventy-two participants from regional line agencies, local government units, private enterprises, and state universities attended the activity via zoom.