The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region I culminated the observance of the Economic and Financial Literacy Week (EFLW) 2020 through a webinar conducted on November 26, 2020. Anchored on this year’s EFLW theme, “E-Konomiya: Maingat na Pag-angat”, the webinar highlighted how digitalization can be instrumental in helping people safely recover from the present crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and bounce back stronger in the “New Normal”.

In her welcome message, NEDA Region I OIC-Assistant Regional Director Irenea B. Ubungen articulated the relevance of digitalization in the current state of the country. She also challenged the participants not only to learn something in the activity, but also gain understanding on how each one can contribute towards the realization of a Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay.

Invited guests from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Department of Tourism (DOT), as well as NEDA 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 in enabling a healthy and resilient society.

Ms. Racquel Atawe of NEDA presented an assessment of the effects of COVID-19 and the framework and strategies to transition to the new normal as contained in the Ilocos Regional Recovery Program (RRP) from COVID-19. Mr. Freynon Perez also of NEDA, continued the RRP presentation by apprising the participants on the Investment Program or the list of projects needed for the response and recovery efforts of the region.

Engr. Rey Parnacio from DICT apprised the participants on the significant role of the agency on digital transformation for the new normal through their flagship programs. He highlighted the promotion of data-driven governance through ICT statistics as part of realizing digital transformation. He also mentioned the major provisions of the Telecommuting Act and the use of digital signature through the Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI) as mechanisms to provide uninterrupted and secure online transactions.

Ms. Ethel Therese Jularbal of the BSP discussed the Digital Literacy Program of the central bank which promotes consumer protection, and ensures positive customer experiences in the new normal. She explained the requirements in the implementation of the program such as digital infrastructure, digital ID, digital skills, and enabling legal or regulatory framework. Mr. Bon Derryl Pugal of DOT presented the efforts of the government in reviving the tourism industry. He presented the initiatives of their agency in safely reopening tourism areas in order for the region to bounce back from the crisis.

Eighty-one (81) participants from regional line agencies, private enterprises, and state university students attended the activity via zoom. The webinar was also livestreamed via the RDC Facebook page.