THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said more automation and digitization after the pandemic will help companies survive, and pressed the private sector to take advantage of the “opportunity” to modernize operations to be ready for the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The crisis has presented new Industry 4.0 opportunities that we can leverage to discover new and better and more resilient ways of doing things,” Trade Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Rafaelita M. Aldaba said Wednesday at a hearing of the House Committee on Economic Affairs.

Prior to the pandemic, the DTI was in the process of implementing a new industrial policy, known as the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy.

“The strategy focuses on innovation and aims to grow globally competitive and innovative industries by embracing Industry 4.0 technologies,” Ms. Aldaba said.

“We are in the process also of building up innovation and the entrepreneurship systems in the regions and we are doing this via the regional inclusive innovation centers (being piloted in) Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Legazpi, and Cebu,” she said.

Ms. Aldaba noted that the Philippines’ current startup ecosystem is valued at $1.6 billion.

“Currently our major strengths are in fintech and e-commerce and these are expected to grow at 24% and 26.4% respectively in 2020,” Ms. Aldaba said.

“We are planning to implement the SMART or Securing Manufacturing Revitalization and Transformation program which is going to provide fiscal and non-fiscal assistance to companies that are shifting to Industry 4.0 technologies and I hope our legislators support this particular program,” she added.

Undersecretary and Board of Investments Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo also briefed the committee on the Rebuild program, which stands for “Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods and Domestic Demand.”

Meron din ho tayong mas pang-long term (We also have a program focused more on the long term which pushes) development outside of the Metro Manila,” Mr. Rodolfo said.

Mr. Rodolfo also noted that the department is working closely with Governor Arthur C. Yap to develop Bohol and with the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects and members of Congress on the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone. — Patricia S. Gajitos