“BBM has noted that (digitalization) ‘is a viable way of doing business, it is the only way that we will be doing business in the years to come and therefore, we cannot allow the Philippines to get left behind'”
On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. attended the groundbreaking of the UnionBank Innovation Campus on a one-hectare property in San Pedro, Laguna. Completed next year, the campus is the first of its kind in local banking.
The President acknowledged the presence of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual, Private Sector Advisory Council Chief and UnionBank Board Director Sabin Aboitiz; UnionBank Chairman Erramon Isidro M. Aboitiz and all the other board members; UnionBank President and CEO Edwin Bautista; UnionBank Director Samel Aboitiz; and the local host, Mayor Art Mercado; the Sand Hub Founder Jun Ynion.
BBM’s presence at the kickoff of the UB Innovation Campus (UBIC) is a coup for the bank majority owned by the Aboitiz family. SSS is a minority stockholder of UB.
The President delivered a 1,156-word speech that certainly warmed the cockles of the heart of every diehard UnionBanker led by the Aboitiz clan. In his SONA, Marcos envisioned “a world-class and tech-savvy country.”
“I am glad to be here today as we inaugurate the UnionBank Innovation Campus and welcome the brimming promises that research, development, and technology can bring to our country,” BBM enthused at the event.
“If there was one silver lining amidst the dark clouds brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, I supposed it could be said it is the hastening of the adoption of technological innovations in this digital and modern age,” the President said, adding “the trend was very pronounced before the pandemic and it was accelerated by need because of the pandemic. And now, many people have discovered that this is an actual, viable way to do business.”
With the Aboitiz vision and CEO Edwin Bautista’s stewardship, UnionBank has pioneered in digital innovation.
BBM is aware of that, noting that (digitalization) “is a viable way of doing business, it is the only way that we will be doing business in the years to come and therefore, we cannot allow the Philippines to get left behind.”
The President explained: “The initiatives that we have– such as UnionBank is doing with this campus…are precisely the kind of innovations, the kind of forward thinking, operations, and actions that we will need, not only in the private sector, but also in the public sector, so that we in government can be participants in the new digital world, wherein we are living in more and more in our day-to-day lives.”
“With the help of information and communication technologies, we were able to migrate many of our transactions and our activities online,” BBM said.
“We found avenues that brought us closer together, and despite the lockdown and the distance between us. We learned to hold meetings, even court trials, online.To sustain growth and promote new advances in this sector, it is my hope that you will explore the limitless possibilities, and take advantage of the many bright ideas that our experts have, so that we can generate more jobs and secure our nation’s economic revitalization.”
Marcos Jr asserted: “The track record of UnionBank in creating opportunities through innovation and digital solutions in the banking sector is uncontested.”
He elaborated: “The opening of the UnionBank Innovation Campus shall intensify our collective efforts to bring our banking and ICT industries into the future. We apply that same intention to the public sector, in terms of government, in terms of digitalizing the government at the national level, at the local level.
“It is necessary, if we are to be able to take advantages of the efficiencies that digital banking, digital transactions, the digital way of doing business affords us.
“And it would be — we would be bereft, we would be neglectful of our duties if we do not recognize the trend that is happening around the world. And not only adjust to it, but position ourselves to take full advantage of it.”
This (UB) initiative, said the President, “perfectly fits into the three-year Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which promotes digitalization of payments towards furthering financial inclusion.
This Roadmap has the twin objectives of converting at least 50 percent of the total retail transaction volume into digital form, and the onboarding of 70 percent of Filipino adults to the formal financial system by next year, 2023.”
To achieve these targets, BBM pointed out, “we need to hone our competencies in areas such as software development, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology, amongst others. This is in line with our goals under the Philippine Skills Framework.”
One of the UBIC’s objectives is to foster greater partnership between the public and private sectors — under the Advancing Government ICT Innovation, Leadership, and Excellence or AGILE Program.
This, said BBM, “will not just bring digital banking services to our local government units, but will also enhance other digitalization initiatives in government.”
After touring the campus and being briefed on UB’s digitalization initiatives, Marcos said: “We already see so many opportunities between the private sector, and this particular campus, and government.
“And we fully intend to take advantage of the good work that you have done and the initiatives that you have taken.”
The President told the UB executives: “It will not only improve the business position of UnionBank… but also it will increase the economic activity that we in government, we in the bureaucracy will be able to process, will be able to handle and it will make it easier, for not only big corporations, but ordinary citizens, who generally are not included in the digital world as of now, to now be included and to take advantage of all the conveniences, all of the efficiencies, and all of the new products that will come out of these new technologies.”