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PES annual conference to tackle propects, challenges of digitalization in economic recovery

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How can the Philippines harness digitalization to recover and rebuild the economy in the post-pandemic era? This issue will be addressed by policy- and decision-makers, academics, industry leaders, and private sector representatives at the 59th Annual Meeting and Conference of the Philippine Economic Society (PES) on 10-12 November 2021.

The three-day virtual conference, with the theme "Building Back Better: Harnessing Digitalization Towards a Transformed Philippines," will highlight prospects and challenges related to digitalization, recovery, and resilience, and aims to turnout ideas to pave the way for social, economic and financial inclusion, under a new fiscal and monetary consensus. The conference will feature two keynote speakers, six plenary panels, and 17 breakout sessions delving on various sub-topics, including governance, business, banking and finance, mobility, agriculture, health and human resource, energy, and trade, among others.

Governor Benjamin Diokno of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Professor Dean Karlan of the Northwestern University, who is also the President of Innovations for Poverty Action, will headline the opening plenary session as keynote speakers. Their presentations will highlight initiatives on digitalization that aim to address issues that impact social, economic, and financial inclusion. Their keynote presentations will be followed by a panel discussion on "Building Back Better the Philippine Economy," featuring Ms. Cecilia Borromeo of the Land Bank of the Philippines, Mr. Jose Emmanuel Hilado of the Union Bank of the Philippines, Dr. Eli Remolona of the Asia School of Business, and Dr. Souleymane Coulibaly of the World Bank.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will hold a plenary session titled "Competition, Inclusion, and Growth in the Post-Pandemic Digital Era," aiming to explore competition issues in relation to the digital economy and the measures in ensuring greater digital inclusion to support economic recovery. Dr. Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute, will deliver a presentation on competition and inclusion. He will be joined in a panel discussion by Mr. Benjamin Azada of Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., Dr. Chrisopher Monterola of the Asian Institute of Management, Ms. Ng Ee Kia of the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, and Dr. Arsenio Balisacan, PCC Chairperson.

The third plenary session, organized by the De La Salle University School of Economics (DLSU-SOE), will highlight challenges and opporutnities of digital transformation in various sectors, especially education, agriculture, and digital trade. Plenary presenters include Dr. Maximo Torero of the Food and Agriculture Organization; Dr. Raymund Sison, Atty. Christopher Cruz, and Dr. Tereso Tullao of the DLSU; and Dr. Francis Mark Quimba of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

On Friday, the PES offers a plenary session focusing on harnessing digitalization to further economic and financial literacy. The session features Assistant Governor Edna Villa of the BSP, Mr. Ho Suu Wei of LinkedIn, Mr. John Januszczak of UBX Philippines, and Ms. Salve Duplito of the ABS-CBN News Channel. The session is the PES' contribution to the celebration of Economic and Financial Literacy Week (EFLW) 2021 on 8-12 November 2021.

Meanwhile, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will hold a plenary session titled "AmBisyon Natin 2040 in the New Normal," as part of the EFLW celebration. The session will discuss how the crises, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, have challenged and expanded Filipinos' understanding of a "matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay." The main presentation will be given by NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon, and she will be joined in a panel discussion by PCC Chairperson Balisacan, former NEDA Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra, Ms. Patricia Marcella Evite of the Ateneo Policy Center (representing the youth), and Ms. Maria Charina Quiwa of NEDA (representing working moms).

Finally, to cap off the conference, the closing plenary session will feature a panel discussion on how digitalization can lead to a transformed Philippines and how its challenges can be addressed. The panelists include Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba of the Department of Trade and Industry, Chancellor Jose Camacho, Jr. of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, and Mr. Vince Yamat of 917 Ventures. The closing session will also see the virtual launch of the latest issue of The Philippine Review of Economics in honor of Dr. Benito Legarda, as well as the recognition rites of the Young Economists Honor Society Batch 2021 and the oath-taking ceremonies of new PES members.

PES annual conferences are held every second week of November as part of the Society's celebration of Economic and Financial Literacy Week, which is mandated under Republic Act No. 10922. PES is expected to lead private sector efforts in improving the level of economic and financial understanding of the Filipino public.

The 59th PES Annual Meeting and Conference is organized in cooperation with major partners, DLSU-SOE, NEDA, and PCC. Other sponsors include Aboitiz Power Corporation, the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Philippines, the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development, the BSP, and the Union Bank of the Philippines.

To register for the conference, please visit the PES conference website (click here). For further information or if you have queries about the conference, please email the Secretariat at

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