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DTI organizes 4th Youth e-Forum: Engages Youth towards Digitalization

Philippines , 24 October 2021

As part of the celebration of the Consumer Welfare Month, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) held its 4th Consumer Youth e-Forum on 20 October 2021 with the theme “Digital Consumers: The New Normal.”

The DTI, through its Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB), recognizes the vital role of the youth as key drivers and partners in promoting government programs and creating an advanced economy. Since March of this year, the CPAB has continued to engage youth participation by organizing the fora. To date, the CPAB has successfully held four (4) conferences focusing on issues such as plastic pollution, food security, and sustainability, among others.

During her opening remarks, Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo emphasized that “government agencies have launched and continue to create initiatives that will allow the new normal in the digital space a more conducive and responsive business landscape for the industry.” She added that everyone now is the new normal especially the youth, who are more adept in using digital technology.

Speakers from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) attended the 4th Consumer Youth e-Forum (CYEF) as resource speakers.

NEDA Assistant Director Richard Emerson D. Ballester gave a presentation on Digitalizing the Philippine Economy, including information on how COVID-19 affected the country’s Micro, Small, Medium, and Enterprises (MSMEs) and the macroeconomy. He also mentioned the difficulties many people face as we move to a digital economy, such as slow internet speed and high internet cost.

Meanwhile, DICT Undersecretary Emmanuel Rey C. Caintic discussed the department’s initiatives to meet the demands of the digital transition. In addition, Undersecretary Caintic stated that DICT used the World Bank’s Connect, Harness, Innovate, and Protect (CHIP) Conceptual Framework to explain the strategy to accelerate the Philippines’ digital transformation.

On the other hand, Engr. Janssen Esguerra of the NPC shared tips on how to secure one’s online account, including using a strong password, enabling multi-factor authentication such as One Time PINs (OTPs), and double-checking your profile’s privacy settings. Engr. Esguerra cautioned the participants and advised them to be vigilant when receiving text messages from unknown numbers posing as a banks’ service providers, requesting that they update their profile information via a link.

The 4th CYEF was also supported by the National Alliance of Youth Leaders, Inc. (NAYL) and the DTI’s e-Commerce Office.

During the forum, Mr. Rainier John Suarez, President of NAYL, welcomed the DTI and other government agencies’ initiatives to strengthen youth involvement in consumer programs. He stressed that we must support all initiatives to raise consumer awareness, including the NPC’s Kabataan Digital, which educates youth to become digital citizens.

Assistant Secretary Mary Jean T. Pacheco encourages the youth to start their online businesses and sell online to maximize the opportunities provided by e-Commerce. She emphasized that “Basta e-Commerce, MADALI,” stressing the government’s efforts to assist MSMEs in digitalizing their businesses.

In closing, CPAB Director Atty. M. Marcus N. Valdez II said that “the DTI endeavors to involve the young generation as we extend consumer protection in the digital space. I am certain that the DTI is not alone in its initiatives to make online platforms more consumer-centric. No feat is impossible as long as we have the support of other government agencies, youth groups, and of course, the entire Filipino youth.”