By Chino S. Leyco
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III invited Israel to explore possible partnerships with the Philippines in the technology and construction sectors to enhance the government’s capability in implementing big-ticket infrastructure projects and applying digital innovations to expand the financial access of unbanked Filipinos.
During a recent meeting with Israeli Ambassador Rafael Harpaz, Dominguez also welcomed Israel’s proposal to establish a financial protocol with the Philippines to promote bilateral trade and investments.
Recognizing Israel’s status as one of the world’s most active hubs of technology innovation and “green” or eco-friendly construction, Dominguez said the Philippines can learn much from Israel’s expertise in these fields to ensure that the “Build, Build, Build” program is implemented efficiently by optimizing the use of labor and other resources.
“There are ample opportunities for bilateral cooperation between the Philippines and Israel in the technology and construction sectors. We have invited Israeli experts in these fields to visit the Philippines to explore possible cooperation arrangements,” Dominguez said.
Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven, who heads the International Finance Group (IFG) of the Department of Finance (DOF), was tasked to coordinate with the Israeli Embassy on these matters, Dominguez added.
Dominguez said he has also asked Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier to meet with Israeli officials to discuss ways of tapping Israel’s technological innovations in cybersecurity, as the Philippines increasingly uses electronic payments systems to facilitate trade and expand the financial access of unbanked Filipinos.
Ambassador Harpaz, for his part, welcomed Dominguez’s proposals and offered Israel’s assistance in improving the Philippines’ capacity to utilize “green” technologies in implementing infrastructure projects as well as digital solutions to improve BSP’s cybersecurity system.