The Philippines has barely improved its digital competitiveness after placing yet again in the lower quartile of a survey measuring the knowledge, technology and future readiness of 63 economies.
The country went up one notch to 55th in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2019. In spite of the slight improvement, the Philippines was still in the lower portion of the survey, only ahead of Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Ukraine, Peru, Mongolia and Venezuela.
On the other hand, the leading five economies—the United States, Singapore, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland, in that particular order—maintained their positions in the uppermost quartile of the digital rankings.
Further, the Philippines placed fourth among the five Southeast Asian nations included in the survey. Singapore was still the most digital innovative country in the region, leading Malaysia at 26th, Thailand at 40th, the Philippines and Indonesia at 56th.
By indicators, the Philippines ranked 51st on knowledge, from 50th in the 2018 cycle; 55th on technology, from 58th; and 54th on future readiness, from 52nd.
On knowledge, Manila got its highest ratings in the number of female researchers at 7th; high-tech patent grants at 12th; and graduates for science degrees at 13th. However, the country obtained its worst score in total expenditure on research and design at 59th.
On technology, the Philippines topped all 63 economies in terms of high-tech exports, and secured the 15th spot for investments in telecommunications.
However, its Internet speed, which is deemed one of the worst in Asia, took a toll in most of its ratings in the technology indicator. The Philippines ranked 62nd in communications technology and in Internet bandwidth speed.
On future readiness, Manila placed 55th for prevalence of software piracy here, 55th in the number of people owning a tablet, 58th in the head count of those with a smartphone and 59th in Internet retailing.
In an interview with reporters on Friday, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said he is expecting the country’s ratings in digital rankings to improve over time. He argued the government just started with its integration programs that will make it easier for the Philippines to transition to the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He cited as examples of these measures the passage into law of the Innovative Startup Act and the Philippine Innovation Act, both of which mandates the allocation of funding for innovation-related business activities.