Estonian companies expressed interest to join the bidding for the national ID system contract, the Finance Department said Thursday.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III met in Manila with Estonia’s ambassador-designate to the Philippines Vaino Reinart, Estonia Ministry of Foreign Affairs director Marki Tihhonova-Kreek and representatives of Estonian companies behind Estonia’s electronic governance system.
Reinart said the companies that transformed the northern European country of Estonia into the world’s most advanced digital society expressed interest in developing the Philippines’ national identification system and explore other opportunities in evolving technology-driven industries.
“We are aware that the Philippines is about to implement the digital ID and provide their citizens with this,” Reinart said.
“It is indeed a good time to come here and demonstrate what you could possibly be able to implement provided the digital ID is properly secured in place,” he said.
Electronic video communications tool Skype was developed in Estonia. About 99 percent of public services in the Baltic nation are available digitally, including the filing and payment of taxes.
Dominguez welcomed Estonia’s interest in the Philippines and invited Estonian companies to participate in the bidding for the national ID system contract.
“Our number one interest right now is the national ID, and we are going to be putting out the international tender docs pretty soon,” Dominguez said during the meeting.
Dominguez said the Asian Development Bank was assisting the Philippine government through a policy-based loan program to provide support for the implementation of the national ID system.
Dominguez said that aside from exploring business partnerships here, Estonia could also tap the Philippines’ young, skilled workers who are quick learners, fluent in English and can easily adapt to Estonia’s high-tech work environment.
Dominguez said with the average age of Estonia’s labor force at 41 years old, the Philippines could complement this with its young workforce with an average age of 23.
Dominguez said the Philippines is now Japan’s demographic partner in Asia, with the average age of Japanese workers in the late 40s complementing the Philippines’ young and talented labor force.
“We would like to encourage you to look at us as potentially your demographic partners here. I think Filipinos around the world have a relatively good reputation,” Dominguez said to the visiting Estonian delegation.
Attending the meeting were Jana Silaskova of the Estonia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Madis Sassiad of GoSwift, Raul Kaidro of RaulWalters, Rein Haavel of Cybernetica, Dr. Aleksander Reitsakas of Aktors and Linnea Parnaste-Virve of Ecomatic.
Reinart said the representatives of Estonian companies were looking to establish partnerships in the Philippines.
Cybernetica developed the secure software system of the Estonian government; Aktors specializes in e-governance, e-finance, defense and security; RaulWalters is behind the technical solutions for the Estonian e-ID; GoSwift deals with streamlining customs operations at the ports of entry; and Ecomatic is engaged in building management systems.