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Google meets with PBBM, commits to help Filipino companies

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Internet service giant Google has pledged to strengthen cybersecurity, help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and promote the responsible use of digital technology in the Philippines.

The commitment was made when President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. met with Google’s top executives on the sidelines of the Philippines’ trilateral summit with the US and Japan in Washington DC on Friday (Manila time), Communication Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement on Saturday.

Garafil said Marcos, during the meeting, called on Google to increase cybersecurity activities in the Philippines, particularly in the country’s regulatory efforts.

Marcos urged Google to come up with a system that will provide efficient digital services for all Filipinos across the country, as he emphasized his administration’s bid to ensure continued connectivity off the sea.

“I am trying to be concerned when we’re off the sea. So, as I said, will try to pick that up and go on your organization and help us with that,” Marcos said, referring to the government’s cybersecurity programs, as well as initiatives, tools and framework to strengthen cybersecurity defense and contribute to a safer digital ecosystem in the country.

Google’s Global Vice President on Government Affairs and Public Policy Karan Bhatia said Google is willing to help the Philippines in strengthening its cybersecurity, saying the company “would love to be part” of the government’s efforts on digital transformation.

Bhatia also expressed Google’s intention to expand its business and operation in the Philippines, considering the Philippines’ “impressive shift” to digitalize its services.

“Let me, first of all, say how impressed we’ve been with the leadership that you and your team have already shown on the digital transformation agenda. We know it is a very high priority for you, for the Philippines as a whole, but in particular for the government,” he told Marcos.

He said Google is excited about expanding its businesses and operations in the Philippines where it has about 50,000 employees.

Upskilling of MSMEs

Bhatia likewise assured Marcos of Google’s commitment to help MSMEs in the Philippines grow their businesses, citing its partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to upskill the sector in the digital landscape.

“I would flag the work we do with small- and medium-sized businesses. So, this is with the DTI. It’s to enable small businesses to get a presence online and figure out how do they connect with the rest of the world,” he said.

Google has partnered with the DTI in rolling out Google Career Certificates (GCC) in the department’s virtual campuses, covering more than 1,300 DTI Negosyo Centers in 16 regions nationwide.

This builds upon the 40,000 GCC scholarships Google previously distributed to equip Filipino youths, jobseekers, MSME entrepreneurs, and civil servants with in-demand skills in project management, cybersecurity, IT support, data analytics, UX design, and digital marketing.

Responsible use of digital technology

Google pledged to conduct training on the responsible use of digital technology for more than 100,000 children and their parents who are considered “the most vulnerable sector in the society.”

“Because kids are often online for a long period of time and we need to make sure that they know how to use the technology. So, we thus far engage in training for 100,000 Filipino kids and are going to continue to grow that as well,” he said.

Google Philippines, which began operations in 2013, supports the Internet giant’s global operations by providing customer and operational support services in the country.


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