Government leaders gather at Microsoft’s annual public sector ICT summit, Asenso Pilipinas, to build a secure and sustainable digital Philippines

 |   Microsoft Philippines Communications Team

woman speaking at conference

Microsoft Philippines Director of Public Sector Business, Joanna Rodriguez, delivers the opening address at the 2023 Asenso Pilipinas Summit 

Manila, Philippines, 17 February 2023 — Microsoft Philippines yesterday hosted Asenso Pilipinas, its annual public sector cloud summit alongside partners Cloud4C, Crayon, SVI, and Tech One Global. This year’s event brought together public sector leaders and industry experts to share insights and resources, as well as initiate discussions on empowering digital acceleration on a national scale.

Now on its 6th year, Asenso Pilipinas brought 300 civil servants together in person, alongside a virtual audience of nearly 4,000 more together to share Microsoft Philippines’ National Digital Agenda—a framework built on the principles of Digital-First, Citizen-First, and Sustainability-First to support the next administration in crafting policies and programs to drive socio-economic growth through technology.

This year’s summit featured speakers from various national government agencies such as Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy, DICT Undersecretary for E-Governance David Almirol, Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr. Eric Tayag, Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Michael Kristian Ablan, Department of Budget Management (DBM) Undersecretary Maria Francesca del Rosario,Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Deputy Director General Tonisito Umali, and City Administrator of the Quezon City Government Mike Alimurung. Alongside them, Microsoft Asia Pacific President Andrea Della Mattea and Microsoft Philippines Chief Executive Officer, Peter Maquera as well as its Public Sector Business Director, Joanna Rodriguez also featured as speakers.

“At Microsoft, we recognize that modern technology has the potential to drive economic growth, but we also all need to be mindful of its associated social and ethical implications. As a global technology company, we need to deploy technology that is responsible, ensure that technology is inclusive, and partner with the right organizations that share our vision. This is why Microsoft continues to work closely with the Philippine government, which has the ability not only to lead this country in technology adoption, but also in making sure that we control the potential risks and negative consequences of technological advancements with the right regulations and ethical guidelines in technology adoption,” said Microsoft Public Sector Business Director Joanna Rodriguez in her opening remarks. “Microsoft has been, and continues to be, a proud partner of the Philippine government wherein we are able to address some of the most pressing problems in the country. Together, we have made a real difference in the lives of millions of Filipinos, and we are committed to continuing this work with the administration and its agencies for years to come,” she added.

Microsoft Asia Pacific President Andrea Della Mattea’s keynote session was centered on a dialogue with TESDA Deputy Director General Tonisito Umali regarding Microsoft’s commitment to supporting government policies and programs globally, as well as the importance of building digital skills in enhancing employability for all citizens and empowering economic prosperity in the Philippines.

Asenso Pilipinas held plenary sessions focusing on this year’s three main themes: creating solutions to provide proactive services; strengthening and fostering the data regimes, open data sharing and data security; and advancing with efficient practices across industries.

Citizen-First: Creating Solutions to Provide Proactive Services


Microsoft puts citizens first by recognizing and understanding their needs, before building an ecosystem of solutions to provide proactive and personalized services. To achieve this, it is crucial to transform the citizen experience when interacting with the government, as well as closing the digital skills gap and enhancing employability for all.

DICT Secretary Uy, builds on this by highlighting the work their office puts in towards accelerating citizen experience, enabling data harmonization, and ensuring inclusive connectivity through digitalization and e-governance.

“As we shift towards the digitized future, it is more difficult to stay connected given the traditional structure of the Philippine government where agencies and their information are broken down into silos. This is why e-governance is especially crucial in accelerating connectivity,” said Secretary Uy. “At DICT, we are prioritizing policies on e-governance in order to break down barriers and move forward with our data harmonization framework. This framework ensures that different government agencies have access to accurate and up-to-date information, ultimately driving our mission to bring connectivity to all corners of the country.”

Digital-First: Strengthening Data Regime, Open Data Sharing, and Data Security

The digital transformation of government is not just about technology, its relevance extends to every public servant from the department-based policy makers to people working on the front line. Technology’s real value is the way in which it can help societies transform by offering the opportunity to rethink the way agencies govern and do public work, including the opportunity to develop new operating models—assumptions, beliefs, values, and behaviors.

DOH and DepEd shared their strategies on how they are transforming their respective agencies with modern solutions, as well as reestablishing trust in data.

“The pandemic has magnified data challenges in the health sector, and we have witnessed the growing need for a revamped healthcare system that is future-ready, digitally enabled, reliable, and secure,” stated DOH Undersecretary Dr. Eric Tayag. “To address these challenges, the DOH is working towards adopting a unified data architecture framework that focuses on data governance, data management, data processing, and proper data integration. Through this framework, we aim to foster a new healthcare system that both protects and empowers its citizens.”

In the educational sector, technology has become a critical instrument in preparing students for life and work in the 21st century.

“The future is bright as we try to close the learning gaps through the help of technological advancements available to us. At DepEd, our mission is to make learning accessible, inclusive, and empowering to all learners and educators across the country.” said DepEd Undersecretary Michael Kristan Ablan. “Our longstanding partnership with Microsoft has helped us provide our 950,000 educators and 27M learners with education tools and programs to support them in their K12 journey and give an opportunity to spark their interest in STEM and give purpose to learning, develop transferrable skills and grow competence in new technology concepts, and achieve job-ready and in-demand skills through technical skilling and certifications.”

Sustainability-First: Advancing Efficient Practices Across Industries

The third plenary session highlighted the importance of innovative and sustainable procurement through e-governance applied at all levels of government—from local government units to national government agencies. The session also underscores how going cloud-first can help reduce carbon footprint and incorporate sustainability into economic recovery.  

“Innovation and sustainability have become two major priorities that go hand-in-hand, and there is a certain aspect of governance that requires the implementation of efficient practices as a major means of ensuring sustainability. This is where budgeting and managing government resources comes in,” stated DBM Undersecretary Maria Francesca del Rosario. “At DBM, we are implementing innovative and sustainable procurement—which includes climate change, expenditure tagging, and the life cycle costing—through e-governance.”

Meanwhile, at the city level, the Quezon City government is committed to building more sustainable and self-sufficient communities within its jurisdiction. In recent years, the city has developed an impressive range of sustainable initiatives centered on addressing challenges with public transport, public safety and shared spaces, energy conservation and green infrastructure, food sustainability, water and waste management and the circular economy, and air quality management.

“Quezon City’s mission is to engineer a healthier, sustainable city that pioneers inclusive climate action and sustainability. By collaborating with our partners and empowering our citizens, we are building a sustainable city that is resilient, a green livable, and carbon neutral,” said Quezon City Administrator Mike Alimurung. “Moving forward, we are committed to deliver and achieve the climate goals that we envision, to lead by example, to earn our place as a model for other cities to emulate, and to help bring forth a far better planet for future generations to enjoy.”

The pandemic has underscored the critical role digital transformation plays in helping governments, businesses, societies, and citizens adapt. Countries that were better prepared with technology had distinct advantages in navigating the uncertainties and challenges of COVID-19. Moving forward, Microsoft continues to work closely with organizations to enable greater adoption of technology for a more robust government empowered by digital intensity, which will ultimately benefit more Filipinos.

The 2023 Asenso Pilipinas Summit is available online for free here.


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