Microsoft joins U.S. Presidential Trade and Investment Mission and announces targeted initiatives to accelerate AI adoption in the Philippines

 |   Microsoft Philippines Communications Team

Asian male teacher instructing students inside a classroom using a Microsoft tablet

The new partnerships and programs will enable individuals and organizations across the nation to realize the promise of AI

Manila, 11 March 2024 – Microsoft has announced it is expanding its commitment to accelerate the effective use of AI in the Philippines by advancing skilling, connectivity and cyber resilience.

The organization is launching a range of new partnerships and programs that will allow organizations to capitalize on the significant economic and productivity opportunities presented by the latest AI technology. These include helping government agencies develop tools to streamline citizen services and creating a training program to equip more than 100,000 Filipino women learners with AI and cybersecurity skills. Microsoft is also working with financial organizations and government agencies to support their adoption of Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Presidential Trade and Investment Mission

Mary Snapp, Vice President of Global Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Vice Chair and President at Microsoft, announced the partnerships and programs during the United States’ Presidential Trade and Investment Mission (P.T.I.M.) to the Philippines on March 11–12, 2024. Led by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and attended by top U.S. business leaders and decision-makers, the mission aimed to enhance U.S. companies’ contributions to the Philippines’ innovation economy, among other areas.

As a “first of its kind” initiative for the Biden administration, the P.T.I.M. also underscores President Biden’s commitment to advancing U.S.-Philippines economic ties.

Microsoft’s announcement aligns with the Philippines’ National AI Roadmap in aiming to accelerate the adoption and utilization of AI in the country. The partnerships and programs are also part of Microsoft’s broader commitment to supporting the objectives of the Philippine Development Plan 2023–2028, and helping individuals, organizations, and communities harness AI’s potential to drive innovation and inclusive economic growth.

“We are deeply committed to bringing the benefits of AI to the Philippines to foster an environment where technology and human ingenuity thrive together,” said Snapp. “These partnerships and programs reaffirm Microsoft’s dedication to copiloting the Philippines’ homegrown AI innovation, accelerating inclusive growth and development, and ensuring the country will remain a vibrant hub of creativity and progress in years to come.”

Transforming productivity and engagement

The partnerships and programs announced by Microsoft highlight the fact that many leading Filipino organizations are already planning to embrace AI-powered solutions, including Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). These organizations are in advanced stages of identifying use cases for the adoption of Microsoft 365 Copilot.

In addition, BSP, DBM, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are building proof-of-concepts with Azure OpenAI Service to help them better streamline citizen services. They are also seeking to develop innovative new applications with chatbot capabilities that can further improve the support they provide to citizens and employees.

“I believe Microsoft’s AI solutions and Cloud platform can play a pivotal role in helping to enhance skills development in the Philippines while acting as building blocks for driving innovation and competitiveness more broadly. They can also help to bolster cybersecurity and trust in tech adoption,” said Rafaelita Aldaba, Ph.D., Undersecretary for the Competitiveness and Innovation Group (CIG) at the DTI.

“It’s why we at the CIG are excited to embark on a collaborative journey with Microsoft and bring innovative AI capabilities to our employees. I believe deploying Copilot for Microsoft 365 within our teams would help us transform productivity while allowing us to better engage and connect with citizens to deliver higher service levels.”

Building an inclusive, AI-ready workforce

Snapp also announced that Microsoft is partnering with the Philippines’ Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to narrow the digital divide and help equip over 100,000 women learners with AI and cybersecurity skills.

Training will be developed in partnership with educational institutions and nonprofit and corporate organizations. It will help provide learners with AI fluency training to enhance their employability and work readiness and equip them to recognize and prevent cybersecurity threats.

The training program will be complemented by a series of internal hackathons jointly organized by Microsoft and the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). These will bring DOLE employees together to collaborate, ideate, and create impactful technology solutions that can address pressing local and global challenges.

Additionally, Snapp announced that the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines will be rolling out Microsoft’s AI-powered Reading Progress tool to approximately 27 million students within the DepEd’s national system. A free application integrated into Microsoft Teams, the tool harnesses AI capabilities to support and track students’ reading fluency, specifically reading accuracy, speed, and pronunciation.

Snapp also announced that Microsoft will collaborate with the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) to promote and raise the AI skills of people in the Information Technology and Business Process Management (ITBPM) sector—a major driver of Filipino economic growth. Microsoft will help IBPAP equip organizations within the sector with the competencies they need to work iteratively alongside AI systems. These include critical thinking, complex problem solving, bias detection, and prompt engineering.

Improving connectivity

Microsoft announced other ways it is working to guide innovation and the responsible adoption of AI and digital solutions across the Philippines.

This includes Microsoft’s Airband Initiative which aims to bring high-speed internet connectivity to unconnected communities worldwide. The company is partnering with Kacific Broadband Satellites to expand high-speed internet access to 10 million people across the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and other Asia Pacific countries, starting with priority access for schools and healthcare clinics. To date, Kacific has brought internet access to over 600,000 people in the Philippines.

Microsoft is also partnering with the nonprofit to bring internet access to 1 million people across the Philippines. Working with, U.S.-based suppliers, and local entrepreneurs, this partnership will provide anchor institutions and surrounding communities with affordable internet access, along with the technology to operate online safely and productively.

Strengthening cyber resilience

Microsoft also announced it will make its AccountGuard service available in the Philippines later this year to organizations that support a healthy democracy – including those in sectors connected to politics, the elections, journalism, think tanks, and human rights. These organizations are often targets of nation-state cyber-attacks but lack the resources to effectively monitor and defend against them. AccountGuard is a free cybersecurity service that adds protection, offering rapid notification and remediation guidance to organizations and, when possible, impacted individuals’ personal accounts in the event of compromise by a known nation-state sponsored attacker.

In addition to AccountGuard, Filipino elections offices may have the opportunity to engage with the Azure for Elections team. This provides security and resiliency reviews and guidance, as well as enhanced threat monitoring during critical election windows.

Finally, Microsoft will be launching Elections Communication Hubs to serve as a threat-sharing platform for elections officials. The hubs will be available regionally across the globe and offer elections officials the opportunity to share elections-related threats in a way that prioritizes a review of these issues across Microsoft.

Click here to learn more about how Microsoft is empowering organizations in the Philippines with AI.

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Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT; @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Joshua Aquino, Head of Communications, Microsoft Philippines
[email protected]