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Philippines Economic Update June 2022 Report Launch and Forum

June 9, 2022

Zoom and Facebook Live @WorldBankPhilippines

World Bank Philippines Economic Update June 2022
  • The Philippines Economic Update is a biannual publication of the World Bank that summarizes key economic and social developments, important policy changes, and the evolution of external and global conditions.

    The June 2022 PEU includes a study on digital transformation in the Philippines. With a focus on the private sector, it lays out the present state of digital transformation and challenges to digital adoption and provides policy recommendations.

    Representatives from government, civil society, the private sector, multilateral and bilateral development partners are expected to participate in the event.


    10:00 – 10:05 

    Opening Remarks

    Ndiamé Diop

    Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand

    World Bank

    10:05 – 10:15 

    Keynote Address

    Hon. Benjamin E. Diokno


    Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

    10:15 – 10:45 


    Philippines Economic Update June 2022: Recent Developments and Outlook

    Kevin Chua

    Senior Economist, Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment

    World Bank


    Digital Markets in the Philippines: Bridging the Divide for Inclusive Growth

    Jaime Frias

    Senior Economist, Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions

    East Asia and Pacific, World Bank

    10:45 – 11:30 

    Panel Discussion

    Rafaelita Aldaba

    Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Group

    Department of Trade and Industry


    Johannes Benjamin R. Bernabe


    Philippine Competition Commission


    Lito Villanueva

    Chair, Fintech Alliance.Ph

    EVP and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation


    Mary Grace Mirandilla-Santos

    Lead Advocate, Better Internet PH

    ICT Policy Analyst, Secure Connections   



    Heejin Lee

    Private Sector Specialist, Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions

    World Bank

    11:30 – 11:55  

    Open Forum

    11:55 – 12:00  

    Closing Remarks

    Cecile Thioro Niang

    Practice Manager for Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation

    East Asia and Pacific, World Bank


    Master of Ceremonies:

    Hope Gerochi

    Infrastructure Specialist, Transport

    World Bank

  • Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno

    Hon. Benjamin E. Diokno

    Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

    Dr. Diokno is the current Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP/Central Bank of the Philippines). Prior to his appointment, he served as Budget Secretary from 2016 to 2019 marking his third tour of duty at the Department of Budget and Management. As Budget Secretary, he pursued an expansionary fiscal policy to finance investments in human capital development and public infrastructure. Under his leadership, the BSP was among the first central banks in the world to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The prompt and extraordinary monetary measures provided a significant cushion to the current state of the Philippine economy. As such, international publication “The Banker” named him “Global Central Bank Governor of the Year 2022,” a first for the Philippines.


    Ndiamé Diop

    Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, World Bank

    Ndiame Diop leads and provides strategic direction to the World Bank programs in these countries. An economist by profession, Mr. Diop has been working at the World Bank for 21 years. Prior to his current role, he was for four years the Practice Manager of the Macroeconomics Department for South East Asia and Pacific countries, based in Jakarta and Bangkok. He has also previously worked in the South Asia and the Middle East & North Africa regions of the Bank. Ndiamé joined the World Bank in Washington DC as a Young Professional in 2000 and has published numerous articles and book chapters on fiscal policy and debt sustainability, monetary policy, trade policy and diversification, economic growth and poverty reduction.

    Kevin C. Chua World Bank

    Kevin C. Chua

    Senior Economist, Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment, World Bank

    Kevin C. Chua is the lead author of the bi-annual Philippines Economic Update. He also co-leads the Bank’s development policy lending support to the Government of the Philippines. He was the lead author of the Philippines Digital Economy Report, which investigated the challenges and opportunities in fostering an enabling environment for digitalization in the country. Prior to joining the Bank, Dr. Chua was an assistant professor of economics at the Shandong University Center for Economic Research in China. During his time at the university, he published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals on topics such as exchange rate target zones, international transmission of inflation, household savings rate, regional production chain and economic integration, and co-authored a book on the Asian Noodle Bowl: Free Trade and Economic Integration in the Post-Crisis Era. He also worked as a consultant for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York, and a credit officer in a commercial bank in the Philippines. He holds a doctorate degree in economics from Fordham University, and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Dr. Chua sits on the board of the Philippine Economic Society.

    Jaime Frias World Bank

    Jaime Frias

    Senior Economist, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation, East Asia and Pacific, World Bank

    Jaime Frias leads engagements for the World Bank in the field of innovation and competitiveness. He brings to his work more than 20 years of experience in private sector development, marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship policy. Jaime’s areas of expertise include project operations, strategy and analytics —acquired working in over a dozen countries spanning Central and South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and East Asia. He brings to his work credentials in economic policy with the World Bank, management consulting with On the Frontier (previously part of The Monitor Group); and business and marketing with The Procter and Gamble Company. Jaime is a graduate of the Master in Public Administration and International Development (MPA/ID) program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to enrolling in this program, he served as the Country Director for International Development Enterprises (IDE) in Hanoi, Vietnam and as a Junior Brand Manager with the Procter and Gamble Company in Chile.

    Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Group, Department of Trade and Industry

    Rafaelita Aldaba

    Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation Group, Department of Trade and Industry

    Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba is the Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI). She fulfills a key role in the formulation and implementation of the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S),which puts innovation at the heart of the country’s new industrial policy by leading DTI’s initiatives in preparing industries for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and advancing the digital transformation of MSMEs and large enterprises, establishing Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers, developing the country’s creative industries, and growing a robust startup ecosystem in the country.

    Johannes Benjamin R. Bernabe, Commissioner  Philippine Competition Commission

    Johannes Benjamin Bernabe

    Commissioner, Philippine Competition Commission

    Prior to the Philippine Competition Commission, Atty. Johannes Benjamin R. Bernabe served as a Senior Fellow at the Geneva-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, where he contributed to formulating and analyzing policy reforms to the international trade system. He served as Trade Negotiator for the Philippines at the World Trade Organization from 1999 to 2005, where he led the country in negotiations on services trade, intellectual property and competition law. Subsequently, he was a Senior Partner and Counsel at Ocampo Manalo Benabe Law Office. During the 16th Congress, he served as the lead adviser to the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives on key economic legislation, which includes the Philippine Competition Act or R.A. 10667.

    Lito Villanueva Fintech Alliance.Ph

    Lito Villanueva

    Chair, Fintech Alliance.Ph and EVP and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

    Lito Villanueva is the Philippines’ leading and award- winning thought leader on digital transformation and inclusive digital finance. He has over 20 years of experience in banking, telecommunications, payments, development finance, advisory, regtech, and financial technology. He has merited over 70 global and regional awards, including being named one of the Top 100 FinTech Leaders in Asia, Mr. Fintech of the Philippines by BizNewsAsia, and recently as Chief Innovation of the Year by the London-based The Banker, and among the Top 100 Filipinos on LinkedIn in 2021. He released various publications including the award-winning three-volume Inclusive Digital Finance Report and the Uncharted Beyond: The Taxonomy of FinTech in the Philippines. He finished the Cambridge Intellect Leadership Programme on Digital Transformation by Design in 2019 at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education in the UK.

    Mary Grace Mirandilla Santos  Better Internet PH

    Mary Grace Mirandilla-Santos

    Lead Advocate, Better Internet PH and ICT Policy Analyst, Secure Connections

    Mary Grace Mirandilla-Santos is an independent policy researcher with a special focus on universal Internet access, telecoms and broadband infrastructure, and recently, information security and critical information infrastructure. She has been working as a consultant for various government institutions and development organizations, including The Asia Foundation, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Department of Justice, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, and the Department of Science and Technology. Currently, Grace works as lead policy researcher for Broadband Infrastructure and Cybersecurity under the Coalitions for Change program of The Asia Foundation Philippines. She is also a digital technology research consultant at the ADB, and a technical consultant for the DOST’s Resilient Education Information Infrastructure for the New Normal (REIINN) Project. Grace is a research fellow of LirneAsia, vice president for policy of the Internet Society (ISOC) Philippines Chapter, ICT policy analyst of Secure Connections, and lead advocate of Better Internet PH.

    Cecile Niang World Bank

    Cecile Thioro Niang

    Practice Manager for Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation, East Asia and Pacific, World Bank

    As the Practice Manager for East Asia and Pacific, Cecile Niang covers the Pacific Islands, Indonesia/Timor and Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia for the Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation Global Practice at the World Bank Group. Since joining the Bank in 2004, she has held various positions working on long term infrastructure finance, climate finance, financial inclusion; firm capabilities and innovation; markets and technology; investment and competition, telecoms and digital development. Ms. Niang has previously worked in the Latin America & the Caribbean region, in South Asia and Africa. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Cecile was an Associate Manager, Business Development at France Telecom North America and a Director, Corporate Development at Juno Online, a US internet service provider.

    Heejin Lee World Bank

    Heejin Lee

    Senior Private Sector Specialist, Consultant, World Bank

    Jin Lee has 15 years of experience in private sector development and climate change in developing countries, with a focus on policy analysis and technical assistance to firms and project developers. At the World Bank, she has supported capacity building of government agencies and intermediary organizations in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. Her publications include building competitive green industries and entrepreneurship diagnostics. Prior to joining the Bank, Jin advised the European Commission on climate and energy policy development and implementation.