MVP to industry leaders: Accelerate digital migration for Filipino consumers

MANILA, Philippines - PLDT and Smart Communications (Smart) Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan urged top executives from leading companies in the Philippines and Southeast Asia to work together in accelerating the shift of Filipino consumers to the digital life.

Manny V. Pangilinan, Chairman, PLDT and Smart.
Manny V. Pangilinan, Chairman, PLDT and Smart
“Filipino history, to this point, has been defined by physical movements. We have migrated from the Philippines and into other countries in search of temporary work or permanent settlement. The next period of our history is being defined by this digital movement. It’s our role to get more and more Filipinos online and give them the best technologies available on it,” he said during the first ever Digital Disruptors’ Ball held recently in Shangri-la Makati.

Hosted by Voyager Innovations, the digital arm of PLDT and Smart, the Digital Disruptors’ Ball aims to accelerate the digital migration of Filipino consumers through partnerships among the companies in attendance. Among the participants are top level executives of companies affiliated with First Pacific Co. Ltd. and global Internet giant Rocket Internet.

Filipino digital migration

Many people may erroneously assume that the digital life of consumers is the same from one country to another. Yet according to Pangilinan, consumers the world over experience dramatically different kinds of digital life.

He wants to fast track to the rich world of digital life, which includes apps, content, and the internet of things.

Smart and Voyager top executives
(L-R) Mauro Cocchieri (Co-founder & CEO, Foodpanda), Orlando B. Vea (President and CEO, Voyager Innovations) , Kenneth Palacios (Department Head, International Business, Smart e-Money Inc.), Subir Lohani (Managing Director, Carmudi), Thomas Mossner (Business Development Manager, ClickBus), Paolo Azzola (Co-COO, Smart e-Money Inc.)

Pangilinan feels that this transition is of historical importance and that it will ultimately benefit the Filipino consumer.

“Extending these technologies to the Filipino consumer is a form of empowerment. It makes their digital lives richer, more convenient, and infinitely more enjoyable,” Pangilinan said.

Taking the lead in digital

Pangilinan challenged the executives in attendance to take the lead on this digital migration by striking partnerships and developing synergies with one another. As such, the event had a minimal program - outside of Pangilinan’s keynote and short audiovisual presentations from free internet platform SafeZone and Smart e-Money Inc., which is soon launching a fin-tech platform - so that the leaders present could freely network and socialize.

Stephen Misa (VP and Group Head, Voyager Innovations), Ramon Isberto (Group Head of Public Affairs, PLDT and Smart), Theresa Busmente (Affiliate Partner Manager, Agoda), George G. Gordon (AVP/Center Head, Voyager Innovations)
The guest list, which was capped at eighty, was limited to top-level executives and managing directors. This included the managing directors of Rocket Internet companies operating in the Philippines, such as Zalora, Carmudi, Lamudi, FoodPanda, Kaymu, Agoda, Clickbus, and Easy Taxi. The rest of the participants were leaders from Smart, PLDT, Cignal, Mediaquest, Meralco, Bayad Center, Talas,, BusinessWorld, Interaksyon, the Metro Pacific Hospital group, Smart e-Money Inc. and Voyager Innovations.

The caliber of the attendees ensured that major decisions relating to business strategy could be initiated or even made on the spot.

Orlando B. Vea, president and CEO of Voyager Innovations, feels that there was a palpable energy in the room.

“It’s not often you get leaders of this caliber and this range in a single room for one night. There were leaders on ecommerce, financial technology, internet access, and everything in between. I know of at least several major partnerships that were struck over the course of the evening. I can’t get into details just yet, but suffice to say, exciting things are coming,” Vea said.

Despite these deals, the event was not just a venue to pitch solutions. Attendees were challenged to listen as much as they spoke - to one another’s needs, challenges, and pain points. Such discussion would not always lead to a business deal, but would always create a competitive advantage via knowledge-sharing.

MVP and other top executives
Manuel V. Pangilinan, Paolo Azzola (Co-COO, Smart e-Money Inc.), Daniel Torres (Managing Director, Easy Taxi), Santiago Herrera (Consultant, Smart e-Money Inc.), Stephen Misa (VP and Group Head, Voyager Innovations), Orlando B. Vea (President and CEO, Voyager Innovations)
“The cumulative level of talent in attendance was nothing short of inspiring. If we can make it a habit to share best practices and ideas with one another, I have no doubt that we can transform the Digital Disruptor’s Ball from a simple event to something much bigger than itself, and catapult the Filipino consumer into a far more rewarding digital life,” Vea said.

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