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The role of AFAB in powering the blockchain culture in the Philippines


When it comes to the blockchain landscape in our own country, there is a rising star that demands our attention — the Freeport Area of Bataan. With its promising potential, it is set to propel the Philippines to new heights in the realm of blockchain technology. In this article, we will explore the crucial role played by the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) in fostering this emerging blockchain culture and its implications for the country’s economic growth and innovation.

It’s time to unlock opportunities in a special economic zone. Located in the province of Bataan, the Freeport Area provides an ideal environment for businesses to flourish, thanks to its special economic zone status. The AFAB, entrusted with the management of this zone, has been instrumental in creating a nurturing ecosystem for blockchain-based enterprises to thrive. By offering advantages such as tax breaks and simplified regulations, AFAB attracts companies seeking to harness the potential of blockchain technology.

This movement would most likely lead to nurturing digital innovation. AFAB’s digital ecosystem plays a pivotal role in facilitating the growth and success of organizations operating within its purview. Through robust auditing and monitoring processes, AFAB ensures that businesses can focus on their objectives with peace of mind, confident in the knowledge that a supportive framework is in place. This emphasis on an enabling environment and ease of doing business is crucial in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, key drivers of blockchain technology adoption.

The push is also aided by inclusive innovation through i3S. AFAB’s efforts align with the broader strategic vision of the Philippine government, as highlighted by the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S) implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The i3S aims to promote innovative and globally competitive industries in manufacturing, agriculture, and services. By strengthening connections within the global value chain, i3S fosters inclusive and sustainable growth, leading to increased employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for Filipinos.

But what is the i3S strategy in action? It tackles the obstacles hindering industry growth through six strategic actions. First, it encourages the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, positioning our industries for competitiveness in the global landscape. Second, it promotes the development of innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship within the blockchain ecosystem. Third, it integrates production systems, linking manufacturing with agriculture and services, which helps bridge gaps in the domestic supply chain and strengthens our participation in global value chains. Fourth, it streamlines regulatory processes and invests in digital and physical infrastructure to enhance the ease of doing business. Fifth, it focuses on upskilling and reskilling the workforce, equipping them with the digital skills required for future production. Lastly, i3S fosters collaboration among the government, academic institutions, and industries to build an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that promotes research commercialization.

Recently, AFAB, in collaboration with the GICC-Impero Consortium, organized the region’s first Technology and Innovation Summit. Delegates from countries like South Korea, Singapore, the United States, and the United Kingdom attended the event. Paul Salapantan, FAB’s Technical Officer for Corporate Affairs, welcomed the delegates on behalf of the newly appointed AFAB administrator, former Lanao del Sur Rep. Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman.

During the summit, Mr. Salapantan provided a comprehensive briefing on the history of the Freeport Authority of Bataan. He encouraged the delegates to register their businesses within the Economic Zone, highlighting the plans to establish the Blockchain Enabled Society Technopolis within the zone.

Emmanuel Samson, the Founder and CEO of Impero Corp. and a member of the GICC-Impero Consortium, discussed AFAB’s Offshore Blockchain Fintech Solution during the summit. Businesses can register to obtain an Offshore Digital Asset License (ODAL) through this initiative, providing them with a regulated and well-organized community in which to operate.

There were also great insights from industry experts. The summit featured speakers who shared their expertise on various topics, including Blockchain infrastructure solutions, NFT solutions, e-commerce, investment in the blockchain ecosystem, cryptocurrency exchanges, and e-wallet solutions. I was there representing the Blockchain Council of the Philippines, where I emphasized the importance of collaboration between foreign and local markets to drive mass adoption of blockchain solutions.

By actively promoting blockchain technology and fostering a supportive ecosystem, AFAB is driving economic growth and innovation in the Philippines. The initiatives, such as ODAL and the upcoming Blockchain Enabled Society Technopolis, demonstrate AFAB’s commitment to creating an environment where blockchain-based businesses can thrive.

With AFAB at the forefront of cultivating a thriving blockchain culture within the Freeport Area of Bataan, the Philippines is poised to harness the full potential of this transformative technology. Through initiatives like the ODAL and alignment with the i3S strategy, AFAB not only facilitates economic growth but also strengthens the country’s position in the global blockchain landscape. By nurturing innovation, encouraging entrepreneurship, and organizing events like the Technology and Innovation Summit, AFAB is positioning the Freeport Area of Bataan as a hub for blockchain technology. As we witness the growth of this ecosystem, the Philippines is poised to become a player in the global blockchain landscape, unlocking new opportunities for economic development and technological advancement.

Dr. Donald Lim is the founding president of the Blockchain Association of the Philippines and the lead convenor of the Philippine Blockchain Week. He is also the Asian anchor of FintechTV.

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