MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Achieving meaningful digital transformation in a nation will require a whole-of-the-nation approach in revamping key practices, behaviors, and policies. The Philippines has been receptive to new technologies and has in fact made positive responses to innovation. Policies and regulations are expected to stay dynamic and keep up with the innovation wave.
“With rising challenges in the face of disruptive and innovative technologies, we are quite positive that the Philippine regulatory and legal landscape will firm up and meet the demands of this generation,” said Atty. Mark Gorriceta, Managing Partner of Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra.
Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra is a full-service law firm and one of the leaders in the fields of Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, Tech, and Taxation in the Philippines. The firm offers a full array of services such as corporate and business law, technology media & telecommunications, capital markets, M&A, taxation, estate planning, litigation, transportation law, intellectual property law, and labor law, among others.
“An agile innovative industry must be enabled and supported by a robust and adaptable legal system and a synergetic legal culture. This will especially benefit thriving tech startups and corporations that are offering a service or product that barely existed five years or a decade ago,” he continued.
Cyber-space Regulations and Consumer Protection
Recent data breaches here and abroad–the Cambridge Analytica controversy, for instance–show how legal regulations governing the cyberspace need to keep up in this day and age. In the recently concluded Law x Tech Summit held last June 25, 2019 at the Dusit Thani Hotel, data protection and cyber-security were among the pressing topics discussed by its speakers, panelists, and participants.
“Our digital footprint is everywhere and we can’t help it. Social media and mobile utility apps are not just engaging us—they impact our lives on a fundamental level as they accelerate efficiency and guarantee convenience,” said Atty. Francis A. Africa, a partner at Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra.
He further explained that while consumers need to take up conscious habits in preventing fraud and identity theft, both regulators and tech providers must take on a deeper sense of responsibility in ensuring consumer protection and education in navigating the cyber-space.
Strategic ties for Filipino’s Intellectual Property Protection and Regtech
Due to the generous end-user accessibility made possible by the world wide web, IP protection laws in this century are disrupted and must, therefore, innovate. “Exponentially growing, cutting-edge competition for start-ups means a heightened need for intellectual property (IP) protection,” said Chiew Yu Sarn of Yusarn Audrey, a law firm based in Singapore with offices in Thailand and Malaysia that specializes in intellectual property and technology law.
“In enabling the law and tech landscape in the Philippines as a space where intellectual property is duly respected and attributed, we shared how companies in Singapore can better secure their brand, products, and services through our best practices in harnessing IP protection laws and regulations, and we’d like to share this expertise for the benefit of the growing sector of Philippine startups,” he continued.
Financial technology or FinTech has become a buzzword in recent years. Most fintech companies offer loans with the aim of servicing unbanked and providing better access to financing.
“FinTech requires an adoptable regulatory network that will help all tech stakeholders achieve the common goal of maximizing public benefits,” Gorriceta said. “Regulators must become agile and collaborative with innovators in coming up with viable financial services that are both optimally governed and optimally delivered to their target markets,” he further added, explaining that gathering regulators, legal actors, and startup leaders is a key objective of the Law x Tech Summit.
Titled Legal and Regulatory Frameworks on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, this year’s Law x Tech Summit included enterprise and consumer protection, digital asset offerings, virtual currency exchanges and other virtual currency business activities, crowdfunding, and enterprise navigation through tech ecosystems.
Also present in the event were representatives of key government regulatory agencies, leading tech law experts from the Philippines and Singapore, and key tech players in the Philippines.
His Excellency Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines, Gerard Ho, graced the event as he highlighted economic potential and economic benefits to be reaped through the strengthening of business and technological ties between Singapore and the Philippines.
“From this day and onward, through our Law x Tech Summit we will aim to gather thought leaders, government actors, and leading legal minds aimed at generating thought-provoking discourse on the Philippines’ present and future legal regimes as applied to disruptive technology,” Gorriceta said.
“It is the responsibility of our present-day lawyers to ensure that the nation is thriving in the fast-paced digital landscape – if not leading the way – and, at the same time, to operate in a way protective of not just the enterprises they advise and represent but, more importantly, the general consumers and society at large,” he concluded.