Luzon on lockdown: How Filipino tech leaders are responding

With more than 55 million citizens quarantined on the island of Luzon, home to capital city Manila, the Philippines is operating in a ‘state of calamity’. Designed to halt the spread of COVID-19, the decision by President Rodrigo Duterte to place over half of the country’s entire population on lockdown until 12 April — which may be extended — triggering a ripple effect on business and the economy.

On the one hand, the rise of remote working has kick-started plans to build out business continuity, collaboration and security strategies, underpinned by a digital transformation agenda.

But COVID-19 has also placed CIOs at the centre of survival efforts, tasked with responding to the challenge with both short-term and long-term actions to increase resilience and prepare for future.

Concepcion Industrial adapted quickly due to employees’ personal internet access

As CIO of Filipino air conditioning and refrigerator provider Concepcion Industrial, Richard Parcia said the initial lockdown of Manila affected business operations on two fronts.

“First, we moved our network utilisation from enterprise to personal,” Parcia told CIO ASEAN. “But aside from the utilisation, there was nothing out of the ordinary because the majority of our users have access to the internet in a personal capacity. The quality differs but we have many other communication options and the users naturally utilise the more appropriate option for them, depending on the situation.”

Secondly, Parcia said Concepcion reported a sharp increase in the utilisation of unified communication tools, with more employees leveraging collaboration platforms and systems. “Following the lockdown, our employees were encouraged to use our collaboration tools to keep in touch with our business partners,” he added. “The use of these tools is our primary option to attend to the ongoing projects and keep the business rolling. It was a bit jarring at first for some, but the learning curve is neither steep nor long. People were able to adjust right away meaning they can be productive and at the same time, tend to their families and for some, their communities.”