MAP Insights


How to be a Techie

written by Ms. CHIT U. JUAN - December 27, 2022

It is never too late to liberate yourself from an assistant. And take things into your hands. It is the best thing you can do to keep your brain healthy.


Executives are spoiled in that they do not even need to think of bills, cut off dates and other routine must-do or must-pay tasks. We always turn to an Executive Assistant or these days, a Virtual Assistant, to do the work for us.


I met a former bank executive who took these things into his hands. Every month, he would open his laptop and pay bills on their due dates, do the payments online, and this was six years ago. He also was 81 years old. He was living life in retirement and just had a few dogs, a cook and a driver to answer his daily needs. It is never too late to learn how to do these tasks even if you are just 60 or 70 years of age. All it takes is to sit down and tell yourself you can do it.


This retiree also played the stock market online. Everyday he would devote a few hours checking on his portfolio and make orders to buy, sell or hold. As a former banker, he was organized and was a fastidiously neat worker, who had a place for everything and everything in its place.


Having spent a few Sundays with him as he would invite us over for lunch or coffee, I observed his habits and hope that someday I could be as orderly with my bank details, my bills and credit cards.  I thought that even in retirement or semi-retirement, one must have control over bills and confidential matters, and not just turn them over to our staff or even relatives.


My brother who is 82 still is on Viber, text and email and this keeps his mind busy and active. So for me, being the youngest of the retirees, I challenged myself to learn a few more techie things.


Here are some ideas you can start with:

  1. Pay bills online. It is now so easy to use an online bank account to pay Meralco, PLDT, mobile company bills.
  2. Listen to audiobooks. The eyes get strained when we read the written word all the time. Download apps like and find your favorite books to listen to, rather than read them or keep books that will get dusty on your shelves.
  3. Bank online. New apps now allow you to deposit checks without having to visit your bank or sending someone to the bank physically. It has been a breeze depositing a check virtually.
  4. Download Spotify to listen to music of your era or to listen to podcasts of speeches, or other interesting topics discussed by experts. You have no need for Compact Discs (CDs) or USB sticks to put in your laptop.
  5. Learn how everything works through Bluetooth. Get Bluetooth speakers which are so portable you can take them literally everywhere and just connect to your mobile phone (with wifi of course)
  6. Play games on your mobile phone. You can pass the time and keep your brain active by doing puzzles, word games and even solitaire on your phone. They say it’s good for the brain to work different parts of it, not just the analytical side.

It is never too late to start. You may ask a very patient middle-aged person to teach you as the young seem to be impatient in teaching the old. They do not know why we do not get it right away. They forget we are digital immigrants while they are digital natives, being able to intuit everything without an operating manual.


But, do start. It is a liberating experience to know how to manage our affairs even without virtual or real assistants. You can start with making lists of what you ask others to do for you. Then start crossing them out as you learn to do it yourself. Even the act of crossing out an item in your “things to do” is liberating.


Before you lose your memory, train your brain. Train it to think not only on problem-solving but on routine tasks as well. Paying bills, checking bank accounts, transferring money—these will become routine once you get the hang of it.


Challenge yourself to do the unthinkable—like letting go of your assistant. They have been half our brains and we are held hostage because we become too dependent on others.


Challenge yourself while helping your brain stay healthy. It may be the best gift you can give yourself this Christmas.



(This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or MAP.  The author is member of MAP Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and MAP Agribusiness Committee. She is Chair of the Philippine Coffee Board, and Councilor of Slow Food for Southeast Asia. Feedback at <> and <>.  


be causing the ‘cost-push’ inflation and that contractionary monetary policy may not be enough to temper it – notwithstanding the responsive policy rate adjustments made by BSP, inflation has continued to rise.


In view of this, the following fiscal policy tools are recommended to the Philippine government through the Department of Finance with the aim of easing the hardship brought by high inflation especially to the poor and low-income earners: (1) increasing excise taxes on non-essential goods, (2) imposing corporate income tax to non-resident foreign tech giants, (3) improving tax collections through digitalization, (4) cutting government spending, and (5) other government interventions.


Increasing taxes


While increasing taxes may be politically challenging, Congress can enact a law to increase taxes on non-essential goods, like luxury cars, alcoholic drinks, cigarettes including vapes which are not considered basic commodities. Revisiting the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law to further increase excise tax on luxury cars from 60 to 200 percent will generate more revenues from the top 10 percent of households in terms of income as this is a highly progressive tax. There may be an initial slowdown in the sales of cars, alcohol and cigarettes but it will quickly recover as it did in the past once the inflation is brought back down to healthy levels.


Imposing corporate income tax


Congress is presently considering the imposition of the 12 percent value added tax (VAT) on digital services, expecting that it will generate an estimate of P19 billion in revenues or less than 0.1 percent of GDP. Instead of doing that, however, imposing income tax or digital service tax to non-resident foreign tech giants and digital transactions including cryptocurrency may yield higher revenues without burdening the low-income earners. How it will be collected may still be a question but it’s worth pursuing rather than simply imposing a 12 percent value added tax on digital services which will burden local consumers.


Improving tax collections


Revenue collections from audit and investigation contribute less than 2 percent to the total tax collections. The government must instead prioritize the full digitalization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) so that they can catch up with the fast-paced development in the e-commerce and digital economy. This will require at least an additional 10 percent of their P11.12 billion FY 2022 budget and reallocation of Personnel Services which comprised 72 percent of its total budget. This can be used to fund full digitalization and hiring of software engineers, developers and data analysts to support its new IT infrastructure.


Implementing a general tax amnesty and lifting the Bank Secrecy Law will also generate more revenues without relying on regular audit and investigation. This will allow the BIR to run after big-time tax evaders since they would no longer be able to hide behind the Bank Secrecy Law.


However, both legislations will require more political will from the President to make it a priority bill of his Administration.


A risk-based audit will also generate more tax collections than the random audit. Using data analytics and industry benchmarking, the BIR can allocate their resources in auditing high-risk industries and taxpayers, especially large corporations which contribute more than 60% of the total tax collections.


Cut government spending


While checks and balances are in place, the government must cut spending, address loopholes in budget allocation, and deal with procurement issues that led to an average of P1 Trillion (T) unused and misused/abused annual budget from 2010-2020. Transparency and accountability must be upheld, especially given the proposed P5.268T budget for 2023 and the increasing debt at P13.5T as of November 2022.


Targeted subsidy and financial support to farmers and fisher folks must also be prioritized to increase domestic productivity which will reduce prices and importation of agricultural products.


Other government interventions


While subsidies are helpful, it is high time to revisit the Oil Deregulation Law in order to give the government the power to intervene when there is a prolonged increase of oil prices.




Addressing high inflation requires a whole-of-government approach. It requires fiscal consolidation through budget rationalization and more tax revenues. While the BSP uses monetary policy to temper inflation with the least possible job loss, the government must exercise fiscal restraint to lower inflationary pressures.


First, government deficits and debts must be lowered. Rationalizing the government budget will not only cut unnecessary spending but also reduce the budget deficit. PPP may also be helpful in funding infrastructure projects to avoid incurring more foreign debts.


Moreover, revenue efforts must be increased through tax policy and administration reforms. Increasing the excise tax on non-essential goods will serve as both a revenue and health measure, and imposing corporate income tax or digital service tax on non-resident foreign tech giants will generate more collections from the digital economy.


Fiscal consolidation aimed at taxes and spending that help the rich can help reduce inflation. There could be trade-offs in terms of jobs to a slower economy but inflation is already hurting the poor and vulnerable. Thus, keeping targeted subsidy will help ease their hardships while the government continue to address high inflation.


(This article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or MAP.  The author is a MPA/Mason Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a member of the MAP Tax Committee and the MAP Ease of Doing Business Committee, Co-chair of Paying Taxes on Ease of Doing Business Task Force, and Chief Tax Advisor of the Asian Consulting Group. Feedback at <> and <>.)