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COVID-19 technology: DICT activates GovNet project for info drive

Image credit: Philippine Information Agency

To aid information dissemination on COVID-19, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is providing internet connectivity to eleven government agencies in Marawi and Lanao del Sur, through the Government Network project.

The Lanao del Sur Provincial Head noted that the initiative aims to address the gaps in disseminating and delivering information, updates, and advisories in the province, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

According to a press release, the project will utilise fibre optic cable to provide the cities with internet connection.

DICT is also set to continue its ‘Digital Jobs Ph’ training, which aims to increase people’s employability by providing training aimed at developing and improving their information and communication technology (ICT) skills.

The global economic meltdown encountered by countries across the world due to COVID-19 has pushed the Philippines to be more technologically-savvy.

DICT’s Regional Director said the COVID-19 pandemic has made businesses realise the critical relevance of ICT, amid the high restrictions on face-to-face engagements in the absence of a cure.

People now see the importance of ICT interventions and recognise it as one of the major drivers of the economy, the Director noted during the bi-weekly ‘Straight From the Source’ interviews on COVID-19 by the Philippine Information Agency-7.

The use of e-commerce has long been promoted to adopt the use of technology in the digital age, but its adoption is not as fast as what is being observed during the pandemic, where companies scramble to apply ICT in their business operations, the Director added.

He claimed that their agency has resorted to webinars to teach and educate interested parties on the important use of ICT amidst the pandemic.

DICT has conducted free webinars on topics like ‘How to Use Google Suite’ and ‘Adopting Google Form’. Many people sign up, even those outside the country. In a few hours, the reach went up to 45,000, the Director stated.

Several private companies also signed up when DICT initiated a webinar called ‘How to Protect Your Business Digitally,’ as most companies today appreciate the use of cloud-based technology, he said.

The country must learn to integrate ICT applications, not only in businesses but in everyday life.

With the government’s strict stay-at-home policy, people are now becoming more resourceful in earning money through social media, posting food for sale like meat, poultry, and fish products, vegetables, and non-essential items online.

The country has witnessed the swift growth of online marketing using social media.

Not everything bad happened amidst the COVID-19 crisis as it has also brought out positive outcomes, stressed the DICT official. The challenge today, however, is strong connectivity, as internet users skyrocket amid the stay-at-home policy.

The Director also advised Filipinos to learn or brush up on their digital skills and undergo digital jobs training, stating “that is where the money is today.”

DICT is also conducting online sessions to prepare teachers under the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to adapt to alternative learning systems post the lockdown measures in place for COVID-19.

As OpenGov reported, DICT is mobilising its various bureaus and agencies to roll out the sessions. The ICT Literacy and Competency Development Bureau (ILCDB), Cybersecurity Bureau and Regional Offices will develop the content of these online sessions as well as facilitate the conducting of the webinars.

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