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The Philippines named top Digital Riser by European Centre for Digital Competitiveness

The European Centre for Digital Competitiveness recently released its Digital Riser Report 2020, which recognised the Philippines as the top Digital Riser in East Asia and the Pacific.

The Digital Riser Report analyses and ranks the changes in the digital competitiveness of countries over the last three years based on the digital ecosystem and mindset. It builds upon data from the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) every year.

According to the report, one of the strengths of the Philippines is the passage of the “Innovative Start-up Act,” a law aimed at strengthening, promoting, and developing an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture. The act includes the creation of the Start-up Development Program (PSDP), which offers benefits and incentives for start-ups and start-up enablers.

The report also cited other regulations that are expected to have a positive impact on the country’s start-up community. Among which are the Philippines’ regulation of start-up visas for owners, employees, and investors as part of the Start-up Assistance Program 2019-2023; the prioritisation and expedited processes for state services applications for promising start-ups and enablers; and the integration of entrepreneurship in the curricula of educational institutions and the provision of incentives to academic institutions.

DICT will continue its plans and projects to speed up the country’s digital transformation. It will collaborate with other national government agencies, local government units, as well as with the private sector and the academe for the development and implementation of various initiatives, DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II stated.

At present, DICT is implementing various digital transformation programs to help the country better adapt to the new normal brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The department is also in strong support of the passage of the “E-Governance Act of 2020” to institutionalise e-governance in the Philippines. DICT expects that the law will complement the government’s current digitalisation efforts.

To improve telecommunications and internet connectivity infrastructure for the country, DICT released the Common Tower Policy earlier, which will widen the base of common towers towards better quality and wider coverage of services to include the remotest areas in the country.

DICT has also signed a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and other agencies in streamlining the permitting requirements and procedures for building common towers. The JMC directed concerned agencies to process, approve, and issue permits within seven days.

Furthermore, DICT is also ramping up the deployment of free Wi-Fi in the country. It currently prioritises the installation of internet sites in health and education institutions in various regions as support to the government’s COVID-19 response, as well as the adjustments of the education sector to the new normal.

The department recognises the need to digitalise government services and aims to enable secured and legitimate online government transactions by pushing for the adoption of the Philippine National Public Key infrastructure (PNPKI) services for both government agencies and the public. PNPKI ensures confidentiality, authenticity, integrity, and non-repudiation of electronic transactions and documents, which allows users of public networks to exchange important data securely.

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