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Philippine ICT project to target rural areas in the ASEAN

A project proposal made by the Philippines had made it to the list of accepted projects of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Telecommunications and Information Technology Senior Officials’ Meeting (TELSOM) and ASEAN Telecommunications Regulators Council (ATRC) Work Plan 2020.

According to a recent press release, the “Digital Jobs Towards ASEAN Integration” project aims to create meaningful ICT-enabled jobs in socio-economically disadvantaged areas in the ASEAN Region.

What is the project about?

The project was initiated by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and was one of the chosen six projects formally accepted by the body during the 1St ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat held recently in Makati, Philippines.

The non-Information and Communications Technology (ICT) inclined professional workforce in the rural areas will serve as the beneficiaries of the project.

These people will include the women, the unemployed, the out-of-school youth and the people with disabilities.

Chances of the landing ICT-related jobs will increase once technical trainings are given to the beneficiaries.

Developing a common framework and design towards the creation of digital jobs that will reach the underserved population of the ASEAN member states is the envisioned outcome of the project.

This will come in three phases.

Additionally, the project will also be facilitating and enhancing the understanding towards the skills requirement for digital jobs in the fields of outsourcing, freelancing and entrepreneurship.

Stages of approval

The ASEAN-funded projects will seek to explore and improve on untapped areas in the ASEAN ICT ecosystem and are expected to be rolled out starting 2020.

The accepted proposals during the first retreat still need endorsement in the upcoming TELSOM-ATRC 2019 Joint Working Group and the 2nd 2019 TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat in May and August, respectively.

An endorsement is required before acquiring the approval at the 19th Telecommunications and IT Ministers Meeting (TELMIN) and the 20th TELSOM and Related Meetings with Dialogue Partners and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Lao, this coming November.

The Philippines hosted the TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat, which is the first of four meetings held annually.

These meetings discuss possible initiatives to tackle the wide-ranging issues concerning telecommunications, Information Technology (IT), and recently, digital revolution.

The first retreat gave emphasis on strengthening the ASEAN collaboration as well as boosting the coordination and reporting mechanism on cybersecurity.

Moreover, it also highlighted discussions on digital data governance and focus areas for the ASEAN ICT Masterplan (AIM) 2025.

TELSOM and ATRC explained

The TELSOM is comprised of Senior Telecommunications Officials duly designated from each of the 10 ASEAN Member countries and meets at least once a year.

The TELSOM and its Working Groups carry out the four objectives of the e-ASEAN Framework Agreement. These are:

  1. Develop, strengthen and enhance the competitiveness of the ICT sector
  2. Reduce the digital divide within and amongst ASEAN Member Countries
  3. Promote cooperation between the public and private sectors
  4. Develop ASEAN Information Infrastructure

Meanwhile, the ATRC aims to advance the development of the telecoms industry in the region by discussing and coordinating policy, strategic and regulatory issues in telecommunications.

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