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The Philippines’ DICT Ramps Up Digital Transformation Initiatives

The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is ramping up the country’s readiness for participation in the global digital economy this National ICT Month 2021.

Sporting the theme, “Onwards Through ICT: Building a Stronger Philippine Digital Economy”, the DICT encourages the public to participate and learn more about its efforts to achieve digital transformation of the country.

The National ICT Month is held annually every month of June and commemorates the value of ICT in nation-building under Proclamation Number 1521, Series of 2008. This year, the department focuses on the digital transformation of the country with its newly adopted CHIP Framework as a strategic guide.

The CHIP framework which stands for Connect, Harness, Innovate, and Protect is to implement plans, programmes and initiatives aimed at accelerating the digital transformation to strengthen the country’s digital economy in the new normal, said the agency. Through this framework, they shall strive for the economy to come out of the new normal stronger and more promising than before, they added.

The CHIP framework was adopted from the World Bank Digital Economy 2020 report, and it outlines and restructures the DICT’s plans and initiatives to accelerate the digital transformation of the country in the new normal.

The CHIP framework is composed of the following initiatives:

  • The Connect component contains the DICT’s digital connectivity and infrastructure programmes.
  • Harness pertains to capacity-building initiatives to upskill Filipinos for the digital economy.
  • Innovate highlights the Department’s government modernisation and digitisation projects.
  • and lastly, the Protect component focuses on the mitigation of risks and threats as the country transitions to a digitally enabled economy.

As the DICT rallies its efforts under the framework, the agency aims to enhance its plans to be more responsive to the actual needs and demands of the Philippine ICT landscape.

More activities featuring the specific plans under each component will be highlighted moving forward. The month-long celebration features various online activities to be hosted by the DICT’s bureaus, services and programmes.

As per reports from the World Bank and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), rapid adoption of digital technologies can help the Philippines overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, recover from the crisis, and achieve its vision of becoming a middle-class society free of poverty.

The report says that the use of digital technologies such as digital payments, e-commerce, telemedicine, and online education, is rising in the Philippines and has helped individuals, businesses, and the government cope with social distancing measures, ensure business continuity, and deliver public services during the pandemic.

The use of digital technologies in the Philippines, however, is still below its potential, with the country’s digital adoption generally trailing behind many regional neighbours. The digital divide between those with and without the internet leads to unequal access to social services and life-changing economic opportunities.

Efforts to enhance digital infrastructure in the Philippines are hindered by a lack of competition as well as restrictions on investment in the telecommunications markets, according to the report. These restrictions include the public utility designation of telecommunications, which limits foreign ownership and places a cap on the rate of return.

The report also identifies the low transaction account ownership, the lack of a national ID, nascent payment infrastructure, and the perceived risk of digital transactions as restricting the wider adoption of digital payments.

According to the World Bank, increasing digital adoption by the government, businesses, and citizens are critical, not only to help the Philippines adapt to the post-COVID-19 world but also to achieve its vision of becoming a society free of poverty by 2040.

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