A senior lawmaker on Monday said a new law directs the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and local government units (LGUs) in conducting a digital technology and skills mapping nationwide to identify available competencies and gaps in ICT infrastructure, platforms and skills.
Camarines Sur Rep. Lray Villafuerte said Republic Act (RA) 11927 or the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act, which he co-authored, lapsed into law last July.
Villafuerte said RA 11927 establishes the Inter-Agency Council for Development and Competitiveness of Philippine Digital Workforce that seeks to “ensure that all Filipino youth, students and workers have access to and are provided with skills and competencies in digital contents, platforms and technology that are at par with global standards, and shall encourage digital innovations and entrepreneurship.”
This inter-agency council shall be chaired by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) and shall have as agency-members the DOLE; DICT; Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), of Science and Technology (DOST), of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and of Education (DepEd); Commission on Higher Education (CHED); and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
Villafuerte said the law provides that with the DOLE as the lead agency, and in tandem with the DICT, LGUs and other stakeholders, the Inter-Agency Council shall “conduct a digital technology and digital skills mapping nationwide, identifying the available skills and competencies, skills gaps and training needs, demographics of the Philippine workforce in digital technology and sectors, and the availability and access to digital platforms and ICT infrastructure, among others.”
He said the new jobs that Filipino workers need to excel in to get ahead in the post-pandemic world are in FIRe fields such as engineering and cloud computing, data and artificial intelligence (AI), web development and management, e-commerce marketing, animation and content creation, online teaching and tutoring, 3D modeling and graphic designing, game and mobile application development, search engine optimization, animation and content creation, social media (socmed) branding and public relations, virtual assistance, transcription and data entry, and online teaching and tutoring.
To guarantee the “e-readiness” of LGUs, Villafuerte said the law directs the DICT, Departments of Budget and Management (DBM) and of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and other relevant agencies to ensure “universal access to high-speed, quality, and affordable Internet by prioritizing and facilitating the development of ICT infrastructure in the localities across the country.”
The law requires the DILG and DICT to jointly assess the e-readiness of all municipalities, cities, provinces, and regions to ensure a thriving digital workforce ecosystem, and, for this purpose, calls on the national government to “prioritize the construction of digital infrastructure to foster digital-based economic activity under their infrastructure programs or initiatives,” said Villafuerte, who is the majority leader of the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) that screens presidential appointees.