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June is Information and Communications Tech Month in the Philippines

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Communications Technology Month). Activities to mark the commemorative event aim to recognize the contributions of ICT as a major sector for Philippine economic growth, as well as further push efforts to implement a national ICT program. The government’s Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) is the agency leading these said efforts. In the Philippines, ICT Month is celebrated during the month of June since the year 2008.  This is in following with the provisions of Proclamation No. 1521 (series of 2008). This year’s theme is “Internet for All: No Juan Left Behind,” which the ICTO explained highlights the importance of the internet in the lives ordinary Filipinos and its impact on the different sectors in social and economic spheres.

Among the events that have been scheduled as part of ICT month are the launch of several audio-visual presentations from IT agencies and private sector members that show the significance of ICT in each sector. For instance, the e-Innovation Group will hold a workshop focused on job creation through the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM). The said workshop aims to promote entrepreneurship and leverage the use of ICT to provide solutions for different through technology startups.

In the meantime, among the goals of the eFilipino Development Program of the ICTO is to improve the lives of impoverished Filipinos.  One of their aims is to help improve the lives of persons with disabilities (PWDs) by providing them relevant ICT-related skills so they can use ICT as a tool for employment.

There will also be Cyber Literacy Talk comprised of lectures and discussions for high school students. Members of this sector are highly exposed to social networking sites and spend long hours surfing the net. This, the ICTO said, makes them vulnerable to potential dangers from the cyberspace. The discussions will be venue to send the message to Filipino youth on how to be responsible internet users and how they should be aware of possible threats against their personal privacy and security.

In the meantime, the IT agency is also determined to promote the Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) Project. The agency explained that the iGovPhil project is important to the e-Government Master Plan of 2013-2016. This month, the iGov Phil Project will launch their shared services applications and initiatives called PhP Pay and PeGif.

ICT also contributes greatly to the national economy as seen in the growth of the BPO industry which is reliant on ICT.

ICTO executive director Louis Napoleon C.  Casambre has explained that in the past decade, the country’s IT-BPO industry has grown at an exponential rate.  He cited statistics from the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) showing that the global offshore services market will continue to grow at a very healthy pace and stands to become a USD$268 billion industry by 2016 and employ about 7.6 million direct workers. 

“Locally, our IT-BPO industry continues to play a key role in the country’s economic development program.  It has become the most important generator of jobs with around 600,000 employees in 2011 and the second largest contributor to the country’s GNP with US$10.9 billion revenue.  For 2016, we are targeting US$25 billion revenue and create 1.3 million jobs,” he said.

 During the 2010 celebrations of ICT week, the vice-president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said that “ICT for development is not about computers, mobile phones, and the internet, but about help, support, and train people in linking them and communities for communication, learning, and services. This will lead to improved well-being, increased work productivity, support for innovation, and impetus for inclusive growth.”

She said that specifically for the ADB, ICT has an important role to play when it comes to ensuring that the ADB delivers its long term strategic agenda in the region that focuses on inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.  

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