ILIGAN CITY — “Now more than ever, it is very important for us to boost the BPO and freelancing sector since these two have become the strongest industries due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” said Iligan City Representative Frederick W. Siao.
Siao has filed two house bills that seek to promote the growth of Philippine digital careers and integrate digital technology in all areas of government.
House Bill 7048 or the “National Digital Careers Bill” seeks to encourage the development of digital careers across all sectors of society and ensure that Filipino workers remain competitive and possess skills and competencies at par with global standards in the digital economy.
Under the bill, the DICT, Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will “create, design, and develop programs to ensure access to trainings, market, and other forms of support or innovation strategies for digital careers.”
Also, digital workers and freelancers will be entitled to certain incentives, such as scholarships for certification trainings, subsidies for use of facilities, office space, equipment, and/or services.
In addition, Siao filed House Bill 7049 or the “National Digital Transformation Bill”, which seeks to “integrate digital technology into all areas of government that will greatly improve Philippine governance, socio-economic development, and services to citizens.”
Notable features of the bill include building and improving the digital competence of citizens through education and training initiatives, developing educational programs for teachers’ and educators’ development at a national and regional level, and the inclusion of information and communications technology (ICT) in work, vocation, business, and life.
“At present, businesses have found it necessary to shift to online and non-physical transactions. So our people could really use the new skills and jobs,” Siao said.
Siao signed the said bills on June 30, the same day the Digital Cities 2025 was announced.
“These are very timely house bills considering that my hometown, Iligan City, along with 24 other cities, has just been named as one of the Digital Cities 2025,” he said.
Digital Cities 2025 is a program launched by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to increase investments in the countryside and create employment opportunities in their information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector.
The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) announced also on June 30 the 25 cities that would benefit from the program, including Iligan City.
“These bills will provide the support needed by these cities to boost their BPO sector in the next five years,” Siao added.
Siao has been an active part in promoting the growth of the ICT industry since 2015.
As councilor of Iligan City, he co-authored an ordinance that created an ICT council tasked with attracting more investments in the city’s ICT industry.
He also helped in the formation of the Iligan Lanao IT Experts (ILITE), composed of private IT practitioners.
As congressman, one of the major projects he submitted for 2021 was the construction of a seven-story ICT building in Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to support the university’s ICT workforce, systems, and infrastructure.
Siao said that he would continue to monitor the progress of the BPO and freelancing industry and provide support to the best of his capacity whenever and wherever it is needed. (Office of Congressman Frederick W. Siao)