Gov’t pressed on new agency for infotech
BORACAY, Aklan — The creation of a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is seen crucial in enabling the Philippines to ride the wave of the “Internet economy” that, in turn, is seen to boost the economic participation of small enterprises and become an effective vehicle for inclusive growth.
“Personally, [I think] it’s crucial because right now we’re not just talking about the Internet economy—we’re also talking about the digital economy, which deals with big data and content, and which enterprises can use for their own projects and businesses,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura Del Rosario said on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting held here Monday.
“For me, we need the DICT not just because of a regulatory function, but because every agency should be a facilitator of all these issues and in how we can make growth inclusive. I think really that the Internet economy is a vehicle for inclusive growth. For instance, even a cottage industry that [produces] an excellent product can get bigger market beyond his community [through the Internet],” Del Rosario said in an interview with the Inquirer. “The DICT will be crucial to facilitate the Internet and digital economy, and in the formation of an environment to make sure it helps both the user and provider.”
Local and foreign business groups earlier pressed lawmakers on the passage of a long-overdue bill creating a DICT as this would improve e-governance, raise broadband quality, help strengthen cyber-security and improve national competitiveness.
The concept of Internet economy came into the spotlight last year when Apec leaders formally recognized its role in promoting innovative development and empowering economic participation of individuals and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) as much as for multinational companies.
According to the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), the Internet now accounts directly for at least 3.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in many economies. About half of this came from e-commerce and a third from investments in information technology infrastructure by private firms.
“The importance of the Internet to the broader economy is set to increase in the coming years as more firms integrate technology into their business operations and as diverse communications tools become more interconnected across most aspects of work and society,” the PECC said.
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