SENATOR Joel Villanueva is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 1834 or the “Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act” that seeks to equip Filipinos with digital skills.
Villanueva, during the GoLearn virtual launch, said digitalization will play a critical role in the country’s economic recovery the reason it has to prepare its workforce for the digital post-pandemic environment.
“At this point in time digital technology is so crucial that our economic recovery success will depend on it,” he said.
Villanueva said the bill will ensure the development of the country’s digital workforce by equipping Filipinos with digital skills and with the 21st century skills.
This will also ensure that the Filipino workforce will benefit from the job opportunities provided by digital technologies.
Villanueva, who is the chair of the Senate Committee on Higher and Technical and Vocational Education, defines “digital workforce” as anyone who engages in remunerated activity through the use of digital skills and digital technology, regardless of work or employment arrangement, whether as a regular employee of a company or as a freelancer.
“Many have lost their jobs during the pandemic, but there are also many opportunities due to digital technology. We need to focus on providing added labor value to our countrymen by upgrading their skills so that they can get opportunities in digital careers or be promoted if they are already in digital jobs,” said Villanueva in a statement.
“Through this bill, the Department of Information and Communications Technology will be able to achieve or even exceed its target of 500,000 unemployed Filipinos in our provinces to become globally competitive digital workers by the year 2022,” he added.
The bill also seeks to establish an Inter-Agency Council for Development and Competitiveness of the Philippine Digital Workforce. The council will be the primary planning, coordinating and implementing body in the promotion, development, enhancement and competitiveness of the country’s digital workforce.
It also seeks to empower all local government units (LGU) together with the Public Employment Service Offices.
Villanueva said the bill will enable LGUs to create local policies supporting and promoting the growth and development of digital technology and digital careers and innovations in their respective communities.
Moreover, if passed into law it will pave the way for public-private partnerships with experts, information technology-business process outsourcing industry associations, private companies and other stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of training, skills development and certification programs.
Some of the programs that are included in the proposed measure are web development, online teaching, animation, content creation, digital marketing graphic designing, 3D modelling and CAD, game development, mobile application development, virtual assistance, business intelligence and data analytics and transcription and data entry, among others.
“We need to pass this measure so that we can move beyond existing models of innovation, entrepreneurship and digital growth,” said Villanueva. “Pushing this measure that will greatly advance the utilization of digital technology like robotics and artificial intelligence in many spheres of our lives, especially in the ways we relate, work and earn a living.”
Efforts to help produce a digital-abled workforce have been ongoing since before the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was only last year when digital initiatives were accelerated to address the digital divide. (KOC)