AN industry leader said the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte to continue pushing for ease of doing business with the government and better internet connectivity services will further bolster the competitiveness of digital jobs and careers in the country.
This was stressed yesterday by Lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, executive director of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation of Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT).
Duterte, in his third State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 23, made a strong stand that administration remains firm in its resolve to ensure that the country’s telecommunications services are reliable, inexpensive and secure.
A draft Terms of Reference for the entry of a new and major industry player is at hand. The terms will be fair, reasonable and comprehensive, Duterte said.
"It will be inclusive so it will be open to all interested private parties, both foreign and local," he said, adding that the only condition is that the chosen entity must provide the best possible services at reasonably accessible prices.
The president continued: "However, our efforts to usher in a new major player shall be rendered futile if we do not improve its odds of success in an industry that has long been dominated by a well-entrenched duopoly."
The government, he said, should lower interconnection rates between all industry players.
Duterte believed that it will not only lessen the cost to the consumers but also lower that of the incoming player to access existing networks.
Thus, there is a need to create a market environment that is more conducive to competition, Duterte stressed.
"This is a policy which is crucial to ensure that our solution to our telecommunication problems will be both meaningful and lasting," he added.
BNEFIT has been aggressively promoting digital careers in the province especially freelancing amid the expanding industry workforce.
Batapa-Sigue, also the vice president of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), said strong affordable telco will mean more digital jobs and careers.
"The Digital Age will create hundreds of millions of jobs globally. A strong Philippine telco is like a linchpin, it will open the floodgates for jobs and investments," she added.
Moreover, the BNEFIT and NICP official said the Ease of Doing Business Law is going to be a real game-changer for the Philippines and the local governments if those tasked to fully implement and observe its mandate take the president's warning seriously.
Duterte also said in his report that while they run after those who steal the people’s money, the government is also enhancing the delivery of frontline services.
He thanked the Congress for the swift passage of the bill, which is a significant fight against corruption and improving service delivery.
"We need to sustain our momentum. And I hereby direct all local government units (LGUs) - makinig sana kayo (may you listen) - and government agencies to faithfully implement this law and simply simplify the process," Duterte said.
For Batapa-Sigue, she is very sure that the Office of the President through its 8888 hotline has the data of the agencies with the most number of red tape complaints.
Batapa-Sigue urged the Office of the President to release names of these agencies, not only to hold them accountable but for ICT advocates all over the country to help them.
"There is no shame in asking for help, what is shameful is holding on to old ways that delay government services," she stressed.