DICT to boost connectivity, digital job generation in rural areas

2023 June 3

MANILA — The Philippine government will focus on improving connectivity in rural areas to support the growing number of ICT jobs outside Metro Manila, a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) official said Saturday.

With the advances and opportunities brought by the digital revolution, DICT Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue said the ratio of digital jobs in provinces is expected to increase to more than half a million by 2028.

“[N]oon 80 percent ng digital jobs are in Metro Manila and 20 percent pinaghahati-hatian sa probinsiya. Now we’re almost reaching a 50:50 mark (In the past, 80 percent of the digital jobs are in Metro Manila and 20 percent are spread across provinces. Now we’re almost reaching a 50:50 mark),” she said at the Saturday News Forum.

“We have a lot of digital jobs in the countryside and ang projection po ng ating industry is by 2028, we will probably have 55 percent of the additional 1.2 million jobs na (ang) madadagdag sa ating current number ay magiging nasa probinsiya na (our projection is that by 2028, at least 55 percent of the additional 1.2 million jobs would be in the province),” she added.

Sigue noted that gaps continue to exist as most investments and infrastructures are concentrated in Metro Manila. 

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DICT Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue

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These days, the connectivity projects of DICT are focused on marginalized and GIDA (geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas), Sigue said.

The DICT official said the agency has also started a national broadband project with a landing station in Baler, Aurora to cover the whole country.

It will take six years to fully cover the whole country, Sigue estimated.

The National Fiber Backbone Phase 1 Spectrum light-up at the Baler Cable Landing Station (CLS) will initially provide high-speed internet connectivity in Luzon.

The event, held in April, facilitated the initial 100 gigabits per second link-up between Los Angeles, California in the United States and City of San Fernando, La Union CLS.

This June, DICT is staging various activities to celebrate National ICT Month, the closing of which would be symbolically held in Sacol  Island in Zamboanga City, a recipient of its free internet service program.

Doon po magtatapos iyong ating (Our) National ICT Month sa (will end in) Sacol Island and I’m proud to announce that Sacol Island has been named by the International Telecommunications Union as a potential location to be a smart village of the world,” Sigue said.

Sacol Island has a population of about 12,000. 

Joyce Ann Rocamora (PNA)