Monday, June 17, 2024

Visayas region showcases digital transformation, readiness in confab

Showcasing its potential as a digital hub, the Visayas region recently hosted the 10th Visayas ICT (VICTOR) Conference in Boracay Island, Aklan as it highlighted the importance of convergence between the national and local government units, academe, and private sector through an ICT-enabled whole-of-the-nation approach.

Top officials of the DICT were in attendance at the 10th Visayas ICT (VICTOR) Conference held in Boracay

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) secretary Ivan John Uy stressed the role of the agency in pushing for countryside development and its commitment to being a strong ally for rural development.

“Commemorating a decade of leveraging the Visayas region for Philippine Digital Transformation, we are honored at the DICT to be an institutional partner in the nurturing of countryside-centric initiatives such as the conferences spearheaded by National ICT Confederation of the Philippines in Visayas, Luzon, and Mindanao,” Uy said in his keynote speech last Aug. 26.

He added that the DICT is collaborating with various ICT councils and private partners in the IT-BPM industry to push the country’s digital agenda.

“To establish and strengthen the ICT councils and foster collaboration of relevant stakeholders in developing their local ICT roadmaps, we have the Digital Cities 2025 Program, which aims to expand the IT-BPM industry and ensure decent work and economic growth, especially in the countryside,” he said.

The conference was organized by the NICP Visayas ICT Cluster Organization, in cooperation with the Aklan ICT Council, provincial government of Aklan and Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT.

The conference revolved on the major topics of collaboration, innovation, and inclusion.

The collaboration panel focused on projects from the government and the private sectors that work together to create an enabling ICT ecosystem.

Among its speakers were director Emmy Lou V. Delfin of the ICT Industry Development Bureau; Remedios Feliciano-Lim of the Board of Investments; Celeste Ilagan of the IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines; and Jeffrey Ian Dy, assistant secretary for upskilling at the DICT.

For the innovation panel, discussions on the new and emerging technologies that are revolutionizing the boundaries between virtual, physical, and biological realms, such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, and data analytics were tackled.

Among its speakers were Gail Cruz-Macapagal of DynaQuest, Carl Alarcon of Apper Digital Inc, Dexter Laggui from the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc. Philippines, and Dr. Cristina Orbecido of the Negros Occidental Language and IT Center.

The inclusion panel focused on the importance of developing international partnerships and linkages to further the development of the ICT industry.

Among its speakers were Roxas City mayor Ronnie Dadivas, Tagbilaran City mayor Jane Yap, and Bogo City mayor Carlo Jose Martinez with Joe Bantiling of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and Jesus Domingo, undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

DICT undersecretary for ICT industry development Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, former president of the NICP, led the closing of the event.

Batapa-Sigue called on Regions 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas), and 8 (Eastern Visayas) to help support each other towards the acceleration of digital transformation in the Visayas.

“Collaboration (means) that we should help each other. We can achieve nothing if we don’t help one another. Innovation (means) that we think out of the box by reinventing ourselves every day and finally inclusion, which means to me is that no one gets left behind,” she said in her closing remarks.

During the conference, the DICT also led the ceremonial launching of the “Free Wifi for All” in the province of Aklan. The ceremonial switching of 60 free sites was led by Uy, regional director Jane Javellana, Aklan governor Jose Enrique Miraflores, and regional focal Sherwin Roy Faduga.

The next host for the VICTOR conference is Tacloban City which was ceremonially endorsed to DICT Region 8 director Felix Tabanao Jr. and his team through a ceremonial handshake between the directors and the NICP Officers.

After VICTOR, participants attended the 7th Creative Congress (Creacon) that emphasized the creative industry and the initiatives of the government and the private sectors to support and accelerate the country’s creative economy.

Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez, representative of the third district of Negros Occidental, shared that the passage of the Republic Act No. 11904 or the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act will strengthen the creative industries and the Filipino creative economy.

“Accordingly, the Council will formulate the Philippine Creative Industries Development Plan which will outline and align strategies to increase the production of creative goods and services, enhance access of creative professionals and entrepreneurs to domestic and global markets, and build new interest and investment in creative industries,” he said.

Two other laws that will further support digital creative professionals and entrepreneurs were recently passed.

These are Republic Act (RA) 11293 or the Philippine Innovation Act and RA 11337 or the Innovative Startup Act.

RA 11293 aims to leverage innovation to strengthen small businesses or MSMEs through the establishment of innovation centers, capacity-building programs, research and development, and enhancing access of MSMEs to capital through a P1-billion Innovation Fund.

On the other hand, RA 11337 provides for the co-location of startups or innovative enterprises in Startup Zones, and capitalization of startups through the Startup Grant Fund and the Startup Venture Fund.

Meanwhile, the CREACON discussions also explored the potential of the Visayas region for digital creative industries through topics which included harnessing and mainstreaming digital creative skills and opportunities in original Filipino creative content.

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