Friday, June 14, 2024

UN labor agency stresses importance of digital centers in PH

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has underscored the importance of the Digital Transformation Center (DTC), which will enhance digitalization and provide access to training and technology for enterprises and stakeholders in Pampanga.

This was stressed by Khalid Hassan, director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines during the launch of the DTC on Friday, April 26, in Mabalacat City. 

“The center will support enterprises in Central Luzon to overcome the digital divide and address the lack of digital infrastructures that make it hard for small businesses to succeed in a digitized economy,” said Hassan.

Hassan noted that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the urgent need to support small businesses so that their vulnerabilities during times of economic disruption are reduced.

He said that the DTC aims to boost the competitiveness of local businesses and foster job creation by providing access to digital resources and training, contributing to sustainable development in Central Luzon.

The center’s establishment reflects the commitment to expand technological capabilities and support the vital role of MSMEs in the region, Hassan said.

The Japanese government funded the construction of the DTC through the ILO’s Bringing Back Jobs Safely Project. In a statement, the Embassy of Japan underscored the value of digitalization, especially in businesses, as one of the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The DTC would meet the training needs of the general public, particularly MSMEs seeking to improve their operations using digitalization as a way of achieving business sustainability. We learned to adapt, and as we recover let us continue our way up and further the knowledge that we have gained and utilize it to our great advantage,” the Embassy of Japan said.

According to the Embassy, Japan is honored to be part of the endeavor, emphasizing Japan’s steadfast support to the Philippines and putting much value on the two countries’ longstanding friendship.

Jeffrey Ian Dy, DICT undersecretary for Infostructure Management, Cybersecurity, and Upskilling (OUIMCU), said the DTC comes at a critical time given the government’s thrust to continuously narrow down the digital divide in the Philippines.

“We at the DICT are eager to broaden the training coverage as part of our ICT literacy and competency development programs to harness competitiveness of the current and future workforce and the marginalized/special needs sector towards an ICT-enabled society,” said Dy.

The ILO, DICT, and Japan will also work closely to build a similar facility in Cotabato City and provide computers and satellite-based internet connectivity in areas where MSMEs face connectivity challenges.

The ILO supported the training of DICT trainers on Start and Improve Your Business, with a focus on business digitalization. The ILO’s BBJS Project also helped improve the safety and health of workers in small, medium, and informal businesses.

The ILO said these initiatives enhanced their capacity to mitigate the negative socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis through improved business operations with digital tools.

Capacity-building efforts recognized the evolving nature of MSMEs under the new normal, in which businesses must adapt by increasing awareness of workplace safety and health and ensuring business sustainability through digitalization, the ILO added.

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