Creation of DICT seen to boost digital economy

By: Aileen Garcia-Yap June 04,2015 - 01:58 PM

THE creation of a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will strengthen the government’s push for a digital economy.

Mon Ibrahim, executive director of the ICT Office under the Department of Science and Technology, said his office will serve as the core of the new department.

“While it’s not yet there, we will continue to function as the office that will look after the development of the industry,” Ibrahim said in an interview at the sidelines of the 2015 Cebu ICT-BPM Conference yesterday.

The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to create the DICT. This is seen as a step for the country to be at par with other member states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which all have Cabinet level departments for the ICT sector.

The country is the number one provider of voice services worldwide, and number two in all other IT-BPM (business process management) services.

DOST Undersecretary Napoleon Louis Casambre said in his keynote speech during the conference that they aim to steer the country towards a knowledge-based economy.

“Every year, we produce at least 500,000 college graduates who are specialized and skilled in various fields, which include software engineering and management, finance and accounting, and even game development and animation,” he said in his speech read by Ibrahim.

The ICT Office is implementing a program called Stepping Up the Value Chain to promote the more complex services that Philippine talents are able to provide on an international level.

The office also has an ICT Scholarship and Training Program, which offers courses on Mobile and Embedded Software Development, Game Design and Development, 3D Animation, and Lean Six Sigma. Last year, 105 scholars were trained under the program.

“With all these programs ahead, we at the government are open to more partnerships and collaborations, because we believe that when we work together, we can achieve more,” said Casambre.

The ICT-BPM sector ended 2014 with $18.9 billion in revenues. Its employee base breached the one-million mark. This year, the industry is projected to earn $21.8 billion in revenues and employ 1.3 million workers.

Jomari Mercado, president and chief executive officer of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, said that if the annual growth rate of 15 percent to 18 percent is sustained, the industry is projected to earn more than $25 billion in 2017 and overtake overseas Filipino workers’ remittances.

Mercado said the contact center sector remains the biggest with 685,000 employees and $11.7 billion in revenues. He said, however, that the BPM or business process management sector is growing fast. The sector now has a total of 187,000 employees and is raking in $3.44 billion in revenues.

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TAGS: Asean, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Department of Information and Communications Technology, department of science and technology, DICT, DOST, DOST Undersecretary Napoleon Louis Casambre, ICT Office, ICT-BPM, ICT-BPM Conference, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Jomari Mercado, Mon Ibrahim

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