With the theme, “Turning Hope into Real-ITY,” the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) mounted the event to launch the Philippine Digital Strategy (PDS) 2011-2016.
The PDS is the Aquino government’s masterplan on how to actively use information and communications technology (ICT) in promoting economic and social growth, and in promoting efficiency in the delivery of public service
Special guests Wong Soon Nam, the group general manager of defense and homeland security, communication engineering, global business of Singapore, and Laurenne Garneau of the Canadian embassy were all praises for the PDS.
“Not all governments have a digital strategy,” said Garneau, pointing out how such governments – even in developed nations – are missing out on the opportunity to ride on the crest of the booming ICT industry to create a stakeholder-wide e-government system.
Garneau also represents the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which was CICT’s main partner in the development of the PDS through its E3 (Egovernance for Efficiency and Effectiveness) project.
Wong, for his part, narrated that Singapore’s own e-government journey started in 1981 when the Singapore government invested S$1 billion to build a national broadband infrastructure.
He said this served Singapore well as it now has a consolidated hosting infrastructure for all its agencies and departments.
“Having a PDS is a step in the right direction for the Philippines at this point in the country’s burgeoning ICT growth,” Wong said.
He cited figures such as the Philippines ranking sixth in the world in terms of having the most number of active online users of 30 million on Facebook. Over 83 percent of Filipinos have a Facebook account and spend an average of 7.9 hours on the social networking site a day — usage that is ahead of even the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
“Capitalize on this vibrant broadband industry that you have,” Wong said.
Secretary Ivan John Uy, chairman of CICT, capped the PDS launch by saying that having this five-year roadmap mainly “addresses the low awareness of strategic value of ICT in the government and in the general public.”
Uy said developing e-governments provide transparency and reforms in systems that almost immediately decrease opportunities for corruption – goals which are perfectly aligned to the Aquino administration’s professed vision of transformational leadership.
“Eradication of corruption and digital inclusion – giving every Filipino access to ICT and the knowledge and skills on how to use it – will make our nation stronger, more progressive and globally competitive,” Uy said. “The PDS brings us one step closer in being a digitally empowered Philippines.”
The National ICT Summit also featured the Government and New Media Conference organized by the Presidential Communications and Operations Office, and the Public Service 2.0 Conference led by the Chief Information Officers Forum.