by The Philippine Star, 7 Oct 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Digital transformation is key to recovering from the pandemic and becoming competitive in the long term, but the strategy to close the digital gap and achieve digital readiness hinges on the empowerment of Filipinos.
This is the main takeaway from Digital Readiness PH, a virtual town hall discussion led by think-tank Stratbase ADR Institute.
Representatives of the public and private sectors spoke on various topics and exchanged views on the need to be digitally ready – and, more importantly, on the manner of getting there.
The speakers were led by Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan, who said access to data and information has become a right and a privilege together with basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, education, health services and access to data.
“We envision a thriving digital nation wherein our people through complete, accurate, and timely information can make rational, intelligent, and long-term decisions which benefit their personal lives and society as a whole,” he said.
Honasan enumerated the efforts of his agency to accelerate the transformation, made even more urgent by the continuing pandemic and the many ways people maintain economic and other activities despite staying in their homes.
Central and crucial to the efforts, he said, are the capacity-building initiatives to upskill Filipinos.
Dindo Manhit, president of ADR Institute, said in his opening remarks that the massive pursuit of digital readiness should take a developmental, people-centered paradigm.
“A people-centered approach must start with developing the people’s skill sets and values that will enable our workforce to optimally build digital technologies,” he said.
“In a new digital ecosystem, we need leaders for digital transformation. Champions in both the private and public sector that can inspire innovations that would integrate the disconnect between processes, policies, and even flaws in governance that have been exposed,” Manhit said.
Leadership must likewise be people-centered. Manhit pointed to the role of digital champions from both the public and private sectors. “They can inspire innovations that would integrate the disconnect between processes, policies, and even flaws in governance that have been exposed,” he said.
Guest speakers in the forum were: Globe Telecom chief sustainability officer and head of Corp. Communications Yolanda Crisanto, Smart Communications vice president for Regulatory Affairs lawyer Roy Cecil Ibay, Facebook Philippines Public Policy head Clare Amador, Microsoft Philippines Public Sector director Joanna Rodriguez, Grab Philippines head of Public Affairs, Sherielysse Bonifacio and HP Philippines managing director Christian Edmond Reyes.