Gov’t urged to prioritize dev’t of digital assets to be at par with global standards
MANILA, Philippines — The government was urged by an advocacy group to prioritize the fast development of digital assets to be at par with other nations.
According to CitizenWatch Philippines, the country is not able to compete with other governments when it comes to digital infrastructure as its digital access and proficiency are still “limited and uneven.”
“The way all consumers and businesses are now heavily reliant on doing transactions online should be clear impetus for government to prioritize the fast development of digital assets that will at least be at par with global standards,” CitizenWatch Philippines co-convenor Orlando Oxales said in a statement on Friday.
“The government and the private sector now has a great opportunity to ride on this momentum and must move together to meet the fast growing demand for fast and reliable broadband services,” Oxales continued.
Oxales likewise said that the government should intensify its drive to build telecommunications infrastructure to respond to the digital divide.
“Private telecommunication companies have been doing a commendable job of ramping up their investments by the billions every year,” he said.
“But the governments of other countries invest in their digital infrastructure heavily and strategically on a national scale, with a vision of becoming a globally competitive digital economy. Right now, we are not able to compete with that,” he added.
Based on the World Bank’s Philippine Digital Economy Report 2020 and the National Economic and Development Authority, there is a “very significant digital divide” in the country as most families lack internet access and have low fixed and mobile internet penetration.
The digital divide plays a part in unequal opportunities to access benefits of online services, the report shared.
Oxales, however, noted that “is good that digital transformation is now top of mind of the government leadership,” recalling that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier said that his administration’s goal is to build a “truly digital Philippines.”
Bolstering connectivity and public services digitization, Oxales pointed out, are among the strategies of the five-year Philippine Development Plan.
“Our ability to quickly shift to online transactions during the height of the pandemic gave all of us experiential proof of the great value and utility of digital technologies,” he said.
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