DICT Shares Policies and Programs at the 66th APECTel

Palm Springs, California – Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) Undersecretary, lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) and the Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TELWG) 66th meeting from February 18-21, 2023.

The TELWG focuses on promoting cooperation and collaboration among member economies in the areas of telecommunications, ICT, and the digital economy. Batapa-Sigue presented various policies and initiatives to promote economic development and progress across businesses, expand women in tech, and upskill for cybersecurity.

APEC is an intergovernmental forum that aims to promote economic cooperation and free trade among its 21 member economies. Among its members are Australia, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and several Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines.

APEC holds annual meetings, which are hosted by member economies on a rotating basis. In 2023, the APEC meeting was held in Palm Springs, California, with a focus on key economic issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region. These issues include telecommunications, trade and investment, economic integration, digital economy, sustainable development, and regional economic cooperation.

As an APEC member economy, the DICT, which is now led by Secretary Ivan John Uy plays a significant role in various APEC working groups and forums related to information and communications technology (ICT). One of these working groups is the APEC TEL , which promotes the development of a reliable and secure telecommunications and information infrastructure in the region.

One of the significant points highlighted by Batapa-Sigue was the Digital Innovation for Women Advancement (DIWA) concept note, which aims to increase women’s engagement in STEAM and ICT courses across APEC economies. The project garnered support from five economies and prospective co-sponsorship from another four. Through DIWA, the Philippines through the DICT shall actively create and develop strategic interventions and programs to ensure the increased participation of Filipino women in ICT and build an inclusive and sustainable digital future for the nation.

Batapa-Sigue also discussed new legislation and multiple revisions to current laws pertaining to ICT, including the passage of laws aimed at consumer protection in electronic transactions and strengthening security and enforcement. She also presented the E-Governance Act, the Digital Workforce Competitiveness Bill, and the Innovative Startup Act, which all aim to prepare the workforce for the future and generate more digital jobs.

Through the DICT’s participation in the APEC 2023, the department established strong communication linkages with other APEC economies, the APEC Secretariat, working groups, and other organizations for possible partnerships. These collaborations offer DICT more opportunities, including strengthened regional cooperation, access to new markets, knowledge sharing and capacity building, standardization, and the opportunity to shape regional policies.

Moreover, Batapa-Sigue also attended the Policy Partnership for Women and the Economy (PPWE) Plenary, where the discussion revolved around lifting women entrepreneurs and integrating more women in the digital workforce. The DIWA project aligns with the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth (2019-2030) and the Aotearoa Plan of Action for implementing the Putrajaya Vision 2040, which aims to achieve greater integration and empowerment of women in the Asia-Pacific region by promoting recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement of women in all sectors.

At the Final Day of the PPWE

In conclusion, the DICT’s participation in APEC 2023 has provided opportunities for the Philippines to strengthen its relationships with other regional member economies, gain access to new markets, and engage in knowledge sharing and capacity building. Through its participation in APEC, the DICT can contribute to creating a more prosperous region by reducing barriers to trade and investment, fostering economic growth and development, and promoting sustainable development. Batapa-Sigue’s presentation of various policies and initiatives aimed at expanding women in tech and upskilling for cybersecurity shows the Philippines’ commitment to building an inclusive and sustainable digital future.

With APEC Tel Chair from Mexico
Philippine delegation from DICT, DFA and PCW
Categories News

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