DICT-7: PH forced to be technologically savvy under ‘new normal’

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Amidst the global economic meltdown encountered by countries across the world due to the health pandemic, the COVID-19 crisis, however, has pushed the Philippines to be more technologically savvy in order to survive under the “new normal.”

Engr. Leo Cipriano Urbiztondo, regional director of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Central Visayas, said the COVID-19 pandemic has made businesses and people realize the critical relevance of information and communications technology (ICT), amid high restrictions on face-to-face engagements in the absence of a vaccine.

“People now see the importance of ICT interventions and recognize it as one of the major drivers of the economy,” said Urbiztondo during the bi-weekly “Straight From the Source” Special Interview on COVID-19 undertaken by the Philippine Information Agency-7.

“Because of Covid, this has hastened the adoption of the Industrial Revolution 4.0,” said Urbiztondo, explaining that Filipinos are forced to to swiftly learn and adopt technology to live and survive, both in life and in business.

The use of e-commerce has long been promoted many years now to rationally adopt the use of technology in this Digital Age.

But its adoption is not as fast as what we have observed today, during the pandemic, where we witness companies scramble to apply ICT in their business operations, said Urbiztondo.

He claimed that their agency has resorted to webinars to teach and educate interested parties on the important use of ICT amidst the pandemic.

“We have conducted free webinars on simple topics like ‘How to Use Google Suite’ and ‘Adopting Google Form,’ and many people sign up, even those outside the country. We are just amazed that in just a short span of hours, our reach went up to 45,000,” said Urbiztondo.

Quite a number of private companies also signed up when the DICT-7 initiated a webinar on ‘How to Protect Your Business Digitally,’ as the majority of companies today appreciate the use of cloud-based technology.

“We now witness the need to learn ICT applications, not only in business, but also as a way of life amidst the Covid pandemic,” said the DICT-7 chief.

With the government’s strict stay-at-home policy, people now become more resourceful in earning money through social media; posting food for sale ranging from basic needs like meat, poultry, and fish products to vegetables to non-food items online, said Urbiztondo.

“We have seen the swift growth of online marketing using social media,” said Urbiztondo, adding that also making money is the delivery service.

Not everything bad happened amidst the COVID-19 crisis as it has also brought out positive outcomes, stressed the DICT-7 official.

“But one thing this ongoing health crisis has taught us, it is to embrace the use of ICT in moving forward,” said Urbiztondo.

The challenge today, however, is strong connectivity as internet users skyrocket amid the stay-at-home policy.

But for Urbitondo, he advised Filipinos to learn or brush up on their digital skills and undergo digital jobs training because “that is where the money is today.” (fcr/PIA7)