ILO

ILO, DICT, and Japan launch first Digital Transformation Centre in Luzon

The ILO, DICT, and Japan constructed and launched the first Digital Transformation Centre in Pampanga to boost enterprise digitalization and competitiveness.

 

The first Digital Transformation Centre (DTC) to support digitalization and service enterprises has opened in Central Luzon.

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the Government of Japan collaborate to build and launch the centre on 26 April 2024.

The Digital Transformation Center (DTC) will serve Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and stakeholders in Pampanga. It will enhance digitalization and provide access to training and technology for enterprises.

“The centre will support enterprises in Central Luzon to overcome the digital divide and address the lack of digital infrastructures that make it hard for small businesses to succeed in a digitalized economy,” said Khalid Hassan, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.

Hassan also noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgent need to support small businesses so that their vulnerabilities during times of economic disruption are reduced.

The DTC aims to boost competitiveness of local businesses and foster job creation by providing access to digital resources and training, contributing to sustainable development in Central Luzon. The centre’s establishment reflects the commitment to expand technological capabilities and support the vital role of MSMEs in the region.

The Government of Japan funded the construction of the DTC through the ILO’s Bringing Back Jobs Safely Project. The DTC would meet the training needs of the general public, particularly MSMEs seeking to improve their operations using digitalization as a way of achieving business sustainability.

The Embassy of Japan in the Philippines underscored the value of digitalization, especially in businesses, as one of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We learned to adapt, and as we recover let us continue our way up and further the knowledge that we have gained and utilize it to our great advantage,” in a statement released by the Embassy.

According to the Embassy, Japan is honoured to be part of the endeavour, emphasizing Japan’s steadfast support to the Philippines and putting much value on the two countries’ longstanding friendship.

launch of the digital hub in Pampanga
Launch of the first Digital Transformation Centre in Central Luzon, Philippines.

© ILO

In addition to the DTC construction in Dau, Mabalacat City in Pampanga, the ILO, DICT and Japan also worked closely to build a similar facility in Cotabato City and provide computers and satellite-based internet connectivity in areas where MSMEs face connectivity challenges.

“The DTC comes at a critical time given the government’s thrust to continuously narrow down the digital divide in the Philippines. We at the DICT are eager to broaden the training coverage as part of our ICT literacy and competency development programmes to harness competitiveness of the current and future workforce and the marginalized/special needs sector towards an ICT-enabled society,” said Jeffrey Ian Dy, DICT Undersecretary for Infostructure Management, Cybersecurity, and Upskilling (OUIMCU).

Moreover, the ILO supported the training of DICT trainers on Start and Improve Your Business, with a focus on business digitalization. The ILO’s BBJS Project also helped improve the safety and health of workers in MSMEs and informal businesses.  These initiatives enhanced their capacity to mitigate the negative socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis through improved business operations with digital tools.

Capacity-building efforts recognized the evolving nature of MSMEs under the new normal, in which businesses must adapt by increasing awareness on workplace safety and health and ensuring business sustainability through digitalization.

In 2019, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) launched the Digital Transformation Center (DTC) Initiative with the goal of enhancing digital skills, especially in underserved areas.

In 2020, the DICT signed an Agreement with the ITU to participate in the DTC Initiative. As part of this initiative, the Department pledged to bolster people’s digital skills. The DTC Initiative has offered online self-paced digital literacy courses through partner platforms: CISCO Networking Academy, SkillsforAll, and HPLife. These trainings benefit partner-center management as well as underserved and unserved members of the communities.

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