5 August 2019 – To complement its efforts in capacitating individuals in rural areas of ICT skills that would help them find jobs online, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is eyeing to form an online national cooperative for freelancers.

Officials from the DICT have met with representatives from Cooperative Development Authority (CDA and Filipino Online Professionals Service Cooperative (FOPSCo) on August 1, 2019 to discuss opportunities for cooperation to support efforts in institutionalizing the online freelancing industry in the Philippines.

One identified strategy in the meeting is to establish a national cooperative that would assist online freelancers –considering the expanded benefits freelancers can receive through cooperatives.

“The DICT has been providing ICT-related capacity development activities to Filipinos in the countryside, we also want to help our graduates to organize and empower themselves so that they will be able to secure benefits from SSS, Philhealth, and other government services,” Director Rior Santos of the DICT-ICT Industry Development Bureau (IDB) said.

The DICT has been conducting digitaljobs training (formerly Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training) for two years now, where it already trained 1,832 students in 94 locations throughout the country.

Filipino Online Professionals Service Cooperative (FOPSCo), launched during the 3rd Philippine Impact Sourcing Conference (PISCON), was actually formed by DICT digitaljobs program trainers, students, and graduates to help freelancers achieve a sustainable livelihood in online workplaces by providing support through continuous education, marketing, mentoring, and leadership training.

CDA Chairman Orlando Ravanera welcomed the idea of an online national cooperative, recognizing the contribution of online technology to national development and its role in nation-building.

“This is a pioneering effort and it’s about time that the CDA and the DICT creates a more enabling environment for freelancers. This is an opportune time for CDA to embrace more the technological advancement in giving the best service to the cooperatives to uplift the spirit of cooperativism,” Chairman Ravanera said.

Director Santos and Chairman Ravanera also discussed areas of possible cooperation between the DICT and CDA to assist not just online freelancers, but other cooperatives as well.