Heeding the call for an avenue for discussion on issues about the future of Philippine Internet, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and its partner organizations conducted the 1st Philippine Internet Governance Colloquium.

The forum, envisioned to be the nation’s incubator of key strategies of furthering the benefits of Internet for all citizens, was conceived from the Pre-IGF Multi-stakeholder Consultation held in 2015.

“Holding a Philippine Internet Governance Forum is long overdue” said Lisa Garcia, Executive Director of the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA). The FMA and the Internet Society – Philippine Chapter (ISOC – PH) were the two organizations that supported the event.

The DICT acknowledged the local Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and its regional equivalent – the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF), as a welcome development in furthering the discussions in Open Access, Community Networks and Local Content.

The inaugural colloquium was graced by Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr., officer-in-charge of the DICT, who gave an address about the country’s huge challenge of delivering Internet connectivity. Highlighted in his speech were the DICT’s plans in dealing with the inadequate infostructures, which causes link congestion that translates to the issue on speed of mobile data access.

According to the DICT OIC, the Department has already concretized the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and this shall complement the Free Wi-Fi Law to help decongest cell sites while also building common towers for infrastructure sharing. The Department has also proposed an Executive Order (EO) that streamlines the process of securing permits from NGAs and LGUs relevant to the construction. Further, he added that the Department is pushing for pertinent applications and content in stimulating broadband demand.

The DICT, though, is aware that it is through a multi-stakeholder model of developing frameworks and plans, and by close coordination to concerned industries, that appropriate policy recommendations are met. The Department considers contributions from members of the professional and technical community, from the academe, and from the civil society pivotal in meeting its goals.

The DICT, together with its attached agencies; the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), National Privacy Commission (NPC) and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), recognized the challenges as well as opportunities with regard to Internet Governance as raised in the forum.

Attended by Internet and IT experts, the discussions revolved on the ICT Ecosystem, Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, Protection of Online Human Rights, Key Internet Technologies, Building Blocks for the Digital Economy, and Digital Inclusion.

The DICT and its partners invited the participants to continue the discussions online by using hashtags #PHinternet and #NetGovPH. For interested parties in holding a similar regionalized forum on Internet Governance, you may connect with ngov@dict.gov.ph.