The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) commemorated its 5th anniversary this June 9, 2021 with the launch of its new CHIP conceptual framework. CHIP—which stands for Connect, Harness, Innovate and Protect—aims to improve the Philippines’ readiness for full and inclusive participation in the global digital economy and as a driver of digital transformation.

“Since my appointment as ICT Secretary, I have joined you all in witnessing how ICT holds great potential to empower people, uplift communities, and drive the nation’s growth. This was very apparent when the pandemic hit and ICT became a true game-changer that allowed us to bounce back and resume our vital activities.,” DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II explained.

“Hence, taking into consideration the value of digital transformation and the need to prepare our country for the global digital economy, your DICT is launching the CHIP conceptual framework implementation plan to outline and restructure the DICT’s plans and initiatives to accelerate digital transformation of the country in the new normal,” he added.

The Connect component pertains to building the country’s digital infrastructure to establish and strengthen the foundation of digital transformation.

Under this component, the DICT is focused on building digital infrastructure by firstly establishing a connection to the world through International Cable Landing Stations.  The Department shall then cascade broadband Internet access throughout the country through the building of the National Fiber Backbone (NFB), which is further connected to middle- and last-mile connections.

The Connect component consists of three major programs: (1) National Broadband Program (NBP), which aims to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technology through private sector and Local Government Unit (LGU) partnerships; the (2) Free Wi-Fi for All Program, which shall increase the provision of secure Internet access in all public places, including geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (or GIDA sites); and (3) National Government Data Center (NGDC), which aims to address concerns on latency, which is one of the biggest problems of the Philippines in terms of Internet speed. Through the data centers, the DICT is to localize content hosting for government services and educational content.

Recognizing that the Philippines currently lags behind in ICT skills endorsed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the DICT is set to invest in digital education, skills, and jobs to help Filipino educators, learners, and workers advance in the digital economy. Under the Harness thrust, the DICT is upskilling Filipinos to ensure the readiness of the local workforce to contribute to the country’s global competitiveness.

The Department is partnering with the University of the Philippines-Technology Management Center (UP-TMC) for the Master in Technology Management (MTM) Program, under the Government Chief Information (GCIO) Program. The Center for Global ICT Training, Certification, and Recognition (Center) was also established to provide trainings and industry-level certifications. These projects will be integrated as part of the ICT Academy, which will take charge of the DICT’s capacity and capability development programs.

Still under the Harness component, the Department is dedicated to helping speed up IT-BPM industry growth and enhance the competitiveness of Philippine workers, firms, and small and medium enterprises in the global markets for ICT and ICT-enabled sectors.

Together, DICT and the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) are bringing together a talent pool to educate them about the professional growth, financial stability, and global impact that the career in the IT-BPM industry offers. The Department is also implementing the Digital Cities 2025 Program which identified twenty-five (25) locations as the center of focus for new developments to become the next business destinations for IT-BPM operations.

For the Innovate component, the DICTfocuses on the continuous digitalization and integration of government and business services online pursuant to Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

The DICT is currently implementing various digital government programs to assist the national and local government agencies to streamline their processes through online platforms.

These include the Central Business Portal (CBP) which allows business registrants to apply for the necessary permits and licenses from the national government agencies online, thus, ensuring easier monitoring and regulation of business registration traffic; and the Electronic Business Permits and Licensing System (eBPLS) which streamlines the processing and issuance of various permits, certificates and licenses in all cities and municipalities.

Additionally, with the enactment of Republic Act No. 11337 or the “Innovative Startup Act”, the DICT is one of the agencies seeking to establish a sustainable business environment through the Philippine Startups Development Program (PSDP).

Finally, under the Protect component, the DICT is focused on mitigating risks on cybersecurity and privacy, digital monopoly and inequality of opportunities as more businesses, the academe and even the government institutions shift their operations online.

The Government Emergency Communications System (GECS) project aims to make disaster response immediate, effective and efficient in view of the Department’s mandate in assisting in the dissemination of vital information essential to disaster risk reduction. GECS has deployed its Mobile Operations Vehicle for Emergency (MOVE), a rapid deployable asset capable of bridging communications gaps between responders, to various regions this year to boost the country’s disaster preparedness.

Also under the Protect component, the DICT is continuously employing the Cybersecurity Management Program (CSMP). The CSMP is envisioned to be the primary instrument in making the Philippine Government more secure and resilient in cyberspace and safeguarding the Filipinos in the cyber realm. It aims to achieve the objectives set out under the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 (NCSP 2022).

The DICT’s National Computer Emergency Response Team (NCERT) also offers and delivers frontline services and activities by handling early threat detection, Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT), the conduct of cyber drills and cyber incident response with actionable intelligence for government agencies, and other Critical Information Infrastructure (CIIs) connected to the CSMP.

The Department is also pursuing inter-agency initiatives to support the government’s COVID-19 response. “The DICT is implementing the Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS), which supports the government’s effort of vaccinating as many people as we can, as fast as we can,” said Undersecretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic.

Moving onwards through ICT, the Department is expected to play a crucial role in the realization of the Philippines economic recovery efforts. The CHIP framework is therefore a vital mechanism to synthesize the DICT’s interventions into a coherent national strategy for ICT development and preparedness for the coming years.

“As your DICT restructures our efforts under this new framework, we are putting forward better plans that are more responsive to the needs and demands of the Philippines’ digital transformation roadmap,” Secretary Honasan asserted.

The month-long celebration of the National ICT Month 2021 features various online activities to be hosted by the DICT’s bureaus, services and programs. For more information, kindly visit the DICT website or official social media pages.