The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Region 7 is set to collaborate with Central Visayas regional offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to help upskill displaced workers.

The three regional agencies aim to provide employment or livelihood opportunities to jobseekers in line with the government’s overall campaign to revitalize the Philippine economy that suffered blows from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The challenges brought by the pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of our society in terms of digital access. These vulnerabilities are not new issues, but existing social inequalities such as the digital divide that demand recalibrated solutions,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II explained.

“To ensure that our workers, entrepreneurs and enterprises pull through the current challenges, we are aware of the need to address these gaps that hinder our drive towards inclusive growth and innovation,” he added.

According to a recent report from the Philippine Statistics Authority, around 4 million Filipinos or 8.7 percent of the workforce remained unemployed as of January 2021, leaving a dent in the productivity of the country.

To combat this, the DICT aims to equip the labor force with new skills through various upskilling and capacity-building initiatives enabled by information and communications technology.

DTI-7 Director Maria Elena Arbon said the collaborative initiative will help promote digital opportunities for both displaced workers, entrepreneurs and micro, small and medium enterprises and business enterprises in the area.

With TESDA’s reach and resources, the agencies hope to expand the coverage of upskilling programs such as the DICT’s DigitalJobsPH.