ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Department of Information and Communications Technology – IX+BASULTA launched the first barangay-based Digital Transformation Center (DTC) in the Philippines located at Centro de los Jovenes en Participacion Sangguniang Kabataan Building, Mercedes, Zamboanga City on Saturday, August 20, 2022. This is also the first of its kind to be hosted by the Sangguniang Kabataan.

The Digital Transformation Center is a project of the DICT is aimed at harnessing Filipinos with high-calibre ICT skills and resources. The DTC will serve as the Public’s I-C-T Hub where Incubation for startups happen, Co-working space for innovative collaboration and knowledge-sharing, and Training especially tailored to fit community needs. The DTC will develop and strengthen homegrown talents with world-class digital capacities. 

DICT Sec. Ivan John E. Uy personally led the ribbon cutting and launching ceremony of said DTC. “Today we celebrate a momentous occasion, a milestone for digitalizing the regions. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is proud to launch the Digital Transformation Center in Mercedes, Zamboanga City. Now, the citizens of Zamboanga City can enjoy an Innovation Hub that will cater to their ICT needs,“ Uy stated.

Asec. Maria Teresa Camba, DICT Assistant Secretary for Regional Development who also currently serves as the Regional Director for DICT IX+BASULTA, shared how imperative it is to capacitate the youth in the new normal, “The tides of demand in the digital economy era continue to rise over the years. Technology rendered some jobs obsolete but at the same time, caused the emergence of new opportunities. The only way to thrive is to embrace digital transformation by shaping an ICT-enabled, globally ready society. We can do this by equipping Filipinos, most especially the youth, with ICT skills through the Digital Transformation Center.”

SK Mercedes, led by Councilor Cary John Pioc, provided the building for the said ICT Hub while DICT IX donated 10 computers, 5 tablets, and a printer, and will be conducting basic to advance ICT training in the Center. “We will take advantage of the ICT packages provided by DICT. We will encourage more youth in Mercedes and the nearby barangays as well to be trained on basic digital skills to enhance digital literacy. We will incorporate activities under SK plan to conduct train-the-trainer program to provide users with job-ready skills, improve workplace efficiency, and enhance chances of employability,” shared Councilor Pioc.

In 2021, DICT launched the first Digital Transformation Centers in the Philippines located in DICT offices of Isabela City, Basilan, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte, and Zamboanga City. The DTC in Isabela City, Basilan houses 41 computers and can accommodate 50 people at full capacity, Dipolog City DTC has 20 computers with 35 in-person capacity, while Zamboanga City DTC has 37 computers with 52 persons at full capacity. 
The DTC Initiative was launched in September 2019 by ITU in partnership with Cisco with the objective of supporting countries to strengthen the digital capacities of citizens, particularly in the underserved communities. The selected DTCs become part of a global network of institutions to accelerate the uptake of digital technologies among citizens and boost the capacity of young entrepreneurs and SMEs to succeed in the digital economy.