Women in ICT Feature: Dir. Emmy Lou V. Delfin

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) recognizes the vital role of the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry in the country’s economic recovery objectives and its import in achieving sustainable growth through digital transformation.

One of the leading programs to advancing the IT-BPM industry for countryside development is the Digital Cities 2025 Program under the strong leadership of Director Emmy Lou V. Delfin of the ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB). The program aims to leverage the full power of information and communication technologies while at the same time harnessing the capability of Filipinos from all over to country to create more destination hubs for IT-BPM services by 2025.

Director Delfin’s vision for the program is to encourage better investment and business expansion in the areas outside of Metro Manila. She had been helping expand the economic impact of the IT-BPM/BPO sector to the countryside by leading the implementation of the Next Wave Cities Program (now called Digital Cities) from its conceptualization in 2007.

“Through the program, I was able to help establish more than 80 multi-stakeholder organizations called ICT Councils around the country, which are the prime movers in developing and promoting the local ICT ecosystems,” Director Delfin shared. “I have also played an active role in assessing and promoting cities outside Metro Manila as alternative locations for IT-BPM operations, bringing significant job opportunities to the countryside,” she added.

With over two decades of public service focused in ICT development work and 10 years of holding a leadership position under her belt, Director Delfin is a key figure in the IT-BPM industry and digital startup community. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service, Major in Diplomacy from the Lyceum of the Philippines Manila; and then proceeded to complete her Masters in Development Management from the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP). Director Delfin then pursued various government positions before her appointment as Director IV of the IIDB last January 7, 2019.

The efforts of Director Delfin in advancing ICT countryside development did not go unnoticed, and she was recognized and awarded by the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) as a Countryside Development Champion to honor her accomplishments.

Aside from the Digital Cities 2025, the IIDB advances the Department’s mandate of ensuring the growth and competitiveness of the ICT-enabled industries to facilitate the creation of more jobs. Director Delfin’s team is a firm believer of the untapped human potential waiting to be discovered in various cities and provinces all over the country, so she continues to strive to bring digital opportunities to the countryside and far-flung areas.

As a woman leader in government, Director Delfin believes that ICT serves as a great equalizer that provides chances to everyone—regardless of one’s background or status in life. Hence, she aims to intensify their contributions to the ICT industry by advocating and implementing programs that would help empower the marginalized sectors such as women, out-of-school youth, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.

The mission comes with its own set of challenges, mainly due to the lack of manpower in her team, but Director Delfin shared that they pursue and encourage more partnerships and collaborations with stakeholders to reach more Filipinos.

Director Delfin’s goal is for the country to play a much bigger role in global high value services such as health informatics, creative industries that include animation and game development, as well as in AI, robotics, analytics, IoT, blockchain and other emerging technologies. She is also hoping for Filipino startups to become even more successful and play key roles in the global startup ecosystem. All these, of course, are meant to advance inclusive and sustainable development that will benefit even the people from the countryside.

When asked about her plans for the future, Director Delfin shared her hopes of encouraging more women to play a critical role in the field of ICT, deeming them capable of making a huge impact in the ICT industry both on the local and international scale.

“Women should not be afraid to take risks and to fail, as these failures are lessons. What is important is that they carry on, empower and believe in themselves as they prove that women have a place in such a male-dominated industry,” Director Delfin asserted.