The Philippines’ project proposal made it to the list of accepted projects for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Telecommunications and Information Technology Senior Officials’ Meeting (TELSOM) and ASEAN Telecommunications Regulators Council (ATRC) Work Plan 2020.

Initiated by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the “Digital Jobs Towards ASEAN Integration” project was one of the six projects formally accepted by the body during the 1st ASEAN TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat held last April 9 and 10 at Makati, Philippines.

The project aims to create meaningful ICT-enabled jobs in socio-economically disadvantaged areas in the ASEAN Region.

The project’s beneficiaries will be the non-Information and Communications Technology (ICT) inclined professional workforce in the rural areas, especially the women, unemployed, out-of-school youth and people with disabilities. It will provide technical trainings to the beneficiaries for them to increase their opportunities to get ICT-related jobs.

“The outcome that we are envisioning for the project, which would be in three phases, is to come up with a common framework and design towards the creation of digital jobs that will reach the underserved population of the ASEAN members states. It’s also to facilitate and enhance understanding towards digital jobs skills requirements for outsourcing, freelancing and entrepreneurship,” stated by Director Maria Teresa Magno-Garcia of the National ICT Planning Policy and Standards Bureau (NIPPSB).

The ASEAN-funded projects will seek to explore and improve on untapped areas in the ASEAN ICT ecosystem and are expected to be rolled out starting 2020.

Accepted proposals in the first retreat still need to be endorsed in the upcoming TELSOM-ATRC 2019 Joint Working Group and second 2019 TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat in May and August, respectively before getting approval at the 19th Telecommunications and IT Ministers Meeting (TELMIN) and 20th TELSOM and Related Meetings with Dialogue Partners and ITU this November in Lao. 

The TELSOM-ATRC Leaders’ Retreat, hosted this year by the Philippines, is the first of four meetings held annually to discuss possible initiatives to tackle the wide-ranging issues concerning telecommunications, Information Technology, and recently, digital revolution.

The first retreat emphasized on strengthening ASEAN collaboration as well as strengthening coordination and reporting mechanism on cybersecurity. TELSOM-ATRC also highlighted discussions on digital data governance and focus areas for the ASEAN ICT Masterplan (AIM) 2025.