The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has lauded the enactment of Republic Act No. 11927 (RA 11927) or the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act as a timely and relevant measure to jumpstart digital competitiveness and innovations as we continue to transition to a new normal.
The bill, authored by Senator Joel Villanueva, lapsed into law on July 30, 2022.
The measure shall establish an Inter-Agency Council for Development and Competitiveness of Philippine Digital Workforce to lead initiatives to promote, develop, and enhance the competitiveness of the Philippines digital workforce.
RA 11927 also mandates the inter-agency body to implement programs that will enable digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to Executive Director Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, CHR is hopeful that this inter-agency approach will guarantee an inclusive and holistic method that considers all the sectors of the society, primarily those who lack access to digital knowledge and technologies toward equal digital opportunities for all.
“As the world advances faster toward digital transformation, it is vital that Filipinos are able to keep up with the skills and expertise needed to become part of the digital workforce and thrive in the digital age. The Covid-19 pandemic has also underscored the importance of digital skills, online careers, and internet entrepreneurship in helping surmount the challenges posed by the health and economic crisis,” De Guia said.
During the height of quarantine restrictions, digital platforms enabled many individuals to safely and conveniently work, transact, access crucial services, and many more, according to De Guia.
“To guarantee the opportunities and benefits of digital technologies, it is vital to have a legal framework that ensures the promotion and development of our country’s digital workforce,” she added.
This law, De Guia pointed out, will empower local government units to implement policies that will develop digital careers and technologies in their respective jurisdictions, and can enable communities, especially remote ones, to access wider digital technologies as well as increase their digital literacy.
RA 11927 also aims to ensure adequate protection and support for the digital workforce to continuously improve their skills in line with global standards.
“The government may enter into public-private partnerships with digital industry experts to roll-out training and skills development programs for digital careers. As more international companies continue to digitally outsource work in our country, we are hopeful that these key features will harness the competitiveness of the Filipino workforce and ensure commensurate compensation and benefits for them,” she said.
CHR believes that this new measure can respond to the pressing needs during the current digital age. With efficient implementation, RA 11927 can help enhance and expand the economic, cultural, and social rights of everyone through digital modes that offer exponential possibilities.
“Alongside this development, it is equally important to ensure safety and security measures given the evolving threats in digital space. Ultimately, we anticipate that this measure can help with socio-economic recovery through wider and inclusive digital jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities,” she said.