MICROSOFT Philippines (PHL) is seeking to close the digital skills gap in the country by helping Filipinos increase their digital literacy, company officials said.

The tech company said it aims to improve the employability of 25 million Filipinos “over the next three years.”

“Our skilling initiative… addresses accessibility, diversity, and inclusion gaps through technology innovation,” Microsoft Philippines Chief Finance Officer Aristotle Castro said at the company’s virtual celebration of its 25th year anniversary in the Philippines on Tuesday.

He added Microsoft Philippines is committed to help the country to recover from the pandemic crisis by enhancing its capability to respond.

“We will also help make better use of the country’s agricultural and environmental resources,” Mr. Castro said.

The company also aims to empower businesses through digital acceleration, Microsoft Philippines Public Sector Director Joanna Rodriguez said.

“We will do this by exploring new business models and delighting customers through collaboration,” she added.

Rene Tablante, the company’s head of specialist sales, said Microsoft has identified four major imperatives to accelerate the country’s development.

“We need to stimulate digital transformation, we must build coalitions for responsible innovation, we have to close the skills gap and enhance Filipinos’ employability, and we need to create societal impact sustainably,” he said.

He also stressed inclusivity is a major means towards stimulating digital transformation.

“By enabling businesses and government operational resiliency, we can also stimulate digital transformation,” Mr. Tablante added.

On building coalitions, Ms. Rodriguez said: “It means strengthening our partnership with the government… We will engage associations to ensure growth in offshore services, startups, and small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Microsoft Philippines said it has worked with the Education department to provide more than 20 million public school students with Microsoft 365 accounts for their computer-based learning during the pandemic.

“Filipinos are hugely creative and resourceful people. Enhancing their digital skills and creating inclusive opportunities for them will not only create solutions to society’s challenges today, but drive economic recovery and success for the future,” said Andres Ortola, Microsoft Philippines country general manager. — Arjay L. Balinbin