THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has released the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for a law that seeks to ensure the Philippines’ digital workers will be globally competitive.

The rules were released more than a year after Republic Act (RA) No. 11927 or Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act was signed into law on July 30, 2022.

“The strategic and thorough execution of the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act will be vital for equipping the workforce with digital technologies and skills and fostering a dynamic innovation ecosystem in the country,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a statement on Wednesday.   

The rules provide the mechanisms on developing the country’s digital workforce, by ensuring Filipinos of working age are equipped with digital skills and “21st century skills.”

It also seeks to ensure support for the digital workforce by providing co-working or shared service facilities and loan facilities with concessional terms.

An interagency council will serve as the primary planning, coordinating and implementing body in the promotion and development of the digital competitiveness of Filipino workers. It will also provide digital entrepreneurs with incubation programs, funding support and skills development.

The council aims to equip Filipino workers with the skills and competencies in digital content and technology that are at par with global standards. It is chaired by the NEDA while the Department of Labor and Employment serves as the secretariat. 

The council will formulate a six-year roadmap that will address the digital skills gap of Filipino workers.

The roadmap will cover emerging jobs and skills in the seven fastest-growing professional areas identified by the World Economic Forum: care, engineering and cloud computing, sales marketing and content, data analytics and artificial intelligence, green jobs, people and culture, and specialized project management.

The council will also establish a centralized online portal to harmonize the existing portals of member agencies. This will contain information on training and skills development programs, certification, and scholarship programs. 

“These programs will address the gaps identified in digital technology and digital skills mapping, ensuring that all Filipinos have access to and are equipped with the skills and competencies needed to navigate digital content, platforms, digital innovations, entrepreneurship, and technology to meet the ever-evolving demands of the global labor market,” the NEDA said.   

The council will also provide incentives to promote and develop digital technology and innovation among Filipino workers. This includes full or partial scholarships or subsidies for training, use of co-working spaces, and credit assistance to acquire computers, software and other equipment. — KBT