- In an ambush interview, DICT Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue expressed how the DICT plans to utilize blockchain technology.
- With this vision, Sigue pledged to support the industry by helping in formulating a roadmap.
- The undersecretary deepens her explanation on the use cases of blockchain in the government—providing more transparent transactions.
“When you talk about government, I want to see a government that’s transparent, that’s accountable, that’s efficient. So I feel that blockchain is best for that.”
This is the statement of Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, the undersecretary for the ICT Industry Development Bureau (IICB) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), during a media interview on the first day of the YGG Web3 Games Summit Conference.
Sigue explained how the government can help utilize blockchain to produce jobs and support the web3 industry in the country.
“I’m looking more at blockchain because, to me, outcomes are more important than the technology. It sounds quite interesting for somebody who is in the DICT to say that I am more particular with outcomes because at the end of the day, we’re not actually running after the technology, we’re looking at how we use this technology to achieve our goals.”Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Undersecretary, DICT
DICT’s Goal: Let Filipinos Feel the Advantages of Web3
Sigue emphasized that she may not represent the whole Philippine government, but she wanted to express how the DICT plans to utilize blockchain technology from the perspective of an ICT undersecretary.
“Well, I believe there are things we can explore, but I’d like to highlight more of what is happening—web3 in terms of gaming. I’m also looking at how we can integrate our creativity with all these emerging technologies and I’m a big fan of gamifying government efficiency,” she expanded.
Gamification is applying game elements, like a pointing system, earning badges, and even leaderboards, to non-game stuff. The main goal is to make learning more fun and engaging, motivating the participants more.
“I’m talking about the idea of trying to incorporate that gamification mindset in government. So in government, I think gamification would be a good thing,” she added.
This is where the undersecretary deepens her explanation on the use cases of blockchain in the government—providing more transparent transactions:
“We also want to take a look at really how blockchain can impact on government transactions and on government processes. That’s where we’re coming. We’re looking at blockchain for transparency. If you think we will be able to serve the public better if we put in technologies, you know approximate transparency at the end of the day.”Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Undersecretary, DICT
During the opening ceremony of the Philippine Startup Week, the IICB Chief was asked about the startups that she would support, she answered AI in education, blockchain in government processes and transactions, AI-integrated health technology, agricultural technology, and tourism technology.
“I know it’s very difficult because you’re opening up a lot of things to the public but I believe that if technology can improve accountability can improve transparency especially in the use of public funds then we should try to develop it,” she stressed.
Sigue also explained that having these kinds of “technology integrations would probably create maybe a million of jobs up to 2028 for all the emerging technologies to create digital solutions to develop more creative solutions.”
What Steps Will the Gov’t Make to Support Web3 Adoption in PH?
Sigue clarified that there are no specific web3-related projects that the current administration is focusing on. Instead, they pledged to support the industry by helping in formulating a roadmap.
“We’re really specialized in helping roadmaps. That’s why I’m proud to say that we are also the ones creating digital city maps for different locations. We just (promote) for digital jobs to come to the regions. So in the case of industries, we also offer our support in developing roadmaps. We want to have a blockchain roadmap, we want to have a web3 roadmap. We’re willing to work with the stakeholders and experts of web3 to develop a road map,” the undersecretary expanded.
On the other hand, aside from helping the industry to formulate a roadmap, Sigue also pledged to boost web3 onboarding in the country through education:
“We’ve actually engaged already in a series of programs since last year. Particularly, one is really focused more on bridging, skilling, and information between our workforce and the industry. I don’t want to call it training, I don’t want to call it a class. It’s actually a very interactive form of learning. It’s called Tech Trends.”
In 2022, the DICT-IIDB introduced Tech Trends, a self-development program for Filipinos which aims to offer informative discussions through a series of webinars on emerging technologies and enable more opportunities for the key players in the ICT industry.
“Second, we have our SET PH. It is really focused more on emerging technologies and how we actually develop this emerging technology. It’s a series of different interventions from focus group discussions to trying to engage with other stakeholders. And you know, I’m very proud to say that every time we moved to the DICT. We make sure that we do it at the regional level, we go to different regions to ensure that we actually spread knowledge about these emerging technologies in the countryside. Not only in Metro Manila,” she added.
SET PH, or Stimulating the growth of Emerging Technology in the Philippines, is an initiative that seeks to focus on technologies like data analytics, AI, and blockchain. Under this program, DICT is expected to develop an environment to sustain the growth of the ecosystems of these technologies.
Also, education is the best way to introduce blockchain and web3 to Filipinos, according to Sigue. She noted that creating an environment where students already feel the existence and importance of the industry is a must, so that when they graduate and start working, they already have the knowledge of it:
“In the Philippines, there seems to be a silo between universities and companies. In other countries, all students feel like they’re part of the industry because when they go out of the University, they have all these manufacturing firms. They have all these innovation companies, like it’s basically an industry-academy ecosystem and that’s what we want to copy for the Philippines.”Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Undersecretary, DICT
Sigue’s Message to Filipinos
According to the IICB Chief, she was inspired by the initiatives of the neighboring countries of the Philippines in the Southeast Asian region. Thus, she is open to adapting and copying frameworks from countries like Malaysia and Singapore.
She then mentioned RA 11927, or the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act. This law highlights the role of the government to enhance the skills and competitiveness of the Philippine workforce in human, and digital technology and innovations.
“It’s actually a lot that says when you talk of digital skills, it has to be across all disciplines. Everybody has to be a digital citizen people. Actually sa Pilipinas, ‘’pag di ka nakatapos ng kolehiyo, parang wala ka nang future but now, under this law, certifications stress-based training are going to be very popular,” Sigue explained.
For Sigue, DICT is mandated not just to know about the emerging technologies, including blockchain, but to also spot their use cases and applications:
“The role of DICT is really to Catalize all these technologies in order for Filipinos to leverage and take advantage of the benefits that all these emerging technologies. They can help us in different aspects of our education, our healthcare, our jobs. So the role of DICT is to take a look at what policies standards and plans we can introduce to ensure that we have a very robust and resilient ecosystem for the use of this emerging technology to thrive.”Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Undersecretary, DICT
“I think my message to the public is let’s take a look at technology from the other side of the coin. If we look at technologies, let’s take a look at it as for efficiency, productivity, transparency, accountability, profitability, and creativity. Kasi as Filipinos, parang we’re hooked to technology. But at the end of the day, what we need is to use technology to our advantage. We should not slave to technologies, we need these technologies to work for us as tools,” Sigue concluded.
This article is published on BitPinas: DICT USEC Explains How Gov’t Can Support Web3 Industry in PH
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