• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Digital Careers Expo 2023, held on September 4 at the Victorias City Coliseum, in Negros Occidental, brought together experts and stakeholders in “Accelerating Global Digital Opportunities for Filipino Talents.”
Third District Rep. Jose Francisco ‘Kiko’ Benitez, addressing the audience via Zoom on Monday, emphasized the need for digital transformation to harness the potential of the digital age.
In a statement, Rep. Benitez stressed the significance of digital infrastructure, including internet access and spectrum management, as the foundation for bridging the digital divide and facilitating the transition to a digital economy.
“There are a number of things we need for this transition and certainly digital infrastructure is the physical hardware that is necessary to bridge the digital divide,” the solon said, stressing also the importance of reskilling and upskilling in the face of a rapidly evolving job market.
Rep. Benitez called for curriculum revisions to integrate digital literacy from primary education onwards, as he pointed out that “reskilling and upskilling has emerged as a lifeline, enabling us to not only survive but thrive in the digital age.”
He also acknowledged the need for synergy between digital technologies and creative industries.
Rep. Benitez further emphasized the need to support digital media, software development, and creative content creation, saying, “we also recognize the nexus of digital and creative industries.”
In response, Rep. Benitez highlighted a series of bills the House has passed and is working on, aimed at propelling the country towards digital transformation. These include House Bill No. 68 (Digital Philippines Bill), House Bill No. 1445 (Jobs Next Bill), and Republic Act No. 11927 (Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act).
“These bills frame reskilling not only in terms of raising digital literacy but also in terms of developing critical thinking, complex problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills.”
The Digital Careers Expo provided a platform for crucial discussions on various aspects of digital transformation. Rep. Benitez shed light on the potential of digitalization in rural areas, envisioning innovation campuses and self-sustaining smart cities.
In his concluding remarks, Benitez challenged all attendees to embrace reskilling as a means of transforming careers and embracing change in the digital era.
He emphasized the role of lifelong learning in future-proofing individuals and societies.
“Let us work together to ensure we Negrenses are empowered in the face of technological disruption. Let us work together and help Negrenses to build digital careers and go global,” said Benitez, encapsulating the spirit of the event.
The expo was joined by Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue of the DICT, Victorias City officials led Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez, representatives from TESDA, DTI, DOST, and other government agencies, IT-BPO sector, and students and teachers from the Third District and Bacolod City.*