(PNA graphics)

MANILA – The Philippines welcomes any assistance that will help boost the government's digitalization efforts, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday (Zurich time).

Marcos made the remark in an open forum at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland, as he touted his administration's digitalization initiatives and the improvements in bureaucratic efficiency.

He said his administration has stepped up efforts to establish a cybersecurity system, a crucial part of digitalizing the bureaucracy.

"The security has become a huge issue… that's what we are trying to design now, a cybersecurity system for this sensitive information," Marcos said.

The President also noted that local governments have stepped in to ensure the development of digital infrastructure to improve Internet connectivity that could reach all Filipinos nationwide.

"So, local governments, and some agencies within the national government, would really take on the initiative and started their own systems so as to be able to communicate… So this has now got to be consolidated and put together," he said. "And that's where we are right now: forming the databases for government, forming the databases that can be used by the national ID, (and) establishing it now."

The Marcos administration has activated thousands of previously offline areas under the Broadband ng Masa and Free Wi-Fi for All programs of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Marcos, however, acknowledged that the government still needs to do better in terms of connecting millions of Filipinos and advancing the digital economy, considering the country's slow Internet connectivity.

"The connectivity in the Philippines is still pretty low. And it's unfortunate because some of the studies we've made, the general consumer, if you want to call them that, talks to every facet of their lives through the Internet, except for government," he said.

On Jan. 12, Marcos met with the Private Sector Advisory Council on Digital Infrastructure to discuss the council's digital infrastructure work plan.

Marcos and the PSAC members also tackled the "future plans in strengthening the country's digital infrastructure."

During the meeting, he also sought an update on the implementation of Republic Act 11934 or the Subscriber Identity Module Registration Act and ordered to speed up the digitalization of the national identification system that could be used for public and private transactions. (PNA)