COMPLETE DIGITALIZATION. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. attends the 23rd International Cable Congress and Exhibit of the Federation of International Cable Television and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines at The Manila Hotel on Friday (March 3, 2023). In his speech, Marcos expects closer collaboration with the cable and telecommunications sector to attain his administration's bid for complete digitalization of government services. (Screenshot from RTVM)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Macos Jr. on Friday pushed for closer cooperation and collaboration with the cable and telecommunications industry to realize his administration's bid for "complete" digital transformation of government services.

Marcos stressed the importance of working with cable and telecommunications sector, as his administration pursues initiatives for the digitization of public services and better interconnectivity in remote areas.

He acknowledged the industry's resilience as it "survived and thrived in the digital age," as well as its "important" role in helping Filipinos "during calamities [and] emergencies.

"This crucial role of your industry was highlighted and shown in its true importance during the recent Covid-19 pandemic, when you provided hope to many of your fellow Filipinos that utilized your services and facilities," Marcos said in a speech during the 23rd International Cable Congress and Exhibit of the Federation of International Cable Television and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines (FICTAP) at The Manila Hotel.

"You have played a very large part in the transformation of our economies into the digital world. And as we all know, Covid changed everything. You were part of that change. Everything now is done online and we unfortunately in government have fallen behind. And so that is what we are trying to catch up," he added.

With digitalization becoming "an essential part of the global economy", Marcos sought the help of the cable and telecommunications sector and ensured that the government would remain its partner in improving the speed, reliability, affordability, and accessibility of internet and communications services.

Closer cooperation with the industry would enable Filipinos, especially those in remote areas, to enjoy "best digital services," Marcos said.

He urged the cable and telecommunications sector and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to continue aligning and synchronizing their plans and programs to improve public access to information and communications technology.

"We cannot do business without good internet coverage. We cannot trade with other countries without good internet and without good telecommunications. We cannot do all of the things that are necessary to transform our economy without good connectivity, with a high bandwidth, with good speed, and at a very affordable price. This is the aspiration. And in this, I hope, that we can band together and help each other and make it happen," Marcos said.

He cited the results of survey conducted by the government which showed that Filipinos "speak with all the different stakeholders, all the different sectors through the internet, except government."

"And essentially, the results of the survey were this: That every single aspect of life was done through the internet. We order our food through the internet. We say hello to our friends through the internet. We do our banking on the internet. In certain cases, we work at home through the internet," he said.

"Filipinos do everything through the internet, except talk to their government because government, as I said, has been left behind. And so we need your help. We need your advice. We need your work to help us accelerate the rate at which we improve our connectivity, the rate at which we improve the bandwidth, and all of the different aspects that have to come together to provide us the proper road down to complete digitalization," Marcos added.

With the theme, “Sustaining the Gains of the Cable TV and Internet/WIFI Providers Beyond the Pandemic Era,” the two-day annual congress that ended Friday gathered over 300 active cable and Wi-Fi providers, strategic partners/suppliers from China and Hong Kong, as well as strategic stakeholders from the leading broadcast industry players.

FICTAP serves as the national umbrella organization with its members composed of small and medium cable enterprises that have embraced the expansion from delivering traditional cable TV into telecommunications and value-added services. (PNA)