The law is seen to ease traffic problems in metropolitan areas as it will institutionalize telecommuting, a work arrangement allowing employees, using ICT tools, to work from alternative workplaces.
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Telcos need to step up in line with Telecommuting Act — DICT
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has urged telecommunication companies to “level up their game” in providing reliable internet connection for workers following the passage of the Telecommuting Act.

“The ball is now on the telcos’ court to gear up for the possible increase of demand for faster and more reliable internet connection,” Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said in line with the signing into law of Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act by President Duterte last Thursday.

The law is seen to ease traffic problems in metropolitan areas as it will institutionalize telecommuting, a work arrangement allowing employees, using ICT tools, to work from alternative workplaces.

“It is high time to adopt policies that promote ICT solutions to our daily problems such as traffic, and the telcos must embrace their role in these initiatives and see it as opportunities,” Rio said.

The work-from-home proposal was one of the first wave of initiatives proposed by the DICT in 2016 to help mitigate the worsening traffic condition in the metro.

Last year, the Japan International Cooperation Agency reported that the Philippine economy loses around P3.5 billion in traffic congestion alone and may swell to up to P5.4 billion by 2035 if no interventions are made.

Besides reducing traffic, Rio said the promotion of such working arrangement could spur content and application development in the country related to telecommuting.

Rio, however, said the success of the work-from-home scheme would depend on the quality of internet connectivity, which the government is still pushing to improve.

“The government is upping the ante when it comes to investing on ICT projects, but if we wish for impact to be felt by the people sooner, we expect the telcos to do the same,” Rio said, citing the entry of the new major player and the lighting up of government-owned broadband network as next milestones in the coming months.

DICT Assistant Secretary Alan Silor also expressed optimism on how the new law would improve the average Filipino’s work effectiveness.

“This will increase workers productivity to work at home than spending unproductive hours in traffic,” Silor said.

DICT will also continue to lobby for the passage of the Open Access and Spectrum Management bills, while endorsing an industry-friendly version of the common tower policy.

DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY TELECOMMUTING ACT WORK-FROM-HOME
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