DICT: 65% of Philippines not connected to internet

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
DICT: 65% of Philippines not connected to internet
LRT passengers browse through their cellphones while commuting in Manila on March 13, 2023.
STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Sixty-five percent of Filipinos are still not connected to the internet, according to an official of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).

In a speech at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), DICT undersecretary for public affairs and foreign relations Anna Mae Lamentillo also said 86 percent of Filipino women have access to the internet, but they do not use it for valuable activities.

With only 35 percent of the country having access to the internet, Lamentillo said the DICT is motivated to go further to connect each barangay in the country to cyberspace.

“Access to the internet means access to opportunities. We want to make sure that no Filipino, regardless of age and gender, is left behind in the transition to the digital age,” Lamentillo said.

She cited the Women in ICT Development Index (WIDI) of the DICT, which showed that while 86 percent of Filipino women have access to internet whether at home or elsewhere, only 26 percent used it to search education and government services.

Less than 20 percent used the internet to search for employment and business opportunities.

And while 55 percent of women purchased goods or services online, only six percent sells goods or services online.

Given the situation, Lamentillo said it is important to ensure that no one is left behind by equipping Filipinos with the tools and skills they need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Lamentillo, who discussed the digital gender gap during the launch of the ADB’s international women committee’s keynote speaker series, said that 32 countries, including the Philippines, have missed out on $1 trillion in GDP as a result of women’s exclusion from the digital world.

She said the digital gender divide has become apparent with the inevitable pivot to digital transformation.

Lamentillo cited a study conducted by the International Finance Corp., which showed that women entrepreneurs could better compete if they have the necessary digital selling skills as well as access to credit.

She said 61 percent of Filipino women do not have a bank account and are not part of the formal economy.

The IWC is an informal committee at the ADB that promotes internal dialogue within the ADB community and support ADB’s International Women Staff.

One of its activities is the keynote speaker series, wherein it invites women professionals to talk on and discuss various themes and issues.

For this year, Lamentillo was invited to be the IWC’s first speaker and discuss her efforts in promoting women empowerment in the digital economy.

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