I was invited last Saturday to a radio program, Vigattin Radio Program @ DZIQ Radyo Inquirer 990 AM. The topic is “What is the state of Information Technology in our country?”
So in preparation, I made a few notes. And these were my thoughts.
1. There are many Filipinos online but most have not matured on their technology practice.
Statistics show that there are 30million Filipino Facebook users. 
Philippines is #8 in Twitter in terms of #of accounts and #of Tweets in 2011.
But my observations tell me that most Filipinos will only be at the “use” mode. We download applications- play, discover and use. But there should be more to that. We should not stop. We should practice and bring up our usage to a higher level. We should create content, customize our tools, even develop our own applications. We have not fully maximized the use of technology.
2. Many IT practitioners are now into freelance job contracting work.
Apart from our IT programmers leaving the country to seek better pay elsewhere, many young developers opt to do freelance or independent online work. Take for example, Odesk.com, a leading online contracting work. The top 7 countries in Odesk include the Philippines (10,900+), India (10,300+), United States (3,500), Bangladesh (2,200+), Pakistan (1,900+), Ukraine (2,400) and Russia (1,900). 
According to Prof Iperoitis of Odesk, “All other countries have very natural patterns of being awake and asleep; Philippines is an exception. We see that the minimum for Philippines rarely drops below 5,000 active workers! All other countries (combined!) in their downtime time cannot beat Philippines in their low time. The supply of work is very constant over time.”  This means that most Filipino IT practitioners could adapt to the schedule requirements of clients, ensure of delivery of service, and have natural knack for online work.
Is this good? Looking at the profile of the online contractors for instance in Odesk, it is sad to see that the Filipinos even with records of previous successful job contracts, still have low pay rates per hour compared to others from other regions of the world.
I came to the conclusion that many of them would simply accept the job even at a lower pay rate for the sake of having an online work. There is no government agency at the moment who would support their interest or even define the standard of pay for them.
3. I see the need to develop strong digital skills among our young citizens. Digital skills mean not just using a software or a tool but developing high level competency on the use of technology. The baseline requirement is to develop programming skills even among elementary students.
Our country has focused too much on producing graduates to serve our economy. We should go beyond this. We should produce intelligent graduates with great desire to learn more.
There should be a continuous desire not just to earn more but to learn more. There are many technologies and resources at the moment that are accessible to us. We need to become self-directed in our learning.
We also need to have strong foresight of what is to come, especially for our young generation. Hence, the development of strong digital skills and futures thinking should be part of the K12 program too.
4. How do we ensure a sustainable ICT program then in the country?
So I see the a great need to have a Dept of ICT that will manage all IT endeavors, regulate products and services, oversee the real local IT needs and support long term programs, in the educational and professional sectors, and empower collaborations between the HEIs, private and public agencies.
If we have a Dept ICT, there is going to be a clear direction—
- to realize the importance of teacher capacity building on ICT practice and personal development;
- to develop local educational content and materials on General Education, our History, languages and dialects, and address our own needs;
- to build and acquire digital skills among young people especially in programming, development of applications. So we will have our own tools and software and be self-reliant. Slowly we also breed intelligent and progressive aptitude towards learning;
- The Dept of ICT can also make our ICT endeavors and projects sustainable. We will have a voice to say to the government, we deserve better services and governance.
What is the state of Information Technology in our country?
I believe we have not matured yet. We are still in the discovery and try out stage.
Sources of data:
 Socialbakers (2012). Facebook statistics by country. Retrieved from http://www.socialbakers.com/facebook-statistics/ last Jan. 26, 2012.
 Martin, R. (2012) Which are the top twitter nations? Retrieved from http://www.techinasia.com/twitter-world/ last Jan. 26, 2012.
 Yugatech (2012). Filipinos are top freelancers in Odesk. Retrieved from http://www.yugatech.com/careers/filipinos-are-top-freelancers-on-odesk/
 Olandres, A. (2012). Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Philippines Top Contractors on oDesk. Retrieved from http://www.techwireasia.com/2646/bangladesh-india-pakistan-philippines-top-contractors-on-odesk/ last Jan. 26, 2012.