Angara seeks to equip Filipinos for post-pandemic digital jobs

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2020 11:35 AM

FILE PHOTO: A merchant associate for a financial technology company works from his home in Quezon City on March 18, 2020, amid the enhanced community quarantine for the whole of Luzon. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Sen Sonny Angara has filed a bill seeking training for Filipinos to equip them for the wave of digital freelance jobs, demand for which is expected to increase because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Senate Bill 1469 or the National Digital Careers Act, the government must provide co-working or shared facilities for freelancers and extend loan programs for the purchase of equipment.

"We are seeing the growth of the so-called gig economy in the country and with the extended period of the lockdown being implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be even more activities on this front as businesses have to adjust to the new normal," Angara said in a statement.

"Workers affected by the lockdown will also be exploring new ways to make a living and with many businesses shutting down because they are unable to cope with their losses, people will start looking at alternative means of livelihood," he said.

Web development, mobile app designing, online teaching and tutoring and marketing are among high-paying jobs in the digital economy.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is also mandated to offer free training programs on various digital courses.

The bill also pushes for a more reliable internet infrastructure in the country.

Years before the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Filipinos have already thrived in the "gig economy," lured by the sector's flexible work schedule and competitive pay from international clients.

The Philippines was named as the top country in Southeast Asia for project-based work in 2018 with 1 million freelancers, according to data from Freelancers.com

The country ranks fourth globally next to India, the United States and Pakistan, data showed.