The Philippines’ ICT agency called on telecoms operators to raise their game to provide more reliable internet connections for workers, after the government passed new regulations allowing employees to work from home.
In a statement, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) welcomed the new law, signed last week by president Rodrigo Duterte, as “game-changing labour policy”.
“The ball is now in the telcos’ court to gear up for the possible increase of demand for faster and more reliable internet connection,” said DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio.
The new act, allowing private sector employees to work from home or an alternative workplace by using ICT, is designed to help ease traffic congestion in major cities as it will formalise telecommuting.
“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 added.
In 2018, the Japan International Cooperation Agency reported the Philippine economy loses around PHP3.5 billion ($67 million) due to traffic congestion, which could rise to PHP5.4 billion by 2035 if no interventions are made.
Rio recognises the success of the work-from-home scheme will depend on the quality of internet connectivity, a factor the government is pushing to improve.
“The government is upping the ante when it comes to investing on ICT projects. We expect the telcos to do the same,” he said.
The Philippines will have three major players after the regulator in November 2018 awarded consortium Mislatel a mobile licence. It will join incumbents Globe Telecom and PLDT’s Smart Communications, which have 99.8 per cent share of mobile connections.
Also included in the new law is a call for three-year telecommuting pilot programmes to be set up in select industries to allow the labour department to determine the pros and cons of working outside the office, Phil Star reported.
The department is expected to draft guidelines to ensure the “fair treatment” of telecommuting employees.Subscribe to our daily newsletter