From tech geek to PH’s leader for digital transformation – The Manila Times
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy has been one of the Philippines’ foremost names in technological breakthroughs for quite some time now.
Well-versed in both Legal and Information Technology – specializing in computer forensics, cybercrime, electronic evidence, e-commerce plus digital ethics – he spearheaded the digitalization of the Supreme Court. He also contributed to the Commission on Elections’s (Comelec) shift to automated polling in 2010.
Speaking with The particular Sunday Occasions Magazine in an exclusive interview, Uy admitted he was already into technology even before this individual decided to become a lawyer. He still pursued this passion throughout high school despite reckoning his digital interests would open a career path.
“I graduated high school in 1980, so there were no personal computers or the particular internet yet. But gradually, the public started hearing about upcoming computers like Radio Shack. So when it came out, I would buy some of their devices and start toying and twiddling around with them from my curiosity, ” recalled Uy.
“I’m also the science fiction fan. I like ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars. ‘ I also love in order to read science fiction. In fact, We share a favorite author along with President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos – he or she also loves Isaac Asimov. We’re followers of his books upon robotics and many other books he wrote. But that really opened my interest in technologies, in the sciences and especially how all these technical advancements are life-changing. I’ll have posters of space shuttles because, at that time, area launches were big. Therefore you can say I’m an avid or passionate nerd, ” this individual chuckled.
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However, his “geek days” subsided when he or she went to college to take up Legal Management at the Ateneo de Manila University. He regained their curiosity when he finally visited pursue Law at the University of the particular Philippines College in 1984. His professors back then might always come to him to ask about the basics of computer systems.
“IBM donated a personal pc to UP College of Law. When it was delivered there, the teachers didn’t know what to do with this. Naghahanap sila kung sino ang marunong doon, then ako ang na-spot. Ang sabi ko ‘Wow, super kayo! Meron kayong personal computer. ‘
“They were shocked when I actually turned the monitor on. They didn’t understand, but I was so excited. So from there, I also bought my own personal computer – part by component from Virra Mall plus from Cubao, ” he chuckled again.
Unsurprisingly, Uy was the particular first within his class to print out computerized case studies using a word processor. The students and his professors saw the impact of this simple technology and how it could speed things up.
By after that, Uy had also helped organize file cases associated with UP’s Office of Legal Aid – a free legal program of the UPWARD College associated with Law for the public – by creating a database.
From campus to Supreme Court
After graduation, Uy joined the JESSUP International Law Moot Court Competition in Boston, where this individual met a fellow contestant who would eventually become Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan.
“When I took the bar exams, passed and required my oath as a lawyer, I had been recruited by Main Justice Fernan towards the Best Court. This individual told me, ‘I need you to computerize the Great Court. ‘ That’s exactly how I began.
“In 1989, I used to be given the responsibility and even created a position for IT, ” shared Uy.
“From presently there, we started developing. We started analyzing the Court’s biggest problem: its situation tracking. Therefore we came out with the Case Administration System – the first computer program ever developed for the Supreme Court. With it, at any given time, the Justices will know the particular status of the cases, when it was filed, to whom it was assigned, and what is the next hearing or the subsequent pleading. Everything is complete.
“That’s the particular reason why Chief Justice Fernan has been able in order to manage the court. He or she had a good grasp associated with things. There were no lost files or even records, inch he added.
From there, Uy developed more programs for the particular Supreme Courtroom (SC). He designed plus created the Supreme Court’s website, marking the very first time with regard to a Philippine government agency to possess one. This individual did the particular same with the email.
Uy, who initially worked as a legal researcher before heading the SC’s Management Information System Workplace, also began computerizing “back office” procedures like payroll, attendance, leave and property management. Moreover, he created creating the SC’s e-Library system, pushed for computerized transcripts of trials, and finally, in 2020, this individual was designated to draft the rules of Electronic Evidence regarding the e-Commerce Law.
Since then, Uy has received training in the US under the State Department concerning the federal courts, FBI, digital forensics and cyber investigation. And as the Filipinos’ daily lives started to be influenced by technology and the particular internet, more systems development issues required his attention: programming, networks, cybercrime plus data privacy, among others.
As the first to gain such specialized expertise, he or she lectured in the Philippine Judicial Academy and NBI Academy shortly before leaving the Best Court within 2005 or after 13 years.
For a short period, Uy made his way to the private sector and offers been involved with the particular Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) as its Corporate Admin and Chairman of the Philippine Business Conference Resolutions Committee.
Not long after, in the year 2010, late Comelec Chairman Jose Melo asked for Uy’s help in order to implement the particular automated elections. And when the late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd won the polls, Uy had been tasked to serve as chairman from the Commission on Info and Communications Technology (CICT).
Although Uy headed CICT for only a little a lot more than a year until the body was dissolved in June 2011, Uy remains proud of what he achieved there. He or she happily shared how the particular Philippines overtook India as the number one destination intended for call centers.
“We hold that upward to today because associated with the government’s efforts in those days, and we supported that industry, gave all necessary resources in order to build up the business and attracted all the investments here. ”
The particular birth of DICT
Eventually, along with the growing push for that creation ICT department, Aquino signed into Law the Department info and Telecommunications (DICT) in May 2016. Within June 2016, during the particular first term of then-President Rodrigo Duterte, Uy became DICT Secretary and was reappointed once more by current President Ferdinand Marcos on October 6.
“Now we have got high hopes because our President is very passionate, and he has a firm commitment to level up the Philippines, inch mentioned Uy.
“My primary requisite will be if the particular President gave me the assignment and he is in to it. For me, the only way I can be successful here is if I have a champion and the champion has to be the topman. If the topman is usually the champion and this individual will give me all the resources needed, I actually will deliver.
“But kung wala doon yung puso, nagaaksaya lang ako ng oras from panahon para ilagay doon.
“But I could see that will the President is very enthusiastic. When he or she told me about electronic transformation, I said, ‘Sir, you just said the magic words. ‘ That’s what I want to go after. ‘ The key word there is not just digital, by the particular way, it’s about transformation. We need to gain levels and transform. ”
According in order to Uy, the number one priority associated with President Marcos is connectivity for all. This is the particular reason the reason why they launched BroadBand ng Masa Project (BBMP), which provides fast and reliable free internet connectivity in hard-to-reach localities in the country.
In fact , on Oct 8, they led the particular launch of the new sites in three far-flung island villages within Zamboanga City.
“Those islands never actually had any kind of type of connectivity. So we had to set upward a tower. It was the bayanihan effort. The Armed Forces brought the towers to the island while the indigenous people – some Yakan, Badjao plus Tausug – dug up to set up the tower. Then our own engineers set up the particular transmitters and receivers, ” enthused Uy.
By next year, the DICT Secretary discussed that Elon Musk’s satellite internet provider, Starlink, is definitely expected to arrive in the Philippines. Their goal can be to use its services to bring free high-speed plus low-latency web services in order to more geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas without using systems or cables.
“Once we’re able to do that, the particular next step is e-Governance. Filipinos can then connect and apply in order to e-government apps easier.
“With all of the beautiful craftsmanship associated with our native people, we can help them reach international buyers through our online marketplace. So can you see just how transformative plus how liberalizing connectivity is certainly? The economic impact upon that community is immeasurable. You’ll solve poverty, you solve insurgency, ” Uy pointed out.
As head of DICT, Uy admitted there continue to be many challenges the department has to face head-on. One of them is dealing with bureaucracy.
“Our bureaucracy is industrial age paperwork or agricultural age bureaucracy. There are usually still laws, rules and regulations that are anti-technology plus anti-digitalization. We need legislation to change that into the new world – to the electronic world – so it needs to be transformative, ” explained Uy.
“We also need to establish better harmonization of data and better the operability from the different departments. Government departments had been in silos within the old world, yet in the digital globe, everything is connected in order to everything. Today, it’s no longer classified in silos – they’re interconnected. You need the distribution of social welfare via electronic banking and digital banking. We want a database of information. For example , in tourism, a person need connection because how will tourists go to places if you don’t have connectivity. You also need the data on where these tourists go, how much they are spending, and what they are looking to get. We require almost all that info, and you need details technology to give you the information so you can analyze them plus make proper decisions, inch he continued.
“Other than that challenge, of course , all of us need funding. DICT is one of the agencies that have the smallest amount of budget in all the entire cabinet. Therefore we need to work.
“The year 2023 will become the proving ground or maybe the proving year for all of them to see what the particular DICT needs in terms of spending budget because of just about all the projects we require to perform, ” Uy added.
The secretary furthered that DICT is working on developing courses with many industry champions like Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Google pertaining to scholarships. This way, Filipinos can enroll and ultimately apply to companies needing tech industry professionals.
“We’ll give those scholarships for those who would like to sign up. After six months, they get their certificate plus present this to employers. We need to upskill and we all have to right-skill because we cannot afford to keep on graduating people from school but have no jobs to match their skill sets. That’s the mission of DICT also, to right-tool them so that they will be employable in the right industries.
“So probably in the next two-, three- or even four years, we will have built a strong electronic workforce. And that strong digital workforce will now answer not only to the particular needs of the demands of the Philippines yet the planet, ” Uy noted.
The particular DICT Admin declared that the long-term goal is poverty alleviation and better education and employment for the particular Filipino individuals.
“This may only happen with most those efforts. Apart from that, all of us will furthermore make transacting with the government easier for your citizenry because, because we know, it is always the pain. So my objective is e-governance – in order to simplify everything, cut all the red tape and make it easy for people to transact with government. Make it a joy, ” Uy said.
With all their plans for the agency as well as the country, Uy said he owes it to his champion, Chief executive Marcos.
“We have a president who is convinced that all of these plans are really exactly what will benefit the country. Even during the particular campaign this individual said ‘Sama-sama tayong babangon muli. ‘ That’s what it’s many about, but we possess to do it together.
“I believe within his vision, I believe in his dream, and We share that dream, plus I’m sure most of a person also share the same common aspiration.
At this exciting crossroads, Uy is adamant that the only thing needed will be cooperation through all the different branches of authorities and even the particular citizens.
“Give us the legislative framework so we can operate and work properly. Give us the legislative budget to deliver the mandate, ” Uy averred.
With therefore many mountains to climb to achieve a technologically adept Philippines, The Sunday Times Magazine needed to ask the secretary if he or she had any goals just for himself.
Thinking for the moment, he still stated, “When I actually retire, I wish in order to see a progressive Philippines. We see a Philippines that is out associated with poverty. A Philippines that is no longer third-world. The Philippines with at least middle or upper middle income plus, therefore , the large center class and everything will keep going following that, ” this individual ended.