5 November 2020, Geneva, Switzerland- Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, Permanent Representative of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations, highlighted during the Glion Policy Dialogue the government's efforts to leverage digital technologies for the promotion of human rights including in the areas of information sharing, public participation, health, business, and education, among others.
"We believe that the Secretary-General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, with its three pillars--- connect, respect, and protect--- serves as an important framework for universal digital cooperation. It anchors our collective work in giving direction to these technologies towards promoting inclusion, addressing inequalities, and ensuring human rights protection in the digital age," stated Amb. Garcia.
Remarking on the challenges and opportunities related to the use of digital technologies, as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Amb. Garcia cited the positive application by the Philippine government of digital technologies in managing and addressing the impacts of the pandemic.
"The government's COVID-19 portal continues to serve as the primary resource for COVID health information. Software applications and smart technologies have been applied in the areas of health such as telemedicine, education such as distance learning, agriculture such as urban farming and in the digitalization of business in an environment where physical contact and interaction has been considerably limited," shared Amb. Garcia
He cited the Philippine government's continued development of ICT infrastructure and implementation of capacity-building programs such as enhancing digital workforce, digital education, digital governance, and cyber-security measures while addressing emerging and evolving challenges such as digital divide, cybercrime, fake news, and other threats to human rights.
"Further, the Philippines' E-Government Master Plan (EGMP) provides a blueprint for achieving digital transformation of basic services and create a collaborative environment among citizens for improved public service delivery," added Amb. Garcia.
Amb. Garcia also cited how digital technology became an important tool for the government in administering assistance, providing responsive services, and empowering its migrant workers from pre-departure phase until their return and reintegration.
The Glion Human Rights Dialogue, held virtually on 30 October 2020, was convened by the Permanent Mission of Thailand and the Universal Rights Group under the theme "Putting digital technology at the service of equality and non-discrimination, including in the area of economic, social, and cultural rights". The Dialogue is held in Switzerland every year in an informal setting to bring together States, UN organizations and experts, academe and NGOs to exchange views to promote solutions-based, forward-looking and inclusive discourse on human rights issues.#