DOST eyes boost in online jobs through free Wi-Fi project

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DOST eyes a boost in online jobs through its 'Juan Konek' project aimed at providing wider and more reliable Internet connectivity to Filipinos.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) showed Filipinos excel in a sea of jobs online, including writing, graphic and web design, desktop publishing, audio and video editing, software development, and virtual assistants.

These 1.5 million Filipinos earn an average of $3 (P142.55) per hour and $250 (P11,879.52) per project.

Income rates depend on the job’s level of difficulty as well as the worker’s online reputation, gained from ratings given by previous online employers.

Twenty-two year-old Gervie Kay Estella, who worked online for different international companies in the past two years, sees the potential of online jobs in increasing productivity and job generation in the Philippines.

"Online jobs make those even in the provinces have the work that usually are just being offered in the metro, those who needed to stay home like full-time moms will be able to earn, and those who want bigger income will be able to have two jobs at the same time," Estella said in an interview with CNN Philppines.

Online jobs can be found through job portals such as UpWork.com, Freelancer.ph, and OnlineJobs.ph.  Employers are usually small- to medium-sized companies or individuals abroad who choose to outsource certain jobs and functions in order to be cost effective.

There are three vital elements for anyone who wants to work online: a computer with Internet access, and the necessary skills to do the job.

But with problems hounding Internet access in the Philippines, can online workers keep up with the demands of their job which heavily relies on connectivity?

"With the Internet speed, I have no problem. But with frequent Internet interruptions, I have. So service providers better make sure the Internet is stable less they make lots of us awol (absent without leave) or absent for a day," Estella commented.

'Juan Konek' to aid online jobs, impact sourcing

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Office of DOST is vying for the promotion of online jobs or impact sourcing to Filipinos in the provinces as an alternative means of earning income.  The ICT Office regularly conducts Rural Impact Sourcing (RIS) workshops at various provincial locations to introduce RIS to students and fresh graduates.

For 2015, the ICT Office conducted eight workshops in Lanao del Norte, Metro Manila, Camarines Sur, Romblon, Leyte, Bulacan, Oriental Mindoro, Bohol.

“Filipinos are known worldwide for their technical skills and communications skills as well as customer service orientation,” said DOST Sec. Mario Montejo. “This is why the Philippines is regarded as the 'call center capital of the world'. Online jobs are an extension of this, but for smaller businesses instead of big ones. “

A key component of online work is Internet connectivity, which can be an issue in rural areas.

“The Juan Konek Free Wi-Fi Internet access in public places project hopes to address this. With faster Internet connectivity available in all municipalities, this can significantly increase the number of Filipinos earning a living through the Internet,” said Montejo.

Juan Konek is part of the ICT Office’s Digital Empowerment Program which aims to provide Internet access to the country’s municipalities, through 7,118 public sites.