More business and tourism opportunities are expected with the opening of the three-day 1st Philippine Digital Nomad Summit in Del Carmen, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, on Thursday.
The first convergence of Filipino and foreign digital nomads (DiNos) aims to bring awareness about their lifestyles through learning sessions and panel discussions, Mindanao Development Authority chair Maria Belen Acosta said as he attended its opening ceremony.
Acosta said the event will also officially put Siargao on the map and tag it as a destination for innovation and creativity.
DiNos, she said, are the “new breed of storytellers that will impart to the world that Mindanao is peaceful, beautiful, bountiful, and ready for more investments.”
Acosta described the summit as a way to advance the overall digitalization and innovation initiatives for Mindanao which is also one of the priorities identified in the Mindanao Peace and Development Agenda 2023-2028.
Meanwhile, Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II said the event is a testament to the power of the digital age, where geography is no longer a barrier to collaboration and exploration.
In May this year, Matugas filed House Bill 8165 known as the Digital Nomad Visa Bill which is already referred to the House Committee on Justice.
“The Digital Nomad Visa Bill is a visionary step towards embracing the future of work. In a rapidly changing world, where remote work has become the new norm, we recognize the need to provide opportunities and support for those who choose to live a location-independent lifestyle,” he said.
The key features of the bill include visa accessibility to simplify and expedite the application process for DiNos to live and work in the Philippines; work opportunities recognizing DiNos not only as tourists but as skilled professionals; and community building that seeks to create a thriving DiNo community.
“The bill is seen to spur economic growth. By attracting digital nomads, we can boost our local economies. They spend on accommodation, food, transportation, and leisure activities, contributing significantly to our communities,” Matugas said.
Meanwhile, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy, who also graced the event, said technology can break the barriers of traditional work.
“I am confident that with our joint efforts and further collaboration, we can create an ecosystem that will encourage more DiNos to call the Philippines, starting with Siargao, their second home,” Uy said.
The DICT is conducting the activity in partnership with the Game Developers Association of the Philippines, the Abakada Studios, and the towns of Del Carmen and General Luna in Siargao. (PNA)