Stronger col­lab­o­ra­tion with gov­ern­ment, academe pushed to sus­tain ICT growth in Ne­gocc, Ba­colod

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business - BY ER­WIN P. NICAVERA

A STRONGER col­lab­o­ra­tion among gov­ern­ment agen­cies, academe, and in­dus­try play­ers is pushed to sus­tain the growth of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal and Ba­colod City as des­ti­na­tions of choice for in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy (ICT) en­abled op­por­tu­ni­ties through ad­di­tional lo­ca­tors and in­vestors.

John Dave Dueñas, pres­i­dent of the Ba­colod­ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Fed­er­a­tion for In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (BNEFIT), said the or­ga­niza- tion aims to fur­ther strengthen their col­lab­o­ra­tions with other in­dus­try stake­hold­ers this year.

Dueñas, also the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Hy­brain De­vel­op­ment Corp., said Ba­colod City as­pires to be one of the coun­try’s cre­ative hubs with a grow­ing num­ber of cre­ative work­ers do­ing free­lance or stu­dio projects in an­i­ma­tion, game de­vel­op­ment, and soft­ware de­vel­op­ment.

“We also have a deep pool of tal­ents for higher value jobs such as cre­ative ser­vices, fi­nan­cial ser­vices man­age­ment, and also in health­care in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment (HIM) be­cause we have so many grad­u­ates in health care cour­ses and cre­ative ser­vices,” Dueñas said.

He added that “BNEFIT will fo­cus more on projects in pre­par­ing the cur­rent la­bor mar­ket to be more adap­tive to the new trends in tech­nol­ogy.”

For the fed­er­a­tion, the ICT in­dus­try in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal and Ba­colod City has marked a suc­cess­ful 2018.

It can be re­called that from its pre­vi­ous 12-place slide in 2017, Ba­colod City has made a big jump in last year’s Tholons Ser­vices Glob­al­iza­tion In­dex (TSGI) af­ter plac­ing 89th in the world’s top 100 cities for global ser­vices.

The city is eight notches higher from its 97th place rank­ing in 2017, Tholons’ re­search re­port and rank­ing of the Top 50 Dig­i­tal Na­tions and Top 100 Su­per Cities for 2018 showed.

BNEFIT cited that busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment in the city is at­trac­tive to po­ten­tial in­vestors and ICT or­ga­ni­za­tion lo­ca­tors.

The fed­er­a­tion at­trib­uted it to the busi­ness-friend­li­ness of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit (LGU), gov­ern­ment trans­parency, in­cen­tives for new lo­ca­tors, strong in­fra­struc­ture for Ict-re­lated com­pa­nies, and avail­abil­ity of skills and tal­ent in the lo­cal­ity.

In terms of the cost of do­ing busi­ness, that of the province and city is lower com­pared to other lo­ca­tions.

“Qual­ity of life is bet­ter, elec­tric­ity is cheaper than else­where, there is a live­work-play bal­ance, peace and or­der is way bet­ter, crime rates are low, with high lit­er­acy rate, and bet­ter English speak­ers of the man­power are also preva­lent,” the coun­cil pres­i­dent said.

Also, Dueñas ex­pressed op­ti­mism that the in­dus­try will be able to grow tremen­dously mainly be­cause of the ef­fec­tive co­op­er­a­tion of the ICT pri­vate com­pa­nies, academe, and LGU.

“The ef­fort is not sin­gle­handed but col­lab­o­ra­tive in na­ture and we owe it to the com­mu­nity for cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive at­mos­phere for the in­vestors and lo­ca­tors,” he added.

More­over, BNEFIT took pride that “we get to ex­pe­ri­ence all of the sup­port that we need” to be able to cre­ate 30,000 jobs.

They ex­pect to grow the num­ber of em­ploy­ment posts to 45,000 by invit­ing more lo­ca­tors and in­vestors.

“By end of it all, Ba­colod is awarded as the busi­ness­friendli­est city in the whole coun­try and our lo­cal ex­ec­u­tive is awarded as an out­stand­ing leader at the Asia Lead­ers Awards, and we wanted to cap­i­tal­ize on that,” its of­fi­cial said.

Mean­while, ICT de­vel­op­ment mover Jo­celle Bat­apa-sigue said Ba­colod con­tin­ues to be on the list of ICT des­ti­na­tions in the Philip­pines.

Bat­apa-sigue, the for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of BNEFIT, said the chal­lenge lies in main­tain­ing the at­trac­tive­ness of the city to the ICT in­dus­try, which is also cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dras­tic changes due to var­i­ous dis­rup­tive fac­tors.

“The Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion de­mands higher and more com­plex skills set from the tal­ent pool of a lo­ca­tion. If Ba­colod con­tin­ues to lag be­hind in set­ting into mo­tion a com­pre­hen­sive skills map­ping pro­gram to iden­tify the weak ar­eas and ad­dress it in a sus­tain­able man­ner, we might lose our lead,” she stressed.

The for­mer Na­tional ICT Con­fed­er­a­tion of the Philip­pines of­fi­cial pointed out that in­vest­ment in tal­ent should be a ma­jor pro­gram of LGUS in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal.

The in­vest­ment must be aligned with the job tar­gets for the year, she said.

Bat­apa-sigue re­vealed that next year, two ma­jor busi­ness process out­sourc­ing (BPO) play­ers will open in two new ad­di­tional Philip­pine Eco­nomic Zone Au­thor­ity-reg­is­tered sites here.

“This is along­side the con­tin­u­ous ex­pan­sion of ex­ist­ing lo­ca­tors in the city. Eas­ily, 2019 will see an ad­di­tional 3,000 to 5,000 jobs,” she said, adding that “to achieve the max­i­mum tar­gets, the city and academe must con­cretely com­ple­ment with ag­gres­sive tal­ent de­vel­op­ment pro­grams.”*

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

BANK­ING on stronger col­lab­o­ra­tion with other stake­hold­ers, the lo­cal ICT coun­cil is up­beat to sus­tain in­dus­try growth in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal this year.

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