Thursday, October 29, 2020

Iligan, One of Digital Cities 2025

(Friday,  3rd day of July 2020)

 

Iligan City – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and in partnership of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), and Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), launched “Digital Cities 2025”, with the theme “Digital Cities 2025: A Brighter Future Awaits in the Countryside,” on June 30 during a launch event in a Live Stream media press conference.

In the conference, DICT Assistant Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Caintic announced the commencement of the program which seeks to encourage growth in the countryside by providing more jobs in Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector in five years.

The “Digital Cities 2025” intend to drive inclusive growth in the countryside by selecting high-potential areas throughout the country and transforming them into bustling IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) hubs within five years. This program is part of the Duterte Administration’s Administrative Order No. 18, series of 2019 (AO-18), or “Accelerating Rural Progress Through Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside,” and Executive Order No. 114 (EO-114) that created the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program. Both programs help disperse development and opportunities to rural areas of the country and decongesting the major cities.

DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II stated that Digital Cities 2025 aims to build the resiliency of the IT-BPM sector as an engine of growth for the Philippine economy. It also aims to bridge industry progress in the countryside to strengthen local economies.

Twenty-five (25) cities across the Philippines were meticulously hand-picked by IBPAP, DICT, and LPC as the new batch for Digital Cities 2025. The 25 new locations, alongside the Centers of Excellence and established Next Wave Cities, shall serve as investment destinations for a thriving digital economy. The 25 cities under the program were chosen using a scorecard developed by DICT and IBPAP as well as insights provided by LPC that were based on a set of parameters reflecting priority areas for investors and locators: talent availability, infrastructure, cost, and business environment. The Philippines’ Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector are one of the best-performing and employment generating activities in the past four years. Its global leadership in voice-based services as well as continuing improvements in non-voice and complex process outsourcing shows the promising growth trajectory of the IT-BPM sector. To be able to cement its position in the global IT-BPM sector, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) has advocated for deeper policy reforms which will support employees’ skills development and maintain a competitive business environment for the industry.(http://industry.gov.ph/industry/it-bpm/)

The global foundation of their IT-BPM success is largely attributed to the strong and diverse skills of the workforce. Filipinos hold a competitive advantage in English communication skills, strong customer service etiquette, and Western culture familiarity. This alone breaks the destructive offshoring stigma which deters many companies away in fear of tainting their brand name. Coupled with the Filipino’s hard work, openness to learning and friendly demeanor, these advantages provide investors with a strong homeland advantage once they set up shop.(https://outsourced.ph/itbpo/about-it-bpm-industry-growth/)

Daghan kaayo ta’g talents dri sa Iligan, di ta ma-bitin sa talents dri. Also, even before contributor na man jud pud ang Iligan sa economy sa tibuok nasud gumikan aning mga online jobs, example ani kasagara students sa IIT, (We have a lot of talents here in Iligan, we will never fall short on available talents. Also, even before, we’ve been contributors to the national economy because of online jobs, the biggest example is mostly students from IIT.)”, Engr. Oweida Smith, DICT Iligan Head, stated in an interview. Engr. Smith explained how our spot in the Digital Cities 2025 would benefit us as a whole. This would mean more employment, developments, and hope to attract more investors and in general, overall improve the income generation of the people living in Iligan. Though he mentioned that factors like internet speed on some parts of the city are still considered a challenge, we are getting better on other areas such as the peace and order situation in the city as this has been one of our struggles in the past. As a whole, this is progress because we have met and passed all the scorecards given by the DICT and bested other cities as a result. Also, our DICT Iligan Office will be a “Digital Transformation Office” in the city to hopefully conduct training and produce a digitally capable workforce. “Happy ta sa Iligan, pinaagi ani, mag andam kita sa mo-abot nga improvements, employment opportunities, and di na kita kinahanglan manglangyaw sa lain pang dagkong siyudad, (We are happy here in Iligan that through this we should be expecting more improvements and employment opportunities, that we wouldn’t have to go to other big cities.) he added.

Along with Iligan City, the twenty-four other cities are Balanga City, Batangas City, Cabanatuan City, Dagupan City, General Santos City, Iriga City, Laguna Cluster (San Pablo, Calamba, and Los Baños), Laoag City, Legazpi City, Malolos City, Metro Cavite (Bacoor City, Imus, and General Trias), Metro Rizal (Taytay, Cainta, and Antipolo City), Olongapo City, Puerto Princesa City, Roxas City, San Fernando City, La Union, San Fernando City, Pampanga, San Jose Del Monte City, Tacloban City, Tagbilaran City, Tarlac City, Tuguegarao City, Urdaneta City, and Zamboanga City. These locations will get the chance to exhibit their capabilities as viable business centers through Digital Cities 2025. This will hopefully motivate existing investors to expand beyond the National Capital Region (NCR), encourage new ones to set up shop in the Philippines, and finally, generate more opportunities for Filipinos. The DICT would also help shape digital cities and provinces through various assistance such as strengthening its regional clusters and national councils.

 

– Kristoff S. /CIO-Web

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