THE Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT) set major directions for 2018 aimed to boost creation of jobs and opportunities.
Lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, executive director and founding president of BNEFIT, said the organization will work on further ensuring that all ICT local companies adhere to occupational health and safety (OHS) standards set by agencies like the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).
BNEFIT has recognized the need to organize a big occupational safety and health (OSH) workshop for the ICT industry during the first quarter of the year, Batapa-Sigue said.
She added that the newly-elected officers, headed by president John Dave Dueñas, believe there is a need to clearly harmonize OSH especially fire safety measures enforced by the Peza, Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Fire Protection and local government units for ICT companies to strictly adhere to unified set of standards.
“BNEFIT aims to promote Bacolod City and Negros Occidental as a hub for ICT jobs where workplaces are safe and healthy,” Batapa-Sigue added.
Also part of the federation’s three main directions for 2018 is strengthening its talent development efforts by reviving the IT Schools Network.
Batapa-Sigue said the goal is to strengthen talent development initiatives to improve quality supply.
Another direction is pushing harder the creation of strong startup, techpreneurship and innovation ecosystem by leap-frogging the initiatives of SugarCODE: Community of Developers and Entrepreneurs.
The SugarCODE is an informal group of startups which started last year, and it will now be the arm of BNEFIT focusing on innovation ecosystem, Batapa-Sigue said.
BNEFIT, which marks its 10th year anniversary on January 30, includes stakeholders from the academe, government, and industry gathered to establish BNEFIT as a province-wide organization working on making Bacolod City and Negros Occidental become globally competitive in the ICT industry.
Batapa-Sigue said that after 10 years, the organization has trailblazed the multi-stakeholder approach in building jobs and opportunities.
The target was to create 10,000 jobs by 2010 and become part of the Philippine CyberCorridor Cities, Batapa-Sigue said.
“Today, Bacolod is a Center of Excellence for ICT and is host to more than 20 ICT firms providing jobs to almost 30,000 Filipinos,” she added.
Newly-elected BNEFIT president John Dave Dueñas, who heads HyBrain Software Development Corporation, said now is their chance to make sure the federation’s role becomes not only relevant to local information and technology- business process management (IT-BPM) players and industry stakeholders.
“We will also make sure that close communication and effective collaboration between the academe, industry players and government agencies address the issue of skills deficiency among our available manpower pool,” Dueñas added.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on January 11, 2018.
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