BACOLOD City needs to have more visibility in terms of innovation to maintain its ranking in the Tholons International outsourcing list, an official of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.

Tholons earlier reported that from 85th place in 2016 the city has slid down to 97th spot in it services globalization index for 2017, a research report and ranking of the Top 50 "Digital Nations" and Top 100 "Super Cities."

Frederick Amores, director of DICT Visayas Cluster 1, said they are currently having talks with the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation of Information and Commubications and Technology (BNEFIT) and other councils in the region on how to improve their respective ICT sectors.

He said that for Bacolod City, it has to involve more the universities and schools in doing and promoting startups.

“Tholons is looking at startup development activities and efforts as part of its criteria for ranking,"Amores said, adding that “we don't have much entries from Bacolod for startup competitions in the country.”

Although it has the Technology Business Incubation Center (TBIC), which hosts successful startups, the DICT said there is still a need for the city to improve its startup climate.

"Schools have to play their role as producer of potential industry workforce thus, they have to be involved more," Amores said.

For his part, DICT Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim expressed high regards for Bacolod as he lauded the city for being one of the five Philippine cities included in the world's top 100.

"It just needs to sustain the efforts by taking care of the companies that are here," Ibrahim added.

Ibrahim and Amores attended the 1st Bacolod Healthcare Information Management (HIM) Conference at SMX Convention Center last Friday.

In 2016, Iloilo City and Dumaguete City ranked 90th and 93rd , respectively, for Tholons top 100 destinations in terms of Information and Technology- Business Process Management (IT-BPM).

The two Visayas cities, however, were not able to make it in this year's global outsourcing locations ranking.

Amores said he was challenged by Ibrahim to work on bringing these destinations back on the list.

He said they already started talking with stakeholders in Iloilo to address the need to build a better startup ecosystem.

It might not be getting much publicity like Bacolod City. They might not have many activities or high profile events like the HIM Conference here, Amores added.

The DICT official also cited the need for these cities to boost their "transformation side," like the use of technologies in the operations of local government units (LGUs).

He said that improving government efficiency in providing services to the people is part of the national drive even of the National Competitiveness Council.

Amores added that the Tholons ranking would really impact the industry as it is a benchmark providing guide for companies where to invest.

"Investors would really look for innovative locations with vibrant economy for startups," he further said.