THE City Government of Sagay and Virtual Workforce Professionals (VWP), a Filipino-owned digital jobs aggregator, have launched an information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) facility in the northern Negros Occidental locality Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

The partnership is seen to initially yield 20 seats that will host digital jobs for the city residents.

Mayor Alfredo Marañon III, who led the launching, said the activity is a start towards making Sagay City the next IT hub in the Second District of Negros Occidental along with Cadiz City.

Second District Representative Leo Rafael Cueva, who was also present at the event, said the project is long overdue since his district has been very aggressive in developing programs to attract information and communications technology (ICT)-related investments.

Highlighting the improvements in connectivity and infrastructure in the district, Cueva said it also hosts the Northern Negros Agro-Industrial Economic Zone, a presidentially-proclaimed 20 hectares facility in Sagay City and is already registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

For his part, VWP Sagay Partner Vincent Escalante said he is happy with the collaboration between VWP founder Leif Brian Margallo and his team, which started with the VWP Cadiz site three years ago.

Led by young Ilonggo entrepreneur Margallo, the VWP already has eight sites in different cities helping to bring jobs to the countryside.

For the VWP in Sagay, the facility is a two-story building in the main street of the city. The local government plans to further develop the second floor to cater to more digital companies.

Also witnessing the launch was former Bacolod City Councilor and known ICT figure in the province, lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, who helped encourage many ICT-enabled startups and new companies including VWP to enter the province in 2004.

The Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology founder believed that there is now greater chances for second- and third-tier cities outside Bacolod, the capital of Negros Occidental, to attract digital jobs.

The pandemic, she said, has caused even traditional jobs around the world to migrate to digital.

Batapa-Sigue further stressed the importance of talent availability, quality and scalability as a major factor for second and third-tier cities and even municipalities to seriously consider and address, aside from infrastructure, business environment and cost of doing business.

Also present at the activity was former Cadiz City mayor Patrick Escalante.