Bacolod ICT to star at Guatemala convention

THE flourishing information and communications technology (ICT) industry of Bacolod City will be featured during the Guatemala Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Convention 2017 at Hotel Intecontinental Los Robles in the said country on November 23.

Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, executive director of Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNEFIT), will be among the pool of speakers during the international convention.

Batapa-Sigue, former president and current trustee of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), will speak on how to develop intermediate cities like Bacolod, and the Philippines’ success case and best practices.

She will underscore how the capital city of Negros Occidental and other Tier II cities in the country took advantage of the Next Wave Cities (NWCs) Program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) 10 years ago to eventually become hubs of ICT jobs and investments.

Bacolod City started its aggressive campaign to attract ICT jobs through the Bacolod IT Focus Team in 2004.

It became fifth in the Top 10 NWCs in 2009 and inched to third place in 2012.

In 2014, Bacolod was declared as Center of Excellence under the NWC program, despite its classification as a mid-sized city, joining Manila, Cebu and Clark.

“It is inspiring to realize that what we did for Bacolod City as BNEFIT and for the country as NICP have become global examples worthy of emulation," Batapa-Sigue said.

During the convention, she will also share about the rationale and objective of NICP as the umbrella organization of ICT councils in the country, including BNEFIT as one of the 10 founders.

“I am proud of my city and my country and its people and this is an opportune time for us to share with countries like Guatemala, who want to leverage on the potential and abilities of their youth to develop more jobs not only in the central cities but also in the countryside," she added.

Themed “Promoting Guatemala's Economy through Tier II Cities. How to develop them?," the annual convention organized by Agexport Contact Center and BPO Industry is aimed at bringing international experts leading the implementation and development of Tier II cities in other countries.

It will be attended by government leaders, embassy officials, and representatives from the academe and other sectors, among others.

“The creation of Tier II cities has become a priority for Guatemala since 2016. Both government and private initiatives have defined nine nodes of development, which are included in the new Competitiveness Agenda,” the organizer said.

For BNEFIT, the convention is a platform to further boost the local ICT industry.

Batapa-Sigue said having become a global example, Bacolod's investment opportunities today will definitely increase “for as long we keep on innovating and collaborating.”

“The lessons are as important as the milestones. For without these learnings, we will not reach our goals," she added.
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