Monthly Archives: June 2018

2017 eGOV LGU Awardees

Sixteen local government units (LGU) projects earned the spotlight during the 6th Awards for Excellence in ICT for Good Governance for Local Government Units or eGOV Awards last November 17 for their outstanding information and communication technology (ICT) systems.

The awarding ceremony is part of the 9th National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) ICT Summit which started on November 16 at Cagayan de Oro City.

NICP, the umbrella organization of ICT Councils from all over the Philippines partnered with the Department of Interior and Local Governance (DILG) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the awards.

The DICT also launched DigitalCitiesPH National Launch, which signaled a holistic approach to building digital LGUs by 2022 in terms of economy, government, human resource, mobility, environment and lifestyle. DICT through Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim announced that it is adopting the eGOV Awards as a key strategy under its digital government component starting next year.

NICP former president and trustee Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, leading eGov initiatives for NICP, said this is the sixth year of the awards but the first year for three new categories, namely in the area of data privacy, government inter-operability and digital payments. A total of thirty six projects where submitted by twenty six local government units, which could be either a city, municipality or province and were judged according to impact, relevance, innovation and replicability.

NICP President Stephanie Caragos said the direction of DICT complements the goal of NICP to ensure more innovation in the LGU level.

DICT Undersecretary Austere Panadero, in his message shared by DILG Region 10 Director Arnel Agabe commended all the LGUs who participated in the eGOV awards for the last six years and encouraged the participation of more LGUs in the coming years.

g2b 2017

Emerging as champion for the Best in Business Empowerment (G2B) of the 6th eGov Awards is the Municipal Agriculture Information System – Farmers Agriculture Resource Management System (MAIS-FARMS) of Mina, Iloilo, with the Integrated Queuing and Business Permit and Licensing System for LGU’s (IQ-BPLS) of Bogo City in second place and the Capitol IP-Telephony of Province of Iloilo in third place.

g2g 2017

In the Best in Government Inter-Operability (G2G), the champion is the Real Time Community Health Information System (CHITS) of Quezon City, with Cebu City’s Electronic Remittance System (eRemS) in second place and the Pulilan Integrated Wireless Network (PIWN) of the Municipality of Pulilan, Province of Bulacan in third place.

d2gIn the Best in Data-Driven Governance (D2G), the champion is the GeoHealth-Geographic Information System (GIS) for Health-Dengue Mapping System of Cebu City, with the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) of the Provincial Government of Province of Davao Del Norte as second placer and Tricycle Franchise Registration Information System (T-FRIS) of Calapan City, Province of Oriental Mindoro as third placer.

g2c 2017In the Best Customer/Citizen Empowerment (G2C), the champion is the Baliwag High FVE Mobile App of Baliwag, Province Bulacan, with the e-Participation System of San Fernando City, Province of La Union in second place and 1SanMateo Mobile App of San Mateo, Province of Rizal and the Cebu City Travel Lines (CCTL) as third placers.

P2G Winners - CDO, Cavinti amd SilangIn the Best In Payment to Government (P2G), the champion is the Internet Online Services (iOS) of Cagayan De Oro City, with the GReAT System Architecture of Municipality of Cavinti, Laguna as second placer and the POS and Online Payment of Real Property (RPT) of Municipality of Silang Cavite as third place.

Bacolod @ 80: Building Intelligent Data Towards An Intelligent City

Intelligent cities are founded on intelligent data. And definitely so is a nation. The Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 goes beyond automation, which already occurred in the Third Industrial Revolution. But much ado is given to automation when the real spirit of this era is data. Data are fed to machines to make them intelligent, useful, inter-operable, data that can transform systems to real life solutions. We may have already produced workers adept in automation for many years now, but not in handling and making sense of big data. That is one of our biggest challenges today as a country – the dearth of intelligent, aggregated, relevant and accessible data. Unfortunately, this problem created more problems – worst in the list is the propagation of wrong, senseless, misleading, confusing, and obsolete data as hard facts and news.

Recently, a local newspaper quoted an incumbent provincial governor, reporting to all stakeholders in her capacity as chair of the Regional Development Council of Western Visayas – that the ICT jobs in Bacolod and Negros Occidental are 5,402. These figures date back to 2008 or a decade ago. The number had since then grew to almost 30,000 today. A classic example of disoriented data. Sadly, data for official presentations like this usually come from NEDA or the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) – an agency of government that is material to growing the economy of this country. How do we begin to fix things? Definitely not by blaming each other.

We need to shift our thinking about data and embrace that fact that the existence of intelligent data systems is crucial to our economic growth.

Each one of us is responsible for our own data. Everyday on a regular basis every human being generate data in different platforms. We fill out forms for various purposes such as when we apply for business license, enrol in the school, enter a particular country, register for an event, enlist for a project or program or even sample a product. Did we ever wonder where all this data go? Did we ever wonder how all this data when collated can actually generate a lot of insights for people who make key decisions for us to understand what we need or to understand what needs to be done. Government for example is probably the biggest repository of data in this country – from our birth records to our death records – they have it. Have we ever seen all these data being put to good use in developing policies and strategies to better our lives as citizens. Have these institutions consciously shared these data in big data format to help organisations attract jobs and investments? These are some of the more important questions we ask as people who care about our society.

Why ask? Because many institutions are not only abusing our data, they are withholding them without realising that they jeopardise policy innovation and economic growth, such as by allowing the dearth of structured data for business intelligence.And it’s about time we demand.

Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon signing the Act No. 326 or The Charter of Bacolod on June 18, 1938

Bacolod celebrates tomorrow June 18, 2018 its 80th charter anniversary. Commonwealth Act No. 326 was signed by President Manuel L. Quezon on June 18, 1938. Now that we are 80, the cities expected to be one of the smartest cities in terms of big data. But that is not the case.

I have never spoken about this publicly since I started my advocacy to help generate ICT-enabled jobs in Bacolod in 2004 – but today it is worth discussing as we reached 80 years as a city. How many of the more than half a million Bacolodnons actually know what goes into a formal meeting with top officials of foreign companies looking to set up shop and invest in Bacolod?

BNEFIT Current President John Dave Duenas, CEO and Founder of Hybrain Development Corporation, prepares to meet a top healthcare information management (HIM) company with BNEFIT Officers as the SEDA Ayala in Bacolod, another potential locator.

I am not sounding my own horn, instead I wish the public to understand that the very hard task of facing investors and convincing them to locate in Bacolod since 2004 has been made harder by the lack of data or the refusal of offices and schools to share data. This article is not a blaming exercise but an attempt to turn things in the ideal direction.

In my heart, I feel it is a duty I must fulfill for my city the advocacy to bring more jobs to Bacolod – something I owe to the people of Bacolod and to myself. But the stress during these periods of due diligence conducted by international firms is immense. The stress mainly comes from avoiding saying something that will destroy the potential of your own city, the burden of trying to give the best available accurate data to investors from the most simple cost of electricity to the more complex questions about the skill sets of every graduate regardless of course.

BNEFIT Founder and Chair Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Past President and Current VP for Industry Julie Dizon of Focus Direct, and current VP for Public Sector Em Legaspi – Ang, city councilor of Bacolod face potential locators at SM City

Here is a brief walk-through of what’s behind the scenes. Potential locators initially email a usually long list of questions that we have to answer in just a matter of weeks, even days. They request to meet various stakeholders and I curate the invitees according to the request of the investors. Oftentimes, I have to literally beg some school or government officials to join the meeting with investors. Some school heads would even scold me for giving them short notice, as if I also had a long notice from the investors. As the day of the visit draw near, questions become more complex, many of these questions are not even easy for any government agency to answer because of the level of data.

On the day of the meeting, the ICT Council members (BNEFIT in the case of Bacolod) muster all our courage to face these investors coming from different parts of the world, we must be prepared for the hard questions, we must even be prepared to answer questions not only in behalf of Bacolod but in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines because the data that they’re asking is even national in scope. After the first meeting, the investor continually communicate and request for more data.

BNEFIT Officers and Bacolod City Officials at the launching of the third expansion of Ubiquity Global Services at the Negros First CyberCentre. With Ubiquity Founder Matt Nyren and Country Manager Erick Canlas

Has anyone ever wondered how very difficult it is for us to face these investors on a regular basis for the last 14 years. We go from school to school, office to office to collect and request data and yet almost everyone is just so selfish or they just have no data or their data is disoriented or disorganized and unstructured.

Has anyone ever wondered how difficult it is for us to meet the expectations of this investors in terms of data? Or even the nature of data requested. From number of colleges and universities graduates and courses classified into the kilometre radius from the city proper, number of training schools, and trainees, even specific skills attached to the courses, to cost of power, water, and connectivity, to crime rate and crime solution efficiency, to cost of living, to WIFI density, to available PEZA parks, hotels, to frequency of flights, incidence of natural calamities to cost of labor, to cost of services to even the number of graduates who watch international news, to the average age of Bacolodnons who can already surf the Internet. The questions just never stop. And more often than not, investors would call even in unholy hours to ask these types of questions. And yet while struggling to answer these questions, we struggle to collect the data.

Initially, these are some of the strategies I propose:

  1. A public platform for sharing of general data where every concerned citizen can help populate
  2. A private platform for government agencies assigned in Bacolod to share data that are not sensitive and are generally for public circulation. Updating of data must be done regularly
  3. A private platform for schools to share data to assist BNEFIT in  investment efforts and intervention programs from industry,  assist government agencies in analyzing necessary policy innovation changes and offer initial business intelligence data to prospective investors

We try our best so that investors will decide to locate in our cities. I have spent sleepless nights trying to look at all the data that is available and trying to figure out how I would be able to fill the gaps, trying to find a way how to convince stakeholders to share their data and trying my best to show investors that we are ready with our facts and figures.

A typical locator’s visit where BNEFIT Founder and Chair Jocelle Batapa-Sigue takes foreign visitors to a tour of available PEZA-registered spaces

And these are the things that all ICT councils in the Philippines are doing. This piece is for all ICT councils officials out there who experience the same struggle.

Industry associations request from ICT councils to fill up so many forms for us to share the data with them – data that they will eventually might have to sell investors to recover their costs. It is sad to note that these associations and government offices look down on ICT councils which cannot submit enough data, but do they understand what we are going through with the very little resources we have? Even government offices ask data from us when they should have this data in the first place.

This country has to wake up. Our heads are all in the clouds. Our public, private and academic leaders choose to be judgmental rather than collaborative, opinionated rather than open, suspicious in giving data rather than cooperative in achieving the goal. Our government agencies and media seem not to care about ensuring that they have correct data, they dish out these data to the public without understanding its importance to our city, our country.

My dream is to see Bacolod become an intelligent city. And the Philippines become a country with intelligent data. Needless to say, data is power. And more so, data can do a lot of good.

If you feel concerned and have some ideas, or if you hold a type of data which you think will help enhance our investment efforts in BNEFIT – please share. Or if you know a way to gather data fast – or if you wish to invest in big data – please help. Startups in Bacolod can use big data to create solutions for our problems. We can all become interconnected. Our solutions integrated. We will face the next 80 years of Bacolod with more boldness, more optimism – knowing we have data in our hand to chart the future.

Follow us on https://web.facebook.com/bnefit.org/ and http://www.bnefit.org/

 

 

The new logo of BNEFIT to mark its 10th year of founding

Kalayaan

Philippine Independence Day Speech of Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental on June 12, 2010

Kalayaan I believe literally means Freedom. Although today, the official world we celebrate is Independence but let me focus on Freedom, and its two facets.

When we use the word Freedom and ask ourselves what kind of freedom – the next preposition would mean a lot. It is either we say freedom from or freedom of.

For example freedom of speech, freedom of religion. Today it is easy to celebrate freedom by anchoring our celebration on these principles for truly after more than a century – we all enjoy these freedoms. But the question I would like to pose is – what about the other side of freedom – such as freedom from ignorance, for surely our children who are not able to afford quality education are still enslaved by ignorance. Or freedom from want for surely majority of our people are still wallowing in poverty.

So today – let me share with you some little things I have started to do – small things – revolutions that we can start to free people – at least now from the real enemies that we face like poverty and ignorance.

Let me share the Bacolod IT Focus Team. In 2004, we worked together to develop strategies and programs designed to include Bacolod City and Negros Occidental among the growing centers of innovation in the country, specifically to pursue ICT- readiness and competitiveness as part of the Philippine Cyber Corridor.

Seeing the importance of actively engaging the private sector, we developed along with other stakeholders the idea of creating a bigger confederation of government, academe and business and private sector known as the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNEFIT) in 2007.

As a result of her initiative in creating BNEFIT, thousands of new jobs in the outsourcing and offshoring (O&O) were created in Bacolod by for Bacolod and Negros Occidental.

I happened to listen to Renato Jiao, the President of IBM Business Services, Inc and an HR Delivery Executive for IBM Asia Pacific. He says, the global economy is changing. The trend that we’ve been seeing for the past couple of decades is the shifting of economies from industry and agriculture to services.

India for example a diverse economy and while two thirds of the workforce still earn their livelihood directly or indirectly through agriculture, the services industry has grown and has been playing an increasingly important role in India’s economy providing employment to 23% of the work force.

Technology and the large number of educated people who can speak English has transformed India as the dominant offshore location for global outsourcing. They have successfully established themselves as the main hub for the global delivery of IT and services outsourcing.

China is currently seen as the manufacturing hub for the world’s needs.  China is said to be five to ten years behind India in BPO. In the next few years, government officials hope to close that gap. Similarly, the Philippines is also making a bid to increase its share of the offshoring and outsourcing (O&O) industry.

We need to develop an additional 600,000 workers in addition to the existing 320,000 workers in the industry as of end 2007. With our more than 400,000 college graduates per year, this number is mathematically possible. Education then becomes a fundamental concern that need to be addressed. The services or outsourcing industry is primarily a people business. The workers – or the talent and skills they bring to the table – are what can make or break the industry for us.

A workforce with the correct skill set is our competitive advantage to India, China and all the other countries who have identified the development of the services sector as one of their economic strategies.

To attain our country’s objective of becoming a serious global player in the O&O industry, we must focus on the development of our graduates so that they can successfully integrate themselves into and become part of our services workforce.

Having said that, let me go to my 2nd last part which is addressed to the youth who are the heroes of today just like when Rizal and Bonifacio where the youth and the heroes of yesterday.

When I was nominated as one of the Top 10 Young Leaders for 2009 under Philippines 21 Program of Asia Society Foundation to represent our country in Malaysia for the Asia-Pacific Forum of 200 young leaders around the world, I was asked this question:

As a leader, what is your vision for the country?

I envision a Philippines who is the seat of leaders who govern even for the sake of the Filipino children yet unborn, knowing and understanding that we lead today primarily because we want to make our country a much better country for the next generation, a Philippines that is the source of inspiration for all nations in conserving and preserving the earth for future generations, and a country that anchors its economic and social progress not on commercialism, consumerism and traditional politics but on sustainable development, environmental protection and transformative politics.

This is the same Philippines that our young heroes of the past dreamt of and died for. In their prime, Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Emilio Aguinaldo, and many others proved that their young and bold minds can subdue their fears to risk their own lives for freedom.

They have moved us forward and beyond the reins of foreign domination despite their youth because they were not complacent or afraid.

When Rizal spoke about the youth being the hope of the fatherland, he meant not only the future generation, but the young Bonifacio and the rest who were willing to sacrifice their lives to fight for a truly distinct and independent nation believing that the Filipinos deserve the respect and recognition in the world of sovereign nations, free to self-determine and self-actualize as a country of freemen.

I dream of the Philippines as a country governed and nurtured by its youth at a time when their ideals and ideas are at its most efficient peak.

 After more than a century, let us not succumb to mediocrity by leaving our nation’s growth only to the hands of our leaders.

Unfortunately and oftentimes unconsciously under this scenario, the most disenfranchised is the youth sector. Young leaders are oftentimes apathetic and isolated from the important decision-making regimes and bodies, depriving them of the chance to share what they think according to the present situation and to actively participate in the development of not necessarily their future, since they are very much a part of the present, but the future of the country.

The very traditions of complacency, subservience, laziness and apathy that our young heroes have conquered before slowly returned to bring us back to where we started – a nation chained by fear, poverty, and disunity.

This creates a continuum of retrogression rather than progression, when the youth, despite the huge amount of knowledge that they have accumulated through modern technology and their natural voraciousness for knowledge– are in the meantime, left to sit and watch in the sidelines as the senior leaders think, speak, and plan for them.

I pray that youth will be empowered to be key actors of the kind of nation that they want for themselves. There is so much untapped potential in the Filipino Youth that deserves to be harnessed and channeled towards achieving a Philippines that all Filipinos, without exception can be proud about.

We should be able to look at the country from the perspective of young leaders such as ourselves who see the world from where we stand.

Bacolod Gears For Big Data

big data

Ellwyn Tan of Bagosphere and Resource Speaker Daniel Meyer of Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP) with Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue

The challenges of the so-called “future of work” have driven Bacolod and Negros Occidental digital leaders to move faster than the quite usual pace of provinces in the peripheries.

Last February 9 to 12, BagoSphere, a trailblazing social enterprise for talent development in Negros Occidental, though its BagoSphere Labs, organized Big Data Analytics 101 featuring speakers from the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP). The main resource person was  Daniel Meyer, president and founder of Decision-Making, Analytics & Intelligence Philippines (DMAIPH), an Analytics, consulting, training and outsourcing company with offices in Manila and the San Francisco Bay Area. He worked as a Senior Analytics Consultant for Wells Fargo Bank for 15 years.

He provided executive management analytics for the bank’s remittance service including developing business dashboards, overseeing competitive intelligence gathering, managing data analytics outsourcing projects and facilitating audit and risk management. He recently published Putting Your Data to Work, an analytics guidebook designed to provide organizations with a solid foundation in using analytics to empower more data-driven decisions.

Currently, Meyer serves as the Executive Director and Founding member of the Analytics Association of the Philippines, a non-profit advocacy for Data Science and Analytics (DSA) education and training efforts in the Philippines. Their audacious goal is to upskill train 500,000 Filipinos in DSA skills by 2022. Meyer considers this is their “moon shot”, and when with their success will come the transformation of the Philippines into a global hub for analytics

Here is my interview with Daniel Meyer:

Sigue: How important is Big Data, Data Analytics and Business Intelligence in Up-skilling and Re-Skilling our talent pool today to prepare for the Jobs of the Future?

Meyer: Given the global demand for analytics talent, the Philippines will definitely play a role. Our demographics and the BPO industry will ensure we have a future in analytics. The question is really how big a role. If we are to take advantage of the 100,000’s of jobs out there now and in the near future, we will need to massively upskill a significant number of Filipino with analytics skills. APEC is projecting at least 500,000 jobs are there for the taking for Filipino workers.

Sigue: What’s the initial steps for cities outside Manila to take – to embed these skills?

Meyer: Build awareness of the opportunity. Assess where the skill sets of the workforce and students are and calibrate with current and future jobs available. Help decision-makers move from awareness about analytics jobs to acceptance of the need to upskill there current and future workforce. Build stronger partnerships between industry and academe through teacher training, OJT experiences and talent pipelines.

Sigue: How about businesses and corporations in Bacolod? Why is there and important and urgent need for business analytics?

Meyer: Learn to use data to make better decisions. Demonstrate the successes enjoyed by more data-driven companies and the perils of ones who dont embrace data. Things like business dashboards, business intelligence tools and data storytelling will make the use of big data more dynamic and you will start seeing significant difference between early adopters and late comers.

Sigue:What is the goal and mission of AAP?

Meyer: To facilitate a unified analytics ecosystem across the country through programs, trainings and initiatives that achieve industry-academe partnerships, large scale training, curriculum augmentation, and government lead events to further the conversation.

Here is my interview of Ellwyn Tan, Head of Business and Co-Founder of BagoSphere:

Sigue: What is BagoSphere Labs?

BagoSphere Labs is the corporate training arm of BagoSphere which aims to help companies accelerate business performance in a changing world by focusing on a mobile, digital learning journey that centers around the employee experience – from onboarding to growth. We bring resources and expertise to Negros to help individuals and organizations understand and become equipped to adapt to the future of work. Big Data Analytics 101 is the first event organized by BagoSphere Labs.

Sigue: What role will BagoSphere play in scaling up the quality of talent for Bacolod?

Tan: The number one goal is to provide call center agents with future proof skills that are not threatened by AI (visualization, storytelling and the like). Additionally, we can help local schools augment their curriculums as they implement the CHED analytics memos from 2013. We can also help BPO owners, managers and leaders upskill their workforces to offer up the value chain jobs to their clients. This is in line with upskilling initiatives within IBPAP and government entities like DICT and DOST.

Sigue: How do you assess the talent development efforts in Bacolod?

Tan: There is definitely more skills and competencies that we need for talent in Bacolod to adapt to the future of work. However, there is more work to be done to bring awareness of the need to future-proof the talent/workforce to the private sector, especially with SMEs, and we are looking at launching events/workshops related to the future of work and future skills. In addition to helping local schools and BPOs training for up-the-value-chain training in Data Analytics, we also work with employers (in both BPO and non-BPO industries) to create talent development solutions to upskill the workforce with future-proof skills such as communication skills, digital skills (e.g. Data Analytics) and soft skills.

Interviewer is Co-Founder, Former President and currently Executive Director of the Bacolod Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT) and Co-Founder, Former President and Trustee and currently Vice President of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP).

2014 ICT Contributor of the Year

towns 1

Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue with Corporate Awardees in the 2014 Philippine ICT Awards

An Executive Summary of ATTY. JOCELLE BATAPA-SIGUE as 2014 Philippines ICT Individual Contributor of the Year given by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and the IT Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP)

Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue provided leadership, direction and motivation to Bacolod City and Negros Occidental to become one of top destinations for ITC-BPO in the country and in the world today. By so doing and by going out of her way to advise and sit with various stakeholders, particularly local government units in different cities and provinces, she has inspired many parts of the countryside to closely study and understand global trends in ICT-BPO and to discover and consolidate the strengths and potential of their respective location to take advantage of the growing industry.

Her simple goal of helping generate jobs for the people of Bacolod ten years ago has evolved into a commitment of helping the country in pursuing more jobs in the information and communications technology (ICT, for brevity) sector, particularly in the countryside today.

Last May 2013, Bacolod was finally elevated as one of the Centers of Excellence in IT-BPM in the country, after being Top 5 (2009-2010) and Top 3 (2011-2012) in the Top Ten Next Wave Cities for Outsourcing and Off-shoring. Consistently, from its entry to the Tholons Top 100 Destinations for Outsourcing as the 100th city in 2010, Bacolod this year move 7 notches higher to be grab the 93rd spot.

With her leadership, stakeholders in Bacolod came together to support her plans as chair of the Sanggunian Committee on Communications in 2004 to promote Bacolod as a destination for ICT-enabled jobs and investments. She organized group called the Bacolod IT Focus Team, which worked together to develop strategies and programs designed to include Bacolod City and Negros Occidental among the growing centers of innovation in the country, specifically to pursue ICT- readiness and competitiveness as part of the Philippine Cyber Corridor.

Eventually, she helped author the ordinance creating the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council of Bacolod in 2006. Seeing the importance of actively engaging the private sector, she developed along with other stakeholders the idea of creating a bigger confederation of government, academe and business and private sector known as the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNEFIT) in 2007.

As a result of her initiative in creating BNEFIT, more than 12,000 new jobs in the outsourcing and offshoring (O&O) were created in Bacolod by 2012 for Bacolod and Negros Occidental.  Today, there is an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 IT-BPM jobs in Bacolod. Top 5 (2009-2010) and Top 3 (2011-2012) in the Top Ten Next Wave Cities for Outsourcing and Offshoring.

bnefit officers 2018

BNEFIT 2018 Officers and Board of Director with PEZA Director General Charito Plaza, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, and Governor Alfredo Maranon, Jr.

BNEFIT today has become a role model for other cities. She has been instrumental in inspiring and helping various cities and provinces in the Philippines to create their ICT councils or to strengthen their existing councils by encouraging the adoption her four-fold underlying principles:

  1. Government is a catalyst of all stakeholders and must initiate and encourage all key sectors to set and join in pursuing a direction
  2. The private sector must actively support the government by providing resources to improve the business ecosystem, provide the real estate and telecommunications infrastructure.
  3. The academe must continuously link with the industry to ensure relevant education
  4. All three sectors must work together to pursue competitiveness and readiness in ICT using the multi-stakeholder approach. She has embraced and promoted the principle of collaboration among the local government and national government agencies with the academe and industry. She calls this MAGIC (making academe, government and industry collaboration work).

NICP has also become a sterling example of stakeholders’ initiative in the global community as shown by the fact that Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue was chosen for among many nominees in the Philippines and abroad as the Eisenhower Fellow of the Philippines for 2012.

With her sense of public service, she was able to meet leaders of similar bodies existing in other cities and provinces and eventually helped create a national federation of ICT councils and organizations in 2008 – thus the birth of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) .

Today, the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP serves as the recognized advocate for countrywide ICT industry development. Its creation was actively assisted by the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT). Today, NICP is known as the champion of countrywide digital development and a staunch advocate for developing a smarter countryside.

The mission of NICP is to promote foreign and local investments and a balanced development between Metro Manila and all the other cities and provinces in the country, to share information and best practices, and to transform the Philippines into a customer-oriented and competitive provider for global services.

The NICP objectives are to generate new ICT businesses especially for the country-side where the manpower pool is teeming, to engage the stakeholders in the whole of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in the quest to generate jobs and investments where it is most needed.

NICP First Quarter 2017 AssemblyThe NICP also seeks to increase awareness of various sectors about the ICT industry. The ICT council members’ internal goals are to ensure sustainability and resource generation, to be an effective implementing partner of the Philippine Digital Strategy (PDS) 2011-2016, to have more venues for information sharing and to increase collaboration and private-public partnerships.

She has relentlessly pursued the goal of making NICP as a national venue for collaboration; develop the member organizations through the sharing of best practices, among others, and to be the unified voice for the Philippine Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Industry. NICP represents the collective effort of the academe and human resource development, real estate and business and local governments in more than 30 cities and provinces in the Philippines forged to undertake projects and programs complementary to the vision of making the Philippines as viable locations for ICT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services, thus creating more jobs, raising more revenues, generating more investments and improving the educational standards and human resource capability of our individual regions and the country in general.

Under her leadership, NICP has ensured that ICT programs trickle down to the countryside through its major programs:

  1. Together with the Department of Interior and Local Government and Cyber City Teleservices Philippines, Inc. as former president of NICP, she embarked on a mission to encourage the effective and efficient utilization of information and communications technology (ICT) in the delivery of services and performance of the duties and responsibilities by LGUs. The eGov Awards seeks to commend, collate and document best practices of LGUs in integrating ICT in their processes to serve as example and benchmarks to other LGUs. It also aims to improve the business ecosystem of the LGUs and motivate the private and business sector to actively participate and/or invest in the growth of the LGUs as well as to promote transparency in governance.
  2. Holding of annual national ICT summit outside of Metro Manila – Iligan City (1st Summit, 2008), Clark, Pampanga (2nd Summit, 2009), Bacolod City (3rd Summit, 2010), General Santos City (4th Summit, 2011), Sta. Rosa City, Laguna (5th Summit, 2012), Tagbilaran City, Bohol (6th Summit, 2013)
  3. Partnering with TESDA and BPAP for the roll-out of over P70 Million worth of ICT-related trainings in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao
  4. Promotion of IT-Preneurship by encouraging business incubation centers, mentoring start-ups and establishing linkages with various industry associations

NICP, under her chairmanship of the project has just successfully concluded the second round of awards for the eGOV Awards for LGUs (The Jesse Robredo Award for Excellence in ICT for Good Governance).

Focused on helping the country achieve the national goal towards a Smarter Philippines, she has continuously inspired NICP to join hands for a SMARTER COUNTRYSIDE, which has become a personal commitment to her. She believes in helping cities and provinces create stronger ICT Councils for “A Smarter Countryside” For A Smarter Philippines.

She fully recognizes the importance of a dynamic, responsive and efficient local business ecosystem as one of the criteria for the readiness and competitiveness of our respective cities and provinces as ICT investment and entrepreneurship hubs.

Today, she champions technology entrepreneurship, helping create startup ecosystems starting with Negros Occidental. Pursuant to this goal, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue continues to help harness the collective effort of the academe and human resource development, real estate and business and local governments to undertake projects and programs complementary to the vision of sustaining the gains of the ICT sector in the voice services, but at the same time to and step up to software development, medical and legal transcription, IT engineering and other complex voice ad non voice services.

Last 2013, she was chosen as head of the Visayas ICT Cluster under the National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Program (NICCEP) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Japanese industry Cooperation Agency (JICA), giving her an opportunity to strengthen linkages ad collaborate with all stakeholders in the three Visayas Regions (Region VI, VII and VIII).

Through the years, she has assisted local government units and the national government especially in designing programs that will complement the educational system and integrate ICT therein to produce a more competent and job-ready workforce.

She has contributed to help develop a comprehensive plan on a provincial basis in order to yield a more accurate picture of the workforce and a rationalized program of infrastructure and human resource build-up based on strengths, encourage synergy among the sectors involved in developing government support, business environment and talent development, in order avoid duplication of efforts, minimize competition among local government units, and maximize resources to better prepare the province and the region to become competitive globally.

She has inspired government to prioritize the effective coordination and implementation of its national and local ICT and ICT-enabled services, programs, projects and other related initiatives and reorganize and revitalize all relevant governmental institutions in order to achieve a streamlined and efficient structure that is responsive and attuned to national goals and objectives.

She has continuously pushed for policies for the State to  provide an environment that will support investments in cost-efficient ICT infrastructure, systems and resources, to ensure universal access and high-speed connectivity at fair and reasonable costs; a level playing field for strategic alliances with investors in order to have balanced investments between high-growth and economically depressed areas; ensure consumer protection and welfare as well as preserve the rights of individuals and entities to privacy and confidentiality of information; to promote accountability through transparent governance, and effective delivery of government frontline services.

111 PICShe has become the symbol of inclusive growth for the nation – that ICT is a great equalizer of opportunities – that it gives cities outside of Metro Manila a chance to attract more jobs and generate investments to improve the local economy.

Today, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue continues to inspire young leaders, students and local stakeholders to dream big. But to set your foot on the ground by knowing your weaknesses and strengths as an organization, as an LGU or as an individual and to benchmark with the rest of the world in order to advance.

Indeed, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue’s efforts and initiatives promote the interest of the youth and the nation-building – and beyond that – she has consistently championed INCLUSIVE growth as a principle for nation-building and considers ICT as the global key driver to economy, governance and social development in the world today.

She typifies a leader that sees the world as her space, unbound by parochial thinking. She believes that she must not only help Bacolod but other cities by inspiring them to unite, strategize and dream big.

Her passion to help the country grow one province, one city as a time is viral that today, many ICT champions in various areas have began to stand up and engage the other sectors to a dialogue and to create collaborative mechanisms to work together as one.

Her goal is to create as many jobs for the Filipino youth whose creativity, technical skills, and ingenuity are excellent. By going out of the borders of her city, to help other cities and provinces  generate jobs, instead of simply just earning a living for her own family, she has shown that serving the nation takes many forms and as an individual champion for ICT, one can make a difference.

(Written in 2014)