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 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:
- Government is a catalyst of all stakeholders and must initiate and encourage all key sectors to set and join in pursuing a direction
- The private sector must actively support the government by providing resources to improve the business ecosystem, provide the real estate and telecommunications infrastructure.
- The academe must continuously link with the industry to ensure relevant education
- 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.
The 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:
- 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.
- 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)
- Partnering with TESDA and BPAP for the roll-out of over P70 Million worth of ICT-related trainings in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao
- 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.
She 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)