Stronger ICT Councils for A Smarter Philippines (3rd NICP Summit)

SPEECH OF ATTY. JOCELLE BATAPA-SIGUE as CHAIR, NATIONAL ICT CONFEDERATION OF THE PHILIPPINES (NICP) During the Opening of the 3rd NICP Summit in Bacolod on November 25, 2010

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To use the term “leaders” to describe the composition of our congregation today is an understatement. Most of those outside of this room would probably be content, if not proud to be calling themselves as leaders. But today, as we welcome you to the 3rd National ICT Summit – we welcome innovators, catalysts, movers, and connectors. Leaders who are not contented of the status quo but want to continue to break the chains of obsolescence due to the fast-paced development in technology, to destroy the digital barriers that hamper our economic growth, and to push this country up to reach its full potential.

Today, our biggest challenge is not only to be leaders but innovators. This I believe is a potent combination to conquer the challenging times – leadership anchored on innovation. We cannot continue to depend on old ways and strategies. We have to seize every opportunity to improve the lives of the young boy or girl out there looking at our exhibitions as part of their school assignment.

I am proud to belong to two organizations that have brought me to this stage this morning, and all of us.

First – The National ICT Confederation of the Philippines. United with a common goal to make the Philippines one of the world’s largest outsourcing and off-shoring destinations in the world – the NICP has risen beyond geographical divisions to forge a strong partnership that will play a vital role in the innovation and the development of all our islands today. With the guidance of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), ten major ICT organizations from the cities of Quezon, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Cagayan De Oro, General Santos, Legazpi, General Santos, Iligan and Bacolod came together on November 25 and 26, 2008 to lay the foundation of a nationwide body of all ICT councils and federations in what we call as the first National ICT Summit held in Iligan City, under the leadership of Dr. Emmanuel Lagare of the Mindanao State University – president of the Iligan ICT Council.

With the combined brains of all the known ICT champions in the ten cities – the NICP was borne and in the words of our ICT Council guru – Boni Belen – the NICP’s primary goal is to be the recognized 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.

The 2nd National ICT Summit in Clark in November 2009 was a resounding success especially with the acclamation of Clark as one of the Centers of Excellence in IT, with former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as guest of honor. We acknowledge the efforts of Cybercity’s top honcho George Sorio of the Metro Clark ICT Council.

After Mindanao and Luzon, it is now the turn of the Visayas. The other organization which I belong to and I am truly grateful for is our host – the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT or BNEFIT. I thank the City of Bacolod and the Province of Negros Occidental for helping in this summit as well as all our partners. The last time I counted – we have total of 25 national speakers in two days. About 25 ICT councils, and 20 colleges and universities are in attendance.

From 10 cities in 2008, we are happy to welcome new cities who are here – Vigan, Laoag, Zamboanga, Surigao, Catarman, Candon, Dagupan, San Fernando Pampanga, San Fernando La Union, Aparri, Cagayan, Baler-Aurora, Tacloban, Santiago.

We are proud to work side by side with our active ICT councils from Bohol, Dumaguete-Negros Oriental, and Sta. Rosa City, Laguna, and Bicol.

This is the 3rd year of the National ICT Summit initiated by NICP, and as its chair – I have 3 important points –

First point – many ICT councils have been actively attending ICT conferences and conventions in Metro Manila every year – and we are amazed at the opportunities and importance of ICT especially in how it can stir our respective local economies – but on one hand – we feel sad that only a handful of us from the provinces would be able to experience an ICT exhibitions of national scale. Therefore one of the key objectives of NICP is to bring the information on the ICT industry and ICT developments to the provinces – from Luzon Visayas and Mindanao, as evidenced by the hosting of Iligan in 2008, Clark in 2009 and Bacolod today. In 2011, we are happy to share with you that the hosting will go back to Mindanao – with the active team of ISA-Region 12 – General Santos City. Our theme this year – CONNECTING THE ISLANDS TO THE WORLD proves that role of NICP to unite the Philippines as One ICT Nation. It is in the NICP that I have truly learned the saying “walang iwanan”.

Second point – as a venue for the sharing of best practices – the ICT council members of NICP are all living examples of the positive effect of stakeholders collaboration. I have coined the term MAGIC, while attending the joint congressional hearing on the creation of the Department of ICT. MAGIC stands for Mobilizing Academe-Government-Industry-Collaboration. NICP’s MAGIC is MAGIC. Note that the Dr. Em, chairman of the 1st Summit is part of the academe. Sir George of Metro Clark is part of the private sector, and I am part of the colorful world of politics. The ICT industry is a place for collaboration – this summit is unique from other conventions where attendees come from the same profession – say a teacher’s convention, a doctors convention – here we come from different fields – finding ways to calibrate and upgrade our performance and efficiency based not on our own standards but based on the standards of other fields. Such as the educational sector seeing how they can produce excellent professionals and not just excellent students – who are immersed in theories but not realities. Such as government looking at ways to improve its processes to be attractive to the ICT industry. We have prepared a network lounge just in the other room for you to meet with other delegates, discuss and exchange notes, strike business deals or simply learn from one another – over a cup of coffee.

Lastly, in the NICP – we understand fully well, as we hope all other sectors understand that ICT is not a narrow term – while we have our cyberservices sector that covers IT-business process outsourcing industry, the NICP is cognizant of the other 3 important areas of ICT, which are e-Governance, Infrastructure and Human Capital. That is why we support the crafting of a Philippine Digital Strategy, portions of which will be presented in the educational tracks. We all together aspire that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino support the initiatives of the ICT sector pursuant to his goal of generating more jobs and anchored on the principle of public-partnership. In the past – I thought these terms are simply political jargons – today I can attest that it works. I joked last week “na sana kahit ika-100 na lang ang Bacolod sa Tholons Top 100 Cities in the World for Outsourcing. Indeed, I was crazily laughing and crying in front of my laptop when I heard the announcement at past 12 midnight that Bacolod is the 100th City.

I thank all our exhibitors and our partners for being here – BPAP, GDAP, PSIA, HIMOAP, TESDA, CHED and most of all CICT.

Most of all I thank you for being here despite of all the difficulties. We seek for your understanding in the shortcomings that we may have or will be committing as organizers and hosts – we cannot guarantee you a perfect summit – but we will do our best – to show you why our City is truly the City of Smiles!

Thank you!

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