An Open Letter to My Fellow Bacolodnons

jobsMy running for mayor this May 2019 elections will probably  come as a suprise to most of you. Even my closest circle of friends were not aware of my sudden decision to return to the political scene of Bacolod again.

But I have carefully and prayerfully considered all probable consequences amd challenges between coming forward or staying in the sidelines. For me, it is not only a question of whether I can win or not – it is more about whether Bacolod can win or not?

For almost three decades, the same people offer themselves for public service. Despite the obvious need for new ideas, for fresh directions, for innovative solutions, the same faces and names dominate our city’s political landscape. Since the choices are limited, it has become easy for politicians with strong political machineries to continue in power.

Without passing judgment on anyone, this seeming lack of new leaders especially for top positions have stifled the growth of our city in major aspects, hindered its full potential, and impeded healthy experimentations of new solutions and ideas that usually characterize smart cities around the globe. We still face the same problems from several decades ago – poor traffic management, low citizen’s engaagement in governance, poorly managed waste, lack of clear strategies to address rapid urbanization, slow adoption of mechanisms to ensure healthy business environment, issues on public finance and a dearth of sustainable and long term solutions over and above palliative and reactionary measures, to name a few. These problems are compounded by constant in-fightings and conflicts between and among leaders as well as a highly-politicized bureaucracy.

My vision is to see Bacolod rise above its current state to greater heights – not only from externally but internally – a city that will become a true example for other cities to emulate in terms of open governance, innovation, social development, knowledge economy, and environmental management.  I have always articulated to public all the ordinances I have principally authored – and I rise now for the opportunity of breathing life to all of them. My devotion to the various sectors who will attempt to question my sincerity need only to read all my ordinances as a councilor to know I mean business.

This can only come about by scaling the quality of our political exercises to a higher level. By giving people a choice between mere promises and concrete strategies. By allowing voters to refuse to believe in words and be influenced by fleeting favors and money and inspiring them to take responsibility of creating their own future through their own decisions.

My mission is to help Bacolod WIN over these recurring concerns and issues, which apparently has been poorly addressed despite the passing of so many years.

May 13, 2019 is still very far and we have ample time to magnify the discussions to a more detailed level, but let me lay down the principles of my governance now.

I am known for having led the creation of information and communications  technology (ICT) jobs in Bacolod – this actually inspired me to keep going and spread the strategies to other cities. Hence, for easy recall I am carrying this consistent brand as JOBS for Bacolod, short for Jocelle Batapa Sigue for Bacolod.

JOBS means productivity. It means self-worth. It means a whole family’s welfare. Job creation has always been my strategy to help improve our communities. Today, JOBS take on a higher meaning for Bacolod.

J – Jobs and Investments Generation

O – Open Governance and Innovation

B – Barangay Empowerment and Development

S – Sectoral and Citizens Engagement

I shall accordingly expand the discussion about these basic thrusts in due time. But to complement these thrusts, I commit to prepare the following documents in collaboration with stakeholders, namely:

  1. A Green Agenda (A holistic set of environmental strategies anchored on existing ordinances and citizens insights) This entails the immediate inventory, classification, and implementation of environmental ordinances
  2. A Digital Skills Roadmap (A comprehensive set of plans and multi-level interventions to ensure talent development programs for Future of Work skills). This entails the creation of a City Wide Talent Development Committee to collaborate with the Local School Board, schools, human resource development centers and industry in creating relevant strategies to harness skills of Bacolodnons
  3. An Open Governance Framework (a collective guide to integrate ICT in government systems for efficiency, transparency and effective service delivery – taking into  consideration the new EODB law. –
  4. Executive-Legislative Communications Plan (a set of working principles between two co-equal body of the city to harness more productive relations and proper performance of mandate).

One of my goals is to harness genuine collaboration and mutual respect between the executive and legislative branches of the local government in the performance of duties and responsibilities under the law fostered by open communications and all mandated mechanisms like the ELA.

My target output is an Executive Legislative Agenda within the first 100 days of office with private sector participating in every stage, each councilor shall receive support for on his or her committee works, programs and projects, creation of executive policy support desk for all committees to ensure collaboration between executive and legislative, inventory and classification of all existing ordinances by executive liaison officers and immediate submission for recommendations/suggestions to the respective departments concerned. All reports and recommendations shall be submitted to the office of the mayor.

Another area of serious concern is the city’s full compliance with new Ease of Doing Business Law especially the No-Contact Policy. In the first 100 days, inventory of all systems and processes according to the EODB law. Executive Order Creating a Special Composite Composite Committee To make Bacolod Fully Compliant with the EODB Law.

My other targets include the:

  • Immediate operationalization of all ordinances especially the Bacolod Investments team and compilation and inventory of all investment related ordinances
  • Identification and reccomendation to the legislative of incentives to drive social impact like improved street lighting, connectivity, waste management by companies
  • Creation of industry-centric desks to collaborate with specific industries (ICT, Tourism, Food, Retail, Agro and Eco-Tourism)
  • Creation of or improvement of existing peace and order strategies, including installation of lights, CCTV and safety equipments in strategic locations

The decision to run for mayor is a very difficult one. It took a very deep level of personal reflection on my part to finally take this ultimate sacrifice. When I decided to leave politics in 2016, I was already prepared to simply become an ordinary citizen – but the same ordinary citizen is called to do an important task today. My sense of duty to my city is so overwhelming that my heart has become oblivious of all the dangers and hardships that this mission will expose me to.

When I was requested last week by several people to take this post, part of me immediately thought this was my chance to help Bacolod fly, but part of me just felt so scared and small. Who am I to face the giants? Until people who knew began to tell me who I am. My family and friends made me stronger by telling me that it is time. Some of them reminded me of all the realities in politics and discard all illusions that I can do it alone. I have no illusions anymore. I will not seek for people to like me, instead I will seek for people to love and fight for our city.

I do not have the resources to win but I will continue to charge on with complete faith and trust in the Lord’s plan for me. Losing is not an option because today I know in my heart Bacolod can win. But the idea of losing is take my eyes off the vision.

I do not have all the solutions. We are all going to do this together.

I shall come forward in behalf of my generation and those younger than me so we can carve the future of this city.

This mission, this fight, this is not for me or the alliance which I am a part of. This is nor against my political opponents. This fight is for the future we all dream of.

jobs 21job 22job 24jobs 24jobs 26jobs 27

This is my life story in pictures – Dream IT Possible Bacolod



Cross-Functional and Cross-Industry and Sectoral Experience

Highly qualified executive leader and manager with over 26 years of experience in leading teams, companies, institutions and large organizations with proven ability to achieve targets and deliverables according to the mission and strategies of these entities. Possesses the leadership ability to lead stakeholders in creating shared vision and agenda to reach goals. Adept in legal knowledge and office management as a lawyer and senior law firm partner for 20 years. Possesses excellent team management and communications skills as an academic professor for 21 years, and national organization leader for various organizations for over 16 years. Passionate about the growth of jobs and investments especially in the countryside as multi-awarded champion for ICT and innovation.


A combination of practice legal profession in corporate and political setting, exposure and actual immersion in policy – making procedures with a strong foundation in senior management skills, academic expertise and public and media relations

  • Senior Partner, Batapa-Sigue and Sigue Law Offices (2004 to Present)
  • 9 Years as City Councilor of Bacolod from 2004 to 2007, 2007 to 2010, and 2013 to 2016
  • Former In-House Counsel, Legal Department, Victorias Milling Company, Inc. (1999 to 2001)
  • Law Professor for Legal Ethics, Advanced Legal Writing and Legal Research, University of St. La Salle – Bacolod (1998 to Present)
  • Professor, College of Business and Accountancy, University of St. La Salle – Bacolod (1999 – 2007)
  • Professor, College of Education, University of St. La Salle – Bacolod (1999 – 2004)
  • Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos (UNO-R) 2006-2007
  • Former Reporter/News Writer, ABS-CBN TV 4 (1993 – 1997)
  • Former Chief, News Desk, GMA TV 10 (1991-1993)
  • Former Reporter/News Writer, Negros Daily Bulletin, 1993 to 1997
  • Former Anchorwoman, Pulso sa Aksyon Radyo, DYEZ Bacolod, 2004 to 2010


A strong sense of advocacy and commitment towards social issues involving women and children and the advancement of jobs and opportunities especially in the countryside starting from college as university student president and campus journalist. Equipped with advanced written and oral communication and leadership skills.

  • President and Co-Founder, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), Inc. 2010-2012
  • Trustee, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), Inc. 2012-2017
  • Vice President, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), Inc. 2018
  • Former Chair and Founder, and current Executive Director, Bacolod – Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT), Inc. (2008 to Present)
  • Vice President, Anti-Trafficking Legal Advocates Society (ATLAS), Inc. 2012 to Present
  • President, Philippine ICT Innovation Network, Ink. 2013 to Present
  • Board Member, Kalipay Negrense Foundation, Inc. 2013-2016
  • Council Vice President, Bacolod Girl Scout Council 2012-2015
  • Chief Consultant, Negros Occidental ICT Investments Program (2011-2013)
  • Chair, NICP eGOV Awards 2012-2017 (Excellence in Governance through ICT)
  • Division D Governor, Toastmasters International 2002 (Member of TM since 1993 with the current norm of:
  • Advanced Communicator Gold – Toastmasters International
  • Advanced Competent Leader Silver – Toastmasters International
  • Chairman, Board of Trustees, Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. currently Voices of The Free (VF) Foundation (2017 – Present)
  • Chair, Bacolod City Information Technology (IT) Focus Team 2005-2007
  • President, Supreme Student Council (University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos) SY 1991-1992
  • Opinion Editor, The Tolentine Star of (University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos) SY 1992-1993

AWARDS and citations

Has developed a sense of citizenship and responsibility to empower sectors in developing strategies to create jobs and driving investments especially in the countryside to achieve inclusive growth. Has been exposed to international avenues for learning innovation and new ideas for purposes of iteration and replication. Served as an inspiration to many stakeholders in various fields

  • 2016 The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Awardee for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Philippines
  • 2013 Philippine Individual ICT Contributor of the Year Awarded by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP)
  • 2012 Finalist, Individual ICT Contributor Awards Awarded by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP)
  • Top Ten Outstanding Young Leaders for 2009 chosen by the Asia Society Foundation under its Philippines 21 program and represented the Philippines in Malaysia in the Asia-Pacific Global Forum for Young Leaders
  • Recipient of Go Negosyo – Best Government Support for Business in 2007 by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship as Recipient as Proponent & Chair of the Bacolod Information Technology (IT) Focus Team adjudged as
  • Soroptimist International – Bacolod 2007 “Making A Difference in Women” Awardee
  • Top 20 finalists in the Search for the 2007 Ten Outstanding Councilors of the Philippines (TOCP)
  • 2008 Outstanding Alumna in Public Service Awardee, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Nergos Occidental – Recoletos (UNO-R)
  • 2002 National Champion in Evaluation Speech during the Philippine Toastmasters District Convention
  • 1993 Best Debater during the Inter-Collegiate Debate Series conducted by the Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports Cultural and Education Association (NOPSSCEA)


Highly exposed to international environments for growth and learning along with other leaders all over the world. Has been trained extensively for ICT investments promotions both local and national level

  • 2018 AVPN-BMW Foundation Policy Leadership Fellow, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), Singapore
  • 2017 Guest of Honor and Resource Speaker, 1st BPO Guatemala Conference, Guatemala City and Key Resources Speaker for Guatemala Cities Workshop
  • 2017 Philippine Representative to the Korean Innopolis Science and Technology Park Management Course, Daejeon, South Korea
  • 2017 MAGIC Cooperator for Corporate Innovation, Cyberjaya, Malayasia
  • 2017 Resource Speaker in the 7th Confluence Conference in Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • 2014 Member of the Philippine All-Women Trade Mission to Japan for the Yokohama Women Festival and Exposure to Various ICT companies
  • 2015 Key Resource Speaker, “Making Strides, Advancing Women in Leadership” Global Networks Forum, Miami, Florida, US organized by Eisenhower Fellowship and German Marshall Fund, Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance, and Harvard Loeb
  • 2014 Haggai Institute Alumna, Maui, Hawaii, USA
  • 2012 Eisenhower Fellow of the Philippines in the Eisenhower Fellowships Multi-Nation Program (Fellowship focused on ICT, ICT Startups, Animation and Game Development and Health Care Information Management)
  • Aspen Fellow, Aspen Leadership Institute, Aspen, Colorado, USA May 2012
  • 2010 Asia Society Trade Mission to Taipei, Taiwan hosted by MOFA, Taiwan
  • Top 21 Fellows for the UNDP Philippine Leadership Course for Young Leaders (PYLG) in Governance for Visayas – Mindanao Cluster  in 2008 under the Asia Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG) Program


Possess the ability to work beyond what is compliant to what is exceedingly possible in order to achieve growth targets. Skillful in bringing all stakeholders together for  a shared vision and developing roadmaps with concrete timelines and success indicators

  • Proponent, Excellence in Governance Through Information and Communications Technology (ICT) or eGOV Awards under the NICP (2012 to present)
  • Proponent & Chair of the Bacolod Information Technology (IT) Focus Team adjudged as Go Negosyo – Best Government Support for Business in 2007 by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Proponent of the Alternative Skills Program for Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) – a project given the Award of Excellence for implementation for Region VI under the Philippine Action Programme to Protect Working Children and Combat and Eliminate Child Labour of International Labor Organization – International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC)
  • Proponent of the Bacolod IT Investment Program adjudged as the Best Public Sector Practice in Region VI – LGU Category in 2006 by NEDA and RDC VI
  • Instrumental in having Bacolod included as one of the Next Wave Cities in the Outsourcing and Off-shoring Industry of the Philippines (5th Place in 2009 and 3rd Place in 2010) and now Center of Excellence for ICT-BPM in the Philippines
  • Instrumental in having Bacolod included as the No. 100 City in the world ranked by Tholons International as among the Top 100 Cities in the World for Outsourcing for 2010 to 2017
  • Proponent, Technology Business Incubation Center (TBIC) as the Negros First CyberCentre


Equipped with skills developed over long years of immersion and practice as a federalist, media person, environmentalist, journalist, resources speaker for various organizations

  • Founding Member, Centro Federal – Bacolod in University of St. La Salle since 2000
  • Resource speakers for Capacity Development Workshops in Creating ICT Councils organized by NICP and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Formerly CICT since 2016
  • Host, JOBS on TV over Sunshine Channel 14 (2007 to 2010)
  • Host, Pulso sa Aksyon Radyo DYEZ Aksyon Radyo (2004 -2010)
  • Columnist, The Legal Perspective, Negros Weekly (2004 to 2010)
  • Host, The SHE Factor aired through Sunshine Channel 14 (2007 – 2009)
  • Head, Women and Children’s Legal Desk, Law Center, USLS College of Law
  • Volunteer Counsel for Bacolod Women’s Center, DAWN Foundation, Inc., Holy Family  Home, Kapisanan Nang Mga Brodkasters Nang Pilipinas (KBP)-Negros Occidental Chapter and Negros Press Club
  • Professional Resource Speaker, RA 7877, RA 9262, RA 7610, RA 8353, RA 8354, RA 9344 and other laws on women and children
  • Convenor, Earth Day (since 2007) – Bacolod and Negros Occidental
  • Advocate, Philippine Climate-Friendly Cities Project (electric jeeps) – GRIPP
  • Chair, Bacolod Sanggunian Committees on Women and Gender, Communications & Energy
  • Chair, Bacolod City Gender and Development (GAD) Council 2004-2007, 2007-2010


Immersed and trained in legislative work and dynamics as a policy maker both in the local and national level. She has served as resource speaker and member of House and Senate TWGs on the Creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Bill and in the Senate TWG for the Ease of Doing Business Bill of 2018. As a city councilor for 9 years in, she has crafted, authored and led the legislation of major ordinances as follows:

  1. Creation of Bacolod Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Persons (IACAT) and TIP Help Desks in Seaports
  2. Annual Gawad Kooperatiba Awards and Support to Cooperatives
  3. Laying the Procedures for SP Endorsement to PEZA of ICT Parks , Buildings, Tourism Development Zones and Economic Zones
  4. Celebration of April 22 as Earth Day in Bacolod City
  5. Protection and Barangay Registration of Household/Domestic Workers
  6. The Gender and Development (GAD) Code of Bacolod City
  7. Protection of Watershed Areas, Establishing Watershed Development and Water Conservation Programs for Bacolod City
  8. Institutionalization of Programs for Informal Sector Workers and Creating the Informal Sector Workers of Bacolod
  9. Observance of June 13 – 19 as Social Work Week and Promotion of Social Work
  10. Establishing the Fr. Mauricio Ferrero, OAR Street Ordinance
  11. Creation of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Council & Development of ICT Industry (as Co-Author of Councilor Lyndon Cana)
  12. Ordinance Implementing the Law Against Worst Forms of Child Labor and Developing Strategies to Lessen Child Labor in Bacolod such as the Intensive Implementation of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program
  13. Observance of December 1 – 7 as Non-Government Organization-People’s Organizations (NGO-PO) Week
  14. Prevention of Sexually-Transmitted Infections (STI), Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) & Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) & Creation of Bacolod Local STI/HIV/AIDS Council
  15. Reduction of Police Clearance Fees for Purposes of Voter’s Registration
  16. Declaration of Bacolod as Organic City (Anti-GMO Ordinance)
  17. Procedures for the Development of Medical Tourism Parks and Retirement Villages
  18. Creation of the Bacolod Technology and Livelihood Development Center
  19. Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Measures Ordinance and Implementation of Strategies to Mitigate Pollution for Transport, Business and and Other Sectors
  20. Comprehensive Health and Wellness Ordinance and Promotion of Medical Tourism
  21. Promotion and Strengthening of the City of Bacolod as a Choice Destination for National and International Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE)
  22. Establishing the Bacolod City Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Training Scholarships for Contact Centers, Software Development, Game Development, Animation and other IT Courses
  23. Declaring February of Every Year as Bacolod Arts Month (BAM)
  24. Stronger Penalties for Vandalism in Bacolod City and Strategies to Enjoin Schools in the Fight Against Vandalism
  25. Regulation of the Commercial Sale of Spray Paint Cans in Bacolod
  26. Prescribing Mechanics of the Masskara Festival Celebration and setting the Cultural standards of the Festival, and Prescribing Procedures for Accountability of Third Party Organizers
  27. Institutionalizing a Tourism Homestay Program for Bacolod City and Setting Global Standards for Homestay facilities in Bacolod
  28. Ensuring Effective Implementation of Food Safety Standards in Bacolod City and the Implementing Rules and Regulations
  29. Creating the Bacolod Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council
  30. Establishing the Bacolod Business Promotions and Investments Week and Setting the Bacolod Trade Expo identifying Key Promotion Areas: Agriculture, Food and related industries, Gifts, Housewares, Decors and Other Craft-Based Industries, Manufacturing and other Industrial Business, Information and Communications Technology and Other Technology-Based Industries Tourism, Hospitality, Health and Wellness and Other Service Industries
  31. Establishing the Bacolod City Ordinance Awareness Week
  32. Establishing Guidelines for the Selection of the  Local Economic and Investment Promotion Officer (LEIPO)


  • Bachelor of Laws, 1997 (Pioneer Batch) University of St. La Salle (USLS) Bacolod City (June 1993 to March 1997)
  • Passed the 1997 Bar Examinations and was admitted to the Bar on May 7, 1998
  • Bachelor of Arts Major in Political Science, 1993
  • University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) Bacolod City (June 1990 to March 1993)
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