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Officers of the Provincial Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council of Biliran took their oath office last May 18, 2018 for the promotion, application and improvement of ICT for community development in the province.

Leading the oath is Biliran Vice Governor Eriberto Tubis, Jr. in the Municipality of Naval in Biliran and witnessed by Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Director for Visayas Cluster 2 Antonio Padre and National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) Vice President Jocelle Batapa-Sigue.

Batapa-Sigue, who is also president of the Philippine ICT Innovation Network, a private organization of ICT advocates, conducted a capacity development training for all the officers before the oathtaking. Batapa-Sigue lauded the efforts of Biliran in raising the level and participation of its stakeholders from academic, government and industry to maximize the use of ICT to uplift the economic situation of Biliran in Region VIII.

Under an ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panglalawigan of Biliran in March this year, the ICT council in close collaboration with DICT, the council is responsible in promoting the development and widespread use of emerging ICT and foster and accelerate the convergence of ICT and ICT-enabled facilities, to ensure the availability and accessibility of ICT services, and to provide support to agencies governing and regulating the ICT sector and ensure consumer protection and welfare, data privacy and security, foster competition and the growth of the ICT sector.

The council is also tasked to support the DICT in promoting a policy environment that encourages a broad market-led development of the ICT and ICT-Enabled Services (ICT- ES) sectors, a level playing field, partnership between the public and private sectors strategic alliance with foreign investors and balanced investments  between high-growth and economically-depressed areas and to promote and the development of local ICT content, applications and services which may include support for ICT-based start-up enterprises through strategic partnerships.

The ordinance also encourages the ICT council to promote the use of ICT for the enhancement of key public services, such as education, public health and safety, revenue generation, and socio- civic purposes, and arts and tourism and national identity.

The DICT is mandated to ensure the rights of individuals to privacy and confidentiality of their personal information, to ensure the security of critical ICT infrastructure including information assets of the government, individuals and businesses; to promote digital literacy, ICT expertise and knowledge-building among citizens to enable them to participate and compete in an evolving ICT age, and to empower, through the use of ICT, the disadvantaged segments of the population, including the elderly, persons with disabilities and indigenous and minority groups.

The ordinance also creates the committees on research and planning, education and training, government support and investment and promotions.

Sigue Shares ICT Council Model to Guatemalan Cities

Sharing the Philippine Story in Bringing ICT jobs to the countryside at the the BPO Guatemala Summit last November 2017

The steady creation of huge employment enabled by information and communications technology (ICT) in cities outside of Metro Manila has caught international attention recently as Philippine industry leaders where invited to speak in Guatemala.

Co – founder and former president of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines Jocelle Batapa-Sigue was invited as main speaker during the 1st Annual Convention of the Contact Center and BPO Industry in Guatemala City on November 23, 2017 with the theme: “Impulsando la Economía de Guatemala – Ciudades Intermedias, ¿Cómo desarrollarlas?”

Also invited as resource speaker was Jose Mari Mercado, former president of the Information Technology Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president and current national technology officer of Microsoft Philippines

In their invitation to Batapa-Sigue, organizer BPO Guatemala “the creation of intermediate cities has become a country priority for Guatemala since 2016, with both government and private sector working together to create a new competitiveness agenda of the country. However, despite having a clear understanding on what the benefits and contributions of tier 2 cities are, there is a deep lack of knowledge on how to do it and what steps need to be taken, as to who are the main actors and key players are, and what actions each stakeholder must take”.

During the conference and a special workshop design for intermediate cities on November 24,  Batapa-Sigue shared the ICT Council model of Bacolod and NICP in general. She highlighted the need for academe, government and private sector to generate jobs and investments and drive innovation to the countryside.

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BPO Guatemala highlighted the organizational mission of NICP in “promoting foreign and local investment while pursuing balanced development, as well as transforming the Philippines into a customer-oriented and competitive provider for global services” as having very essential value to them.

BPO Guatemala considered the inputs of Batapa-Sigue as a unique opportunity to benefit and learn from her experience in the evolution of Bacolod City as a “center of excellence” for information technology and business process management operations in 2013, as declared by the Department of Science and Technology, as well as making Bacolod part of the Tholons International Top 100 Cities in the World since 2010.

Mercado highlighted how do the intermediate cities contribute to the development and competitiveness of a country and the role of the industry in helping drive jobs to the Tier 2 cities.

cropped-img_99661.jpgDuring the workshop attended by various cities in Guatemala, Batapa-Sigue outlined the the benefits of all stakeholders doing their share in a spirit of collaboration, pointing out the main actors in the development of intermediate cities.

She commended the Philippine Next Wave Cities program of IBPAP and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) which provided the intermediate cities criteria which are talent, costs, infrastructure and business environment for the cities to work on improving.

Ninoshka Linde, main organizer in her invitation to Batapa-Sigue cited that the creation of intermediate cities has become a country priority for Guatemala since 2016, both government and private initiative, have defined nine development axes, which are being taken into account in the new competitiveness agenda of the country. However, despite having a clear understanding on what the benefits and contributions of Tier-2-Cities are, there is a deep lack of knowledge on how to do it, what steps need to be taken, who the main actors and key players are, and what actions each one must take in order to implement intermediate cities.

BPO GUATEMALA – integrated by 14 multinational companies, many of which have presence in different countries where secondary cities along with the CC & BPO Industry have played an important role in the implementation of a similar strategy has decided to host a forum in which the focus is how to develop tier 2 cities as development axes.

The audience was comprised of government leaders, ambassadors, mayors and councilors, business chambers representatives, decision-makers from the private sector, directors from the call center industry and various key players all of whom can influence the building of a new country.

Linde said Batapa-Sigue’s expertise as founder of NICP in promoting foreign and local investment while pursuing balanced development, as well as transforming the Philippines into a customer-oriented and competitive provider for global services is of essential value to Guatemala stakeholders.

SITIO Iligan Launched

sitio11.jpgPrivate and public stakeholders of Iligan City launched yesterday, June 27, the initiative to create more digital jobs and opportunities under a concrete business framework named as SITIO (Social Innovation Through Impact Outsourcing).

sitio5.JPGHeading the launch were acting Iligan mayor Jemar Vera Cruz, city councilors Jesse Ray Balanay and Belinda Lim, lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, the author of SITIO and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Mindanao Cluster 2 head Eva May Dela Rosa.

sitio2.JPGSITIO was principally developed by Batapa-Sigue, as part of her Future of Work project as a Philippine Eisenhower Fellow in 2017, and as a continuing commitment as one the outstanding women in nation service (TOWNS) for 2016 in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) and former president of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP).

sitio12 (2).JPGVera Cruz called on Iliganons to unite for ICT initiatives and expressed the support of his office for SITIO. He lauded the initiative of Iligan Councilor Jesse Ray Balanay who is the main convenor for SITIO Iligan.

Dela Rosa also expressed support her support and outlined the different projects of DICT that positively complement SITIO such as the Rural Impact Sourcing (RIS) trainings and Tech4Ed Centers.

sitio14.JPGBalanay, joined by Councilor Belinda Lim and ICT consultant Andrews Libradilla thanked all the attendees especially the organized groups of freelances, bloggers and startup founder and conveyed the appeal of the SITIO Iligan to corporations to outsource some of their campaigns to Iligan for SITIO to scale up.

SITIO is a holistic approach to address unemployment and lack of investment and economic opportunities in areas where ICT-enabled companies have not located but the availability of talent, infrastructure, connectivity, business dynamism and other factors necessary for global services are present.

sitio8.jpgBatapa-Sigue says social innovation and impact sourcing are two different global concepts that can be combined to create concrete solutions to generate jobs in Iligan that can positively affect geographically disadvantaged, marginalized and depressed areas. She hopes that after piloting SITIO Iligan other cities can follow.

SITIO encourages a city to promote social enterprise that applies business strategies and earning income or profits for external shareholders to bring about concrete social change such as job generation, talent development and innovation.

sitio22.JPGThe components of SITIO are infrastructure, consisting of facility, center or building for administration and operations, PC, other equipment, power, utility and connectivity; a dedicated and well-structured social enterprise management board and marketing team, availability of human resource, preferably trained digital online workers or freelancers with an inventory of skills inventory and portfolio and an online platforms system for virtual work. In the case of SITIO Iligan, the website is

To be successful, Batapa-Sigue told Iliganons that there should be a strong collaboration among stakeholders and with industry, government support, partnerships with academe and training institutions and commitment of the key implementers.

The concrete facility of SITIO is a hybrid facility that combines the characteristics of a homegrown BPO work stations, shared service facility or co-working spaces, talent development or training center and business resource center and innovation hub.

sitio19.jpgThe World Economic Forum (WEF) defines social innovation as the application of innovative, practical, sustainable, market-based approaches to benefit society in general, and low-income or underserved populations in particular, and to bring more strategic, more ambitious and more collaborative in how access and opportunity can be provided for billions of low-income people to participate in the global economy.

Impact sourcing is defined by the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition as an inclusive employment practice through which companies in global supply chains intentionally hire and provide career development opportunities to people who otherwise have limited prospects for formal employment, to deliver business outcomes. Impact sourcing has been shown to provide many business benefits, including access to new sources of talent, higher levels of employee engagement, and lower attrition rates, while offering employees their first step onto a career ladder that leads to economic self-sufficiency through income growth, skills development, and professional advancement.

SITIO rides on the wave of the constantly growing practice of outsourcing or the hiring a party outside a company to perform services or create goods that are usually performed in-house by the company’s own employees and staff or are non-core aspects of the business.

Today, outsourcing, specifically business process outsourcing (BPO), knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), and information technology outsourcing (ITO) have gone beyond just for the purpose of cost arbitrage but also implemented by corporations for efficiency, productivity, or more focus on core tasks, flexibility, as well as opportunity to tap on new skills sets and competencies.

The war for talent has been a challenge for all companies today such that the evolution of process outsourcing has become a world wide phenomenon from simple staff augmentation, to project-based outsourcing, out-tasking or professional contracting to managed services and offshoring.