I have been silent for three days since the major technical glitch of the Bacolod Barter Community (BBC) happened this week because as founder, together with all the moderators – we are deeply affected by this development. But despite our sadness, we know that we need to be transparent and explain the situation.  

On Tuesday this week, September 15, at around 9 o’clock in the morning, the Bacolod Barter Community was disabled by Facebook due to a number of breaches or posts that went against Facebook community standards, which accumulated since May 2020. Out of nearly 250,000 posts, BBC has incurred more than 80 breaches or posts of items, which under FB rules are not allowed “for selling”. Since Facebook has currently no rules for bartering. We have immediately blocked, removed or muted all the members whose posts were taken down by Facebook as a breach. The breaches include mostly surgical disposable masks (which is regulated by Facebook because of pandemic), and live animals, airsoft and vape.  This situation also happened to other online barter communities.

We have constantly ensured not to behave as buy and sell or a commercial trading group page such that the strict FB regulations applying to commercial transactions can be reconsidered. Notwithstanding, everything that Facebook prohibited to be sold online, BBC also disallowed to be bartered online.

We have tried every day to advice our members against Facebook breaches and our moderators have constantly tried to avoid errors of approving them. The cumulative number of posts DECLINED by all volunteer moderators have reached more than 20,000 in a span of four months. This only means that we have exerted so much effort in making sure that everyone gets to barter and posts that are violating mechanics are prohibited.    

Also on September 15 the same day BBC went offline, the BBC team has begun the process of appeal which is on-going up to this day. We have appealed to Facebook to consider online barter communities as public good, just like we look at Facebook as a public good – for us who have made it a platform to pursue our advocacies.

The Bacolod Barter Community has benefitted thousands of families in Bacolod and in Negros Occidental in finding ways and means to survive the serious economic impacts of the quarantine restrictions due to the pandemic. Thousands have lost their jobs and opportunities to earn on a daily basis. Many small and medium business owners and entrepreneurs have folded up or have temporarily closed their businesses. More than half of the city have started to re-connect, while others have built new connections or stronger connections because of daily online bartering activities. Online barter has spontaneously spread across the country in May, sending message of hope and spreading kindness to all communities. Online barter has become a social technology to uplift the otherwise desolate and dampened spirits that prevailed in our physical communities after several months of lockdown restrictions. In sum, we have shown the world what kindness is all about in the midst of fear and uncertainties.

It is on these important points that we appealed to Facebook, and that therefore, up to now, we are praying that our page shall be restored.  As BBC Founder and Administrator, I take full responsibility for this technical situation and sincerely apologize to all members for all the inconvenience this development has caused everyone. I am immensely grateful to all moderators who spend so much time and resources to help me in this endeavor even without any remuneration. I am extremely thankful to our benefactors and members who shared prizes and items to bring cheers to our inspiring barter stories and challenges.  Most of all, I thank the more than 235,000 members who have become part of the vision of BBC for several months.

While awaiting the decision, also on the same day, September 15, we have started a new group page with the same name – BACOLOD BARTER COMMUNITY – and the same logo, the same mechanics and user-experience  – with this URL –

We invite everyone to this new home with renewed optimism and hopeful spirits. I also encouraged everyone to be more responsible in all our bartering activities – from posting, to bartering in the threads, up to exchanging.

Whether our original BBC group is restored or that we continue on with this new group – the Bacolod Barter Community commits, with the help of the Almighty God, and the cooperation of all members – to be STRONGER, WISER, AND KINDER!

Let us not give up and continue to help one another. Let us put our trust in the Lord and rely on His Wisdom and Goodness to decide what is best for us.

Tomorrow is a new day! Padayon kita! Madamo nga salamat!

Sa Barter May Kindness, Sa On-line May Classes: Five Inspiring Stories of Young Negrenses

Young Bacolodnons and Negrenses all need to face the harsh realities of a world seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic along with million of young people around the world. They are left with no choice but to strike balance between adapting to the so-called New Normal and still remain optimistic and determined to pursue their goals and aspirations in life. One important step is to pursue their studies despite the everything that is happening and inspite of difficult circumstances. There’s a brave new world waiting for our young people. But first they have to conquer the challenges posed by migration of classroom learning to virtual classes.

As September came, the Bacolod Barter Community launched a challenge for its members to mark its fourth month – to nominate and share a story about someone deserving to receive a Smart Bro Pocket Wifi LTE with 250 load. In just one day, the challenge drew 153 names. Judges went through all the stories and picked five young people. Their identities and stories were also validated. We invite you to read the short sharing of the nominators about their nominees below, in their own words and be inspired. There stories will give us a glimpse of the difficulties our young people face today as they immerse themselves in online learning.

Evame Lastimoso

Evame was nominated by her sister-in-law: Chirry May Despe, who wrote: “I chose Evame Lastimoso nga mtagaan sang pocket wifi kay naga believe gid ako sa iya sa pag dedicar sa pag-eskwela nya 15 years old palang sya nagbusong nasa but wala gid sya nag stop sa schooling nya until now nga ma 3 years old na baby nya. Sya ang akon nga bayaw kag ang iya bana isa lamang ka trycycle driver kay tungod sa pandemic indi ka byahe iya bana gabaligya nalang sila fishball Kung hapon para my ibakal gatas ka bata ya. While gatulok ko sya nabudlayan ko kay gastart na online class nila kung gabe sya kag aga pa gabugtaw para mag answer sang mga questionaire nila kay pagkahapon mabaligya naman sya fishball sa benta nya sa fishball dira pasa gakwa ipaload 70 pesos good for 1 week para sa iya online class. I hope attorney sya mapilian nyu. She deserve nga makakwa ka wifi para ndi na sya nabudlayan pa.tama ka tutum nga baye pag abot sa pageskwela ya I salute her. GODBLESS attorney

(I choose Evame to receive a pocket wifi because I am impressed by her dedication to her studies. She became pregnant when she was only 15 years of age but she never quit school. Her husband who is a tricycle driver no longer had trips because of the pandemic. So as couple, they sold fishball in the day time, where Evame gets 70 pesos per week for Internet load for her online classes. I hope she gets the wifi because she is very hardworking when it comes to her studies).

Floriane Flores

Floriane was nominated by her aunt, Angelie Flores, who wrote: Gin pili ko sya nga angay hatagan sang pocket wifi ang akon nominado ky bisan ano ka budlay ga porsigido gid cla nga 5 nga mag utod nga maka tapos bisan ga patay patay ubra sa tawo ang ila nga iloy para my pang adlaw adlaw nga gawion ky ang amay nila wala na ga suporta sa ila kg very proud sa ila nga lima nga gin padako cla nga closer to God nga every Saturday ga serve gid cla nga bisan wala na ang amay nila ga suporta kg ga pakita sa ila pero ang heart nila nga mag ulutod wala sang ka akig kg ang mabatian mo lang sa ila palangga man japon namon c papa bisan wala nya na kami gina sapak batunon man japon namon siya kung balik cya… tani mapilian ang akon nominado salamat

(I chose Floriane because of her determination and that of her siblings despite the difficulties they face especially in not being supported by their own father. I am proud of them because they were raised with close relationship to God. Such that despite of their father not looking at their welfare, all of them still loves him and wish to accept him if he comes back and live with them.)

Raphael Casim

Raphael was nominated by a schoolmate Cherise Ascalon Cordova, who wrote: “Hi this is a batchmate of mine from lasalle nursing. Nursing in lasalle is very expensive however he is a scholar cause his dad works there. He is very smart and very hardworking. Taga adsisa sha sa silay which is very very far. And waay sha wifi only load. And every lecture week ga zoom kami for our Nursing major subjects and mahal2 ang zoom mag kaon sa load. A day guru he spends at least 200 for load. Nd man gd sila amo na ka rich and he is really challenged. To think sometimes grabe gd demands sang mga teachers namon. U may think pag lasalle damo kwarta especially nursing but NO. Hindi man gd kami ni amo ni ka close but i think he really deserves nya effortan cause i want us all to graduate as a batch. Future frontliners and i know he deserves it. Grabe sha mag workhard sa school. Despite he is challenged gd but he even gives off much better outputs than my wifi. His dedication to being a RN someday is someone who can inspire a lot of people 🙂 he lives in the far flung areas of silay. My mom said sulodlon pagd. I just want him to cope up also sa lessons namon and zoom classes. Kisa left behind man sha”

(I nominate Raphael, my batchmate in Nursing at La Salle. People may think, students in La Salle are all rich. But that is not true. Raphael is a scholar because his father works in La Salle. They are not rich so he is also struggling with expenses for internet load and demands of teachers, since Zoom eats up a lot of load. We are not that close but I see him as very hardworking. He exerts more effort than even those with a lot of Internet connectivity. He lives very far from Bacolod, at AIDSISA in Silay so has problems copin with lessons. His dedication to his studies will surely make him a good registered nurse some day, a future frontliner. I want us all to graduate as one batch.)

Kimly Ballerta

Kimmy was nominated by a friend, Francis Jim Esing, who wrote “She’s like a sister to me. We have been friend’s since Grade 2 and up until now, 2nd year college na sya taking Secondary Education major in Mathematics sa BCC. Si mama nya lang ang ga buhi sa ila kay recently nag ka sakit sya amo na na stop iya work sa tiyange to help her education. Halin sang elementary asta Senior High School consecutive honor student sya. Hopefully mapili sya kay her sister kag sya gakinahanglan gid para sa ila pag eskwela para ma buligan ila iloy sa ulihi. Salamat.”

(She is a like a sister to me and we have been friends since second grade. Her mother is their only bread winner in the family. But now she is sick and so they need to close their small store. She and her sister really need the pocket wifi for the studies, so they can help their mother.)

️Sofie Cabinbin

Sofie nominated her self and wrote: Hi maam good eve, ako gle si Sofie Cabinbin taga brgy16 purok dalawidaw Bacolod City. Akon kaugalingon ang gin pili nga eh nominate kay tungod naga pati ako nga isa ko sa deserving kag indi lamang ako nga maga pulos sini bangud akon pagid mga manghud, bale tatlo kme kabilog, tatlo man kme ang maga tubang sng online classes, tanan kme ga skwela isa nako kag college samtang ang duwa ko ka manghud isa sa high school kag isa sa senior high kag manug graduate namn ini. Kag kme tanan gna pa skwela sang amon amay nga trisikad driver, kag sa sbng nga tyempo maam wla kme suga naga gamit lng kme sang kandila adlaw2 kag ga charge lng kme sang amon mga cellphone sa amon tiya sa piyak balay ma budlay mn pero kayanon nmun para ma baylohan nmun ang tanan nga sakripisyo nga gn himo samon sang amon amay kag nd mn kme makabayad sang suga sbng kay tungod sa mga galakatabo kag ang income sang akon amay husto lng nmun igasto adlaw2. tne isa ako sa mapilian kag naga pati ako nga deserving ko kay dako gd ini mabulig sa amon panglakaton sa amon maayo nga bwas damlag. Kag isa ini sa maka buhin sang amon problema sa pag tubang sang online classes. Amo lng ina kag madamo gd nga salamat sa pag basa ☺️ halong kita tanan kag God bless us ☺️

(I nominate myseld because I know I deserve the pocket wifi. Me and my two siblings, all three of us need to study so we can repay the hardwork of our father. Our father is our breadwinner in the family and he is a driver. But since we are in a pandemic, he barely has trips. Because we need to spend for our daily needs, we have not paid our electricity bills. So now we have no light and we only charge our cellphones in our aunt’s house next door. We badly need to win the prize to help us with our studies.

The Bacolod Barter Community thanks Atty. Meddie Arbolado, Jr. for donating five units of Smart Bro Pocket Wifi. Meddie has been supportive of the mission of the barter community which is to spread kindness. Congratulations to all our five young winners and may God continue to bless them.

NOTICE: BBC is currently experiencing technical failure. We are encouraging members to join the temporary site here.



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)
  • Law Professor for Legal Ethics, Advanced Legal Writing and Legal Research, University of St. La Salle (USLS) – Bacolod (1998 to Present)
  • Supervising Fellow for Design Thinking and Digital Transformation, Development Academy (DAP) Graduate School of Public Managemenyy
  • 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)
  • Professor, College of Business and Accountancy, USLS – 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, Western Visayas Daily Informer (1993 to 1997)
  • Former Anchorwoman, Pulso sa Aksyon Radyo, DYEZ Bacolod, 2004 to 2010
  • Former TV Host, The She Factor and JOBS on TV aired at Sunshine Channel TV 14 Bacolod (2006-2010)


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 Leader Bronze – Toastmasters International
  • 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

Outstanding Programs and Projects

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

Affiliations and Advocacies

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

policy innovation work

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
  • Annual Gawad Kooperatiba Awards and Support to Cooperatives
  • Laying the Procedures for SP Endorsement to PEZA of ICT Parks , Buildings, Tourism Development Zones and Economic Zones
  • Celebration of April 22 as Earth Day in Bacolod City
  • Protection and Barangay Registration of Household/Domestic Workers
  • The Gender and Development (GAD) Code of Bacolod City
  • Protection of Watershed Areas, Establishing Watershed Development and Water Conservation Programs for Bacolod City
  • Institutionalization of Programs for Informal Sector Workers and Creating the Informal Sector Workers of Bacolod
  • Observance of June 13 – 19 as Social Work Week and Promotion of Social Work
  • Establishing the Fr. Mauricio Ferrero, OAR Street Ordinance
  • Creation of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Council & Development of ICT Industry (as Co-Author of Councilor Lyndon Cana)
  • 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
  • Observance of December 1 – 7 as Non-Government Organization-People’s Organizations (NGO-PO) Week
  • Prevention of Sexually-Transmitted Infections (STI), Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) &  Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) & Creation of Bacolod Local STI/HIV/AIDS Council
  • Reduction of Police Clearance Fees for Purposes of Voter’s Registration
  • Declaration of Bacolod as Organic City (Anti-GMO Ordinance)
  • Procedures for the Development of Medical Tourism Parks and Retirement Villages
  • Creation of the Bacolod Technology and Livelihood Development Center
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Measures Ordinance and Implementation of Strategies to Mitigate Pollution for Transport, Business and and Other Sectors
  • Comprehensive Health and Wellness Ordinance and Promotion of Medical Tourism
  • Promotion and Strengthening of the City of Bacolod as a Choice Destination for National and International Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE)
  • Establishing the Bacolod City Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Training Scholarships for Contact Centers, Software Development, Game Development, Animation and other IT Courses
  • Declaring February of Every Year as Bacolod Arts Month (BAM)
  • Stronger Penalties for Vandalism in Bacolod City and Strategies to Enjoin Schools in the Fight Against Vandalism
  • Regulation of the Commercial Sale of Spray Paint Cans in Bacolod
  • Prescribing Mechanics of the Masskara Festival Celebration and setting the Cultural standards of the Festival, and Prescribing Procedures for Accountability of Third Party Organizers
  • Institutionalizing a Tourism Homestay Program for Bacolod City and Setting Global Standards for Homestay facilities in Bacolod
  • Ensuring Effective Implementation of Food Safety Standards in Bacolod City and the Implementing Rules and Regulations
  • Creating the Bacolod Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council
  • 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
  • Establishing the Bacolod City Ordinance Awareness Week
  • Establishing Guidelines for the Selection of the  Local Economic and Investment Promotion Officer (LEIPO) 

As policy consultant for Digital Transformation at the Office of Senator Sonny Angara, she researched and drafted the following pending bills:

Senate Bill No. 1469 – The National Digital Careers Bill

Senate Bill No. 1470 – The National Digital Transformation Bill With the following components:

  • Digital Competence Framework for Citizens
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Competency Framework for Teachers
  • Philippine Digital Strategy
  • National Digital Skills Development
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Digital Libraries and Learning Hubs
  • Digital Entrepreneurship
  • Digital Careers and Jobs
  • Digital Civil Service
  • National Digital Transformation Council


  • Juris Doctor (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)

  • Certificate in Design Thinking for Innovation (2019), University of Virginia School of Business
  • Course Certificate for Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector (2020), University of Virginia School of Business

Fearless Innovation Forecasts for 2020

Published in SunStar Bacolod on January 15, 2020

Last week, I shared my four of my new year’s resolution and a list of ten paradigm shifts that I am hoping to see happen soon if we are to successfully survive this decade as a city, and hopefully as a country. This week, I am sharing my fifth resolution which is to share my knowledge and skills to as many people as possible. Last year, I have met with some of my fellow Toastmasters members to plan about creating public speaking workshops for professionals.

This week, I have launched the free digital marketing support for small entrepreneurs in Negros Occidental through the site.  I wish to help small entrepreneurs and promote the component cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental. Last year, when we were developing the site and linking all LGU sites, I noticed that not even half of the 19 municipalities and 12 cities have their own websites, and only a few have fully interactive functionalities aside from static data.

Our goal is to help assist in digitalizing simple processes like promotions from traditional flyers and physical marketing to virtual materials and digital marketing. Therefore, I humbly offer individual pages for free to small MSMES all around Bacolod and Negros Occidental and all LGUs for their temporary tourism sites. We will also assist in design and creating content. This is our little gift to Negros Occidental and fellow Negrenses. A team of young digital entrepreneurs in Bacolod can also provide you with free advice on how to promote your places and sell your products online taking advantage of eCommerce technologies.

To pave the way for many more innovation, I am sharing some of my fearless forecasts in the field of innovation in 2020 in this week’s piece.

First: More countryside advocates will demand for development anchored on inclusive and sustainable growth and will no longer accept geographical challenges as a major stumbling block. Development to be sustainable must be inclusive.

Second: The more meaningful and relevant development ideas will come from the countryside. Technocrats of Metro Manila and other metropolitan cities need to listen more. The lack of a more engaged process of listening could be one of the major stumbling blocks for the frustrating disconnections I have perceived between technology advocates and end-users, or stakeholders, as a more profound term.

Third: Skills-based approach will be more pervasive in the formal education sector. Academicians have no choice but to adapt to Industry 4.0 talent requirements to avoid the eventuality of becoming diploma mills while their graduates seek other forms of practical industry training after receiving their diplomas.

Fourth: Other traditional sectors will start to be enlightened about how technology can be made cost-effective, seamless and ubiquitous but applied extensively for their own requirements. They will pierce the veil of mystery of the so-called digital divide. And unmask those who continuously create the divide for their own interest and profits.

Fifth: Design thinking will find its practical use in many milieus of society as a way to fuse disruptive technologies with community aspirations to create more meaningful solutions.

My earnest and fervent prayer for 2020 is to see more stakeholders start to realize the need to change. I hope I will start to make sense to as many key decision-makers as possible because I can support the ideas and examples with data and initiatives – if one has time to listen.

Our greatest enemy in 2020 is obsolescence. Sadly, this animal is well dressed up so colorfully, it’s like a silent virus. Politics has permeated every corner of society, at the risk of killing innovation before it can even prove its value. The lines have been cleverly blurred in the past decade. But this decade is a decade of purging. Innovation will find a true ally in inclusion. New technologies will force the issue of change and adaptation.

READ original column HERE.

Paradigm Shifts in 2020

Published in SunStar Bacolod on January 7, 2020

A decade of great progress starts with one day. Just like a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. The world welcomes the new decade in high spirits and with high hopes that this year will be more favorable than the previous one. 2019 seems to be a long time ago with all these feeling of optimism just waiting to escape – the kind that believes things need to change. The first days of the year were spent in reflection – about what needs to change.

By now I have listed a couple of new year’s resolution. On top of my list is my drive to seriously work on things that will reduce my carbon and waste footprint on this planet. Everyone deserves to breath the same fresh air I do and to occupy the safe healthy environment that I do. My passion for environmental protection will continue more aggressively this year as I wish to combine information and communications technology (ICT) with environmental projects. Consistently, I will be spending my weekends organizing garage sales.

My second resolution is to go back to active law practice. My years in politics have affected my legal profession. A few days ago. I launched my Philippine Legal Research site – – a repository of all legal researches of my law students and my legal articles.

My third resolution is to spend more time with old friends, to reconnect with my past and arrange my schedules and activities in a way that I get to have time with them.  My fourth resolution is to actively collate, process and share data to be shared for positive purposes – education, information, convenience, guidance, among other things.

Reflecting on all the things I have learned in the past decade, which is probably the most exciting, having travelled every year to a foreign country and attending various fellowships, I came up with Top 10 Paradigm Shifts for the Philippines (because it is happening elsewhere). Some truths are painful. But don’t hate me, I am just pointing out the direction away from obsolescence. The paradigm shifts that are hard to happen or come by almost anywhere you go because of hardened traditions and close-mindedness. But they are all worth exploring. I think only when these new paradigms happen – can we see big data used for good. Here are “shifts” I wish to see in this decade:

1) For business chambers and sectors to be led by entrepreneurs rather than corporate employees,  and landlords;

2) For local government to be led by licensed professionals who are known in their fields of experience and exposure instead of professional politicians;

3) For enterprise organizations to be led by social enterprise and impact development professionals instead of individual business owners;

4) For universities to be led by instruction experts with years of industrial exposure instead of purely academicians;

5) For startup development and innovation initiatives to be led innovation and business development professionals with extensive entrepreneurship experience instead of government theorists;

6) For environmental campaigns to be led by professionals knowledgeable in harnessing technology and creating green solutions aside from and together with environmental activists;

7) For arts and culture programs to be led by artistic catalysts with understanding on building creative spaces and putting together a culture of creativity and not just individual artists;

8) For media to be led by professionals with understanding of big data, data analytics, how public react to data and how data can mold public opinion for positive development instead of media trying to simply earn a living;

9) For women’s advocacies to be led by women (or men) aware and learned about mechanisms to make women more productive and contributory to the growth of their household and economy as respected members of society, and not just gender advocates shouting for equality; and

10) For youth development programs to be led by independent-minded, resourceful, creative and knowledgeable members of the new generation rather than just youth leaders of politicians.

READ original column in SunStar Here.

My Hero is You: How Kids Can Fight COVID-19

My Hero is You – Storybook for Children on COVID-19

Published Date: 31 March 2020

“My Hero is You” is a book written for children around the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My Hero is You” should be read by a parent, caregiver or teacher alongside a child or a small group of children. It is not encouraged for children to read this book independently without the support of a parent, caregiver or teacher. The supplementary guide called “Actions for Heroes” (to be published later) offers support for addressing topics related to COVID-19, helping children manage feelings and emotions, as well as supplementary activities for children to do based on the book.

Sara’s mum is her hero because she is the best mum and the best scientist in the world. But even Sara’s mum cannot find a cure for the coronavirus.

This book was a project developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG). The project was supported by global, regional and country based experts from Member Agencies of the IASC MHPSS RG, in addition to parents, caregivers, teachers and children in 104 countries. A global survey was distributed in Arabic, English, Italian, French and Spanish to assess children’s mental health and psychosocial needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. A framework of topics to be addressed through the story was developed using the survey results. The book was shared through storytelling to children in several countries affected by COVID-19. Feedback from children, parents and caregivers was then used to review and update the story.

Over 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world took the time to share with us how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. A big thank you to these children, their parents, caregivers and teachers for completing our surveys and influencing this story. This is a story developed for and by children around the world.

As the sun rose, they landed in a lovely desert by pyramids, where a small group of children were playing. The children cried out in joy and waved at Sara and her Ario.

This IASC MHPSS RG acknowledge Helen Patuck for writing the story script and illustrating this book. Source: Inter-Agency Standing Committee

Leila decided to travel with Ario and her new friends. Sara was glad Leila joined them because she knew that sometimes we need to support each other. They flew quietly, without words, but Leila knew her new friends cared a lot about her.


Note: I found this piece in my computer files today. It looked like an unfinished speech in 2019. Let me share it anyway to preserve it.

As I enter one of the most crucial challenges in my life to day – running for the mayor of the City of Bacolod – I face another important reckoning – an opportunity to assess the person you see in the mirror.

I ask myself the most important question today – what is my brand of leadership as the highest leader of a city? What does it mean when we say Jocelle Batapa Sigue leadership? I reflect upon my life as a leader since I was 6, and president of my first grader class until today as I review my curriculum vitae. I see many accomplishments and milestones – but then I still have to go back to the question – so what is it a Jocelle Batapa Sigue brand of leadership?

For me, leadership is not a position. It is a responsibility. It is beyond the title, it is what you are set to accomplish using the title you hold. To easily remember the four basic tenets I follow – I will use my tagline – a branding I have used since my second term as councilor sometime in 2007, or around ten years already – JOBS. Jobs, because I was serious in dedicating myself to the cause of creating information and communications technology (ICT) jobs since my first term began in 2004. That is a long story which is already amply covered by many materials available in the Internet. Creating opportunities for Bacolod in the ICT industry has become not only a committee responsibility since I took on the task s Sanggunian Panlugsod chair of communications and energy in 2004 – but has become an advocacy, a life-long passion until today.

Now JOBS is going beyond just its literal meaning and the fact that it is my initials JO from my first name and B for Batapa and S for Sigue.

J is for job generation and investment promotions. The end goal of a series of objectives that need to be accomplished first, such as, but not limited to:

  • Talent Development Roadmap for Bacolod which entails a comprehensive summary and analysis of our available skills in the city across all industries (not just ICT) focused on skilling, upskilling and re-skilling the talent supply, a clear and time-bound set of strategies to develop digital skills across all sectors to prepare the talent pool for the Future of Work, a continuous series of T3s (train the trainers/train the teachers) programs to ensure quality and scale of educational and training programs.
  • Business Environment, Infrastructure, Cost and Ease of Doing Business which are all indicators for the attractiveness of location to the influx of digital jobs or ICT-enabled employment opportunities and entrepreneurial ventures or startups. A mandatory compliance to the provisions of the new Ease of Doing Business law is going to be the first order of the day. There is a need to actively involve the business and private sector in addressing all current bottlenecks like energy supply, peace and order, traffic management, solid waste management and other environmental issues. A strong collaboration between the city and the business sector will serve as a mechanism to identify more relevant strategies along the way and allow for future and long-term planning.
  • Business and Investment Promotions and the need to institutionalize programs to constantly develop investment campaigns for Bacolod across identified potential industries is also in the forefront of my plans.

O is for Open Governance. A policy direction that is very close to my heart, as a systems thinker, I see the importance of bringing government closer to the people – as way of not only securing valuable feedback but a way to constantly gather ideas and solutions.

Under the concept of an OPEN Bacolod – I have four basic items that spells OPEN.

O for online, real-time easy access of every citizen to facts, data and figures pertaining to the operations, finances and administration of the city. These will entail for all data to be digitized and made available to the public. The use of online procurement system, business permit registration and registration and licensing for other departments and other transactions shall pass from experimental to full operation stage in the soonest possible time.

P is performance scorecards and ratings. In order to ensure and maintain the quality of government services, feedback mechanisms that comes with ratings for each department of the city shall be in place. Top performing agencies shall be duly commended while those with concerns will have to be revisited and improved for efficiency. We shall bring back the trust and confidence of the public for all department of the city and strive to uplift the moral of public employees through incentive program and continuous trainings.

E is for emergency and other support services.  The website of Bacolod shall not be static but interactive and hotlines for citizen’s concerns shall be in place. The website shall be fully accessible especially through mobile. The city shall ensure availability of Internet/wi-fi hotspots in major public areas for use during emergency. Closed circuit TV systems, and GPS and other technologies shall be used to ensure 24/7 safety in the city. A well-established central command shall be in place with the mayor having 24/7 direct access and full view of all cameras in major public places. Sensors and other technologies shall also be put in place to detect flood water rise and other calamities.

N is for new ideas and solutions. Open governance extends to policy innovation – creating a way to effectively crowd source new ideas and solutions from concerned groups. The city will support the development of startups engaged in developing and deploying technologies which may prove useful for Bacolod to become a smart city – with focus on major points such as transportation, healthcare, business, public services, education, and tourism.

B is for Barangay Development and Empowerment. Under my leadership, I shall empower the barangays to really create significant impact on their constituency through effective power sharing and sharing of resources. The barangays shall be in the frontline of effectively addressing and managing solid waste, all forms of pollution, transportation matters and peace and order within their area of jurisdiction with the full support of the city in terms of resources and technical guidance. Continuous training and development of barangay officials including Sanggunian Kabataan officials shall be a priority of the city. Productive dialogue and consultations between the mayor’s office and the barangays shall take place regularly to ensure collaboration. 

S is for Sectoral Participation and Consensus Building. Most important ingredient of my leadership is consensus building – a brand of governance that is participatory and consultative. To address concerns and issues in a relevant and responsive way by engaging and empowering the concerned sectors to develop solutions for themselves. The city shall empower each major sector to have access to information and opportunities to raise their concerns to the city – these include informal sector workers such as farmers, fisherfolks, drivers, construction workers, vendors, professionals, teachers, senior citizens, women and children’s groups, PWDs, LGBTs, minorities and many more.

By creating a participatory and consultative environment, I will ensure that under my leadership – respect for the independence of the Sangguniang Panlungsod is observed. As a former councilor for nine years, I have only my deepest respect for the Sanggunian as an institution and a co-equal body to the executive. Regardless of political affiliations, my leadership will work closely and harmoniously with all elected councilors especially on their concerns as committee chairs. I will objectively collaborate with the Sanggunian in achieving proper implementation of all existing ordinances that are aligned with the urgent needs of the people and direction of my leadership.

Under this premise, the major documents that I wish to see being prepared are the following:

  1. Executive – Legislative Agenda (ELA)
  2. Solid waste management program
  3. Comprehensive land use plan

Response to Concerns Raised by the Business Chambers

Last 2019, officials of the Business Chambers in Bacolod City send me a set of questions purposely to give them and overview of my position about varipus concerns in this city. They said there will be an opportunity to meet the chambers but I submitted a formal written response even before the meeting. Sadly, no meeting materialized.

I am sharing the full text of what I submitted via email to Mr. Frank Carbon, predident of MBCCI for the public to know.

Response to Concerns Raised by the Business Chambers

By Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue

Preliminary Statement:

A true leader is a builder and molder of consensus. I am fully aware that I do not know everything and that I would need to act based on empirical data acquired through extensive research. Policy and action implementation must stem from well-studied strategies ensuing from a series of discussion, the speed of which is based on the urgency of matters. I shall take into account all angles and advise of experts in every field, and the side of all affected stakeholders, both present and future.

I will be grateful to hear from the Chambers your suggestions and insights about these concerns. I am very much willing to listen and I always want a participatory and inclusive leadership.

There are issues below where I need to gather facts based on documents and hence, I reserve my executive direction on such matters. 

Please note that although these observations are indicative of my values as a leaders, I would like to extensively and be able carefully weigh all the options, studying all angles, in a time frame of expediency. 


I – Water / BACIWA Development Plan (Identifying the problem/s and solutions) 

  • Studies presented even during my time as councilor show that Bacolod will run into a water supply problem for various reasons but mostly because of degradation of water sources. I am the author of the Watershed Protection and Water Conservation Ordinance of Bacolod – and I will ensure that its provisions will be operationalized to ensure supply of water but at the same time conservation of water sources.
  • I have always envisioned a collaboration between Bacolod, Silay, Talisay and Murcia with regards to watershed issues.
  • In the case of BACIWA, there is a need to review any water purchase agreement to ensure that consumers are protected but at the same time BACIWA is upgraded to continuously stay within a serviceable level.

 II – Power Security Plan (CENECO’s P 1.5B CAPEX Requirements)

  • Power supply and rates are very sensitive matters especially in terms of building a conducive investment climate. This is part of any investment scorecard especially in ICT-enabled business. We need to look at power supply of CENECO in a more holistic manner, balancing consumers welfare and the cooperative’s efficiency. I need to look into the details and repercussion of these plan. I will be grateful to the Chambers for your suggestions and insights about these concerns.

III – Bacolod City College (CHED – COPC Compliance)

  • When I ended my term as councilor – I submitted a proposal which I have not finished to completion – the conversion of Bacolod City College as a Polytechnic College or University – offering both traditional degrees and short term certification courses which is now much needed to develop skills. Just like the Negros Occidental Language and ICT Center of the Province. I also have an approved ordinance creating digital skills courses – software, animation, techpreneurship and other trainings. My stand is to SAVE Bacolod City College, make it compliant with national standards, do everything to make it relevant to job generation program of Bacolod. I want education to be affordable. I know how it is so hard to find means to pay for quality education. I have struggled during my early years as a working student to augment my parents’ finances for my schooling. I believe in the true value of education – I am not going to be where I am today without my education. So I will do everything to improve the quality of BCC.
  • Just an update, the city is now also trying to comply with these standards. I will continue all their good initiatives.

IV – Public Markets (Rehabilitation Program)

–         Source of Funds (The budget of Bacolod which a team of big data analysts in Manila are now working show how hundreds of millions are wasted in unexplained, unnecessary, useless projects) There is no question that Bacolod can afford the rehabilitation of markets)

– My direction is to rehabilitate the major markets I several phases, professionalize personnel to manage the market as a social enterprise for the city, to make it earn as well as to ensure the economic sustainability of all the tenants of good standing.

 V – Road Congestion – immediate inventory of all public roads and creation of holistic strategies to ensure that all public roads are opened to pedestrians, all vendors are accredited and required to follow rules but at the same their economic sustainability will be taken into consideration. The city will create strategies to ensure that well-meaning and law -abiding vendors are given continued opportunity without violating city ordinances.

–         Underutilization of Road Networks – will target significant percent utilization within my term

–         Illegal Structures – will target significant percent of removal of all illegal structures within my term

 VI – Sidewalk and Street Vendors

–         Night Market – will conduct inventory and target significant percentage of compliance with all city ordinances 

–         Relocation Site / Building – I plan to create a very active taskforce to help ensure lawful and humane housing in the city. Support dialogues between landowners and squatters to achieve win-win solutions

–         Source of Funds – the city can afford initial support for homeowners including provision of livelihood opportunities if funds are well-managed

 VII – Job Order Employees / Ghost Employees (City Hall/Barangay)

–         One table / four employees doing nothing – this will definitely not happen under my term. As a councilor, I am famous for “slave driving all my staff to work even beyond office hours, including weekends”. Hiring will also be based on need and merits. Over-hiring is one culprit for mismanaged funds and lack of funds for supposedly more important concerns of the city. I will bring back the moral of public employees. I will discipline public employees and they will all undergo DILG mandated seminars of code of ethics of public employees. Rating systems and customer feedback will be used for departments.

  VIII – City Hospital – My key project is a city hospital packaged with comprehensive health cards for indigent residents and health and wellness programs.

–         Source of funds – the province has 11 district hospitals but has the same funds as the city. Therefore it goes without saying that the city can afford to run one hospital if funds are well managed.

 IX – CLUP / Urban Plan – it is time to create a NEW Bacolod – zoning must be updated. I run into a big problem when I was helping the province accredit the CyberCenter with PEZA because the zoning of the area is “institutional” and PEZA require a  zoning of commercial. This was the same with the place where SEDA is now standing – it was classified partially as “institutional/agricultural”. It took a while for me to convince the SP that we amend the zoning ordinance for the specific section of CyberCentre and SEDA. This cannot continue. We need to create order in our zonings. And we need to involve all sector in finalizing the new CLUP as soon as possible.

I plan to create a special composite committee on urban planning composed of public and private sector to finalize a comprehensive urban planning of Bacolod taking into consideration the neighboring cities that form part of the Metro Bacolod.

Just an update. I heard that the city has finished its CLUP. We will need to see it.

X – Sanitary Landfill – I have continuously voiced out frustration against out DUMPSITE. The people of Bacolod is being fooled to believe that it is a sanitary landfill compliant with RA 9003. The city spends almost 400M for solid waste management or 25 percent of the budget of the city – but what is the result. I cannot understand how Bacolodnons continue to believe in all these lies???? RA 9003 has so many components to achieve zero-waste – for many years I have been harping on all these components. In due time, I shall explain the steps to achieve zero waste under RA 9003.

 XI – Banago Port Delineation – for the record during my last term as councilor, I submitted a position paper as chair of trade and commerce – taking the stand of endorsing the delineation to allow Banago port’s improvement using PPA funds. BUT because of the objection of BREDCO which is on record – I was the lone voice in the Sanggunian. I always stand against MONOPOLY that hurts people’s welfare. This may be against business viability – but I will stand for what is good for people. Businessmen in Bacolod should know that to make profit is not the only thing in this world. We need to help our community.

 XII – Clean Water Act / Septage Compliance – we will inventory all non-compliance and ensure compliance. Non-compliance or violation of health and environmental laws – compliance is a must, non-negotiable for me.

I am also attaching my curriculum vitae and initial priorities for your perusal.

My sites are and


Yours in Service

Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue


By Jocelle Batapa-Sigue

Submitted for the Design Thinking For Innovation Course

University of Virginia

Darden School of Business

July 8, 2019

  • CHALLENGE:  Information and communications technology (ICT) have transformed economies all over the world. As early as the seventies, the Philippines business ecosystems road the wave of opportunities that came with the ICT. Government pave the way for stronger telecommunications infrastructure by dismantling the long – standing monopoly and opened the telecommunications industry to other players. ICT allowed businesses to transcend locational challenges such as need for innovation, high cost of labor and utilities, lack of quality or available workforce, political and social risks and many other challenges.  ICT allowed companies to avail of services and products outside of its business structure, commonly known as outsourcing, and today most comprehensively referred to as global services.

As the Philippines moved further in creating jobs and opportunities in the ICT industry, the pattern became apparent – that these investments were only concentrated in the metropolis, particularly in Metro Manila, and not in the outlying provinces of the country.  

The challenge for me along with all the stakeholders in different cities is to improve the socio-economic conditions of the countryside where unemployment rate is very high, taking advantage of the growing number of jobs in the ICT industry.  These issues have not been effectively addressed since the Philippines undertook an aggressive campaign to attract foreign investors in the ICT industry since 2004, yet stakeholders in the countryside, mainly cities outside of Metro Manila began to develop strategies to attract foreign investments.

ICT investment promotions had been concentrated in metropolitan cities, and leaving the countryside to piece-meal strategies that do not consistently give them sustainable programs to conduct foreign trade mission and investment promotions. Selected cities, from time to time, are invited to join trade mission but on a case-to-case basis. No concerted efforts have been devoted to developing countryside investment packages design to attract foreign investors to locate outside of Metropolitan cities.

Seventy percent of the Filipino populace reside outside of Metro Manila hence the need to address the challenge of for attracting jobs and investments in the countryside.

  • SELECTION: To address the challenge of creating jobs and investments in the countryside, I had to gather all the stakeholders to make it happen. I used visualization as tool to create a platform for the vision to be achieved.

There has to be a set of key drivers to push the vision to reality and stakeholders must visualize their respective roles in the whole picture.

As a first step, various stakeholders were gathered based on their respective mandates to understand the general ICT roadmap of the Philippines which details the vision and initiatives needed in order to achieve these goals.

I started with one city, my own city – Bacolod, located in the Province of Negros Occidental, Western Visayas Region. Upon my initiative as local leader, stakeholders were able to come together in several sessions creating and sharing ideas to address the needs in order to scale up Bacolod as an investment hub. 

Eventually, the stakeholders designed the ICT Council as a platform to be a 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 making Bacolod City and Negros Occidental as viable locations for ICT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services. It 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.

It aims to establish and institutionalize a strong network and various linkages with all academic, formal and non-formal, technical and vocational training institutions in Bacolod and Negros Occidental in order to formulate, consolidate and implements strategies and programs that will address the challenges and gaps identified in the ICT sector.

The ICT Council also regularly helps to 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.

As a result, Bacolod was named as one of the Centers of Excellence in ICT in the country, and more than 30,000 new jobs were created for Bacolod and Negros Occidental.  Today, there is an estimated 30,000 direct IT-BPM jobs in Bacolod. The ICT Council of Bacolod today has become a role model for other cities, and 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 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 and has embraced the principle of collaboration among the local government and national government agencies with the academe and industry.

The ICT Council model is now recognized in various fora as an organizational model that brings together movers and key decision makers from the public or government sector (local or national line agencies), academe and human resource, and private or business and industry sector. The idea is to provide a platform to set directions to position their respective communities as strategic locations for ICT-enabled jobs and investments

  • APPLICATION: To create the ICT council, stakeholders were gathered to create a common vision, identify challenges and weaknesses, discover and understand weaknesses and potentials and eventually develop strategies to answer the weaknesses.

First, the stakeholders are made to understand their roles and mandates as individuals belonging to various institutions, understanding the core values of their organizations as well as their limitations. Then the stakeholders are requested to identify and extract their common vision for their cities through interaction. 

The three major stakeholders were identified as government, academe and private sector, each playing a specific role to complement the vision. The role of the government was to catalyze the stakeholders and bring them together, provide for enabling policies and resources and set the direction. The role of the academe is to ensure quantity, quality and scalability of talent supply. The role of the private sector is to provide capital, economic guidance and impetus to the efforts of the two other sectors by creating business models, jobs and opportunities aligned with the ICT sector.

Using the diagrams, the stakeholders identified six key thrusts to focus on based on the general roadmap.

  • INSIGHT: The stakeholders, by visualizing their goal through the use of interaction, discussion, posting in the board colored notes in the board for everyone to see how all the pieces fall into place, have collated the bigger picture. Using diagrams and matrix, with the aid colored sticky notes, the stakeholders grouped together according to their sector and discussed the strategies. The groups discussed the baseline data – “what is” what is the current situation, the existing policies and resources, in order to develop relevant and responsive strategies. They eventually tackled “what if” to develop the vision and direction, such as number of jobs attainable. Then moved to programs that are new and innovative, in response to the question “what wows”. After a series of meetings, the groups developed their vision, goals, objectives and strategies based on major areas such as talent development, business environment, cost and infrastructure and digital innovation.

Eventually, the stakeholders realized that the ICT council model can serve as a platform for collaboration to achieve a common goal, a venue to share best practices for ideation and replication, a driver for innovation, a medium for collective expression to achieve results and a tool to empower stakeholders

Stakeholders saw the need to make the ICT council a platform for collaboration to achieve a common goal among government, education, industry, private and business sector. They identified the need to be open, friendly, innovative, aggressive, dynamic, risk-taking in their approaches to achieve the vision. For example, the key decision makers arrived at a conclusion that there needs to be a roadmap every 3 to 6 years for the ICT Council to push and manage. 

Academe, human resource and talent development stakeholders were inspired to be more innovative, inclusive and collaborative in their educational approaches to facilitate industry – academe collaboration. Local government became more supportive, innovative, catalyst, pro-active, goal-oriented, and people-centric. The national government agencies which had presence in the city embraced their role as target-setting, accessible, guiding and supportive along with the local media, to drive awareness.

As a tool to empower stakeholders, the ICT Council developed programs to empower and train ICT council members and equip different sectors needing digital skills to qualify for ICT jobs. The ICT Council helped the city government harness public resources for greater use such as in job generation, investment promotions and conduct orientation of different stakeholders to understand their roles

The stakeholders were able to identify the basic criteria for a city to generate ICT jobs and opportunities. These are talent (quantity, quality, scalability), business environment and risk management (natural, political, social risks), infrastructure and telecommunications, cost of doing business to include tax incentives, non-fiscal incentives that translate to savings on business cost and digital innovation.

The ICT Council has become a venue to share best practices for ideation and replication especially for talent development strategies, startup incubators and shared service facilities, resource mobilization, benchmarking activities and learning conferences.

As a driver for innovation, the ICT Council identified the need to help public sector implement eGovernance, new technologies and new skills (ai, data analytics, IOT, cybersecurity), hybrid or shared service facilities, and new business models (homegrown companies or startups, shared service facilities, incubators).

As medium for collective expression to achieve results, the ICT Council came up with unified position on need to grant tax incentives, improve connectivity, and grant more scholarships for ICT. The ICT Council leveraged on collaboration to access more support, equipment and facilities. It also helped and assisted investors and entrepreneurs by championing their concerns and set avenues to air out collective stand on various issues such as peace and order situation, lack of trainings and many others.

  • APPROACH: For other sessions in developing the ICT Council model for other cities, new insights on new technologies can be shared through effective storytelling as a tool in design thinking to ensure more stakeholders’ engagement and involvement. Stories of successes of other ICT councils can inspire stakeholders of other cities to develop their own. Another way to scale up participation and reduce the period of time to come up with strategies is learning launch, to provide a platform for ICT councils to experiment new ideas such creating incubators for startups.

In future sessions, stakeholders need more input to develop strategies and hence it is important that the presence of other stakeholders who hold the necessary data for validation must be obtained.   

Joint Statement of All Barter Communities


Joint Statement of All Barter Communities

July 14, 2020

It is with painful sadness and frustration that we read the news today about the plan of of Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “hunt” due to violation of laws the over 1 Million Filipinos in the Philippines and around the world who are helping one another through bartering online.

THERE IS NO CLEAR AND SPECIFIC LEGAL BASIS FOR ONLINE BARTER PLATFORMS TO BE DECLARED AS UNLAWFUL OR ILLEGAL. Barter is a recognized contract under the Civil Code of the Philippines which took effect in 1950. Bartering is an ancient practice that predates money more than 8000 years ago and in fact necessitated the invention of money since humans need to exchange goods and services to obtain their needs and survive.

Since Facebook started sometime in 2004, people already started exchanging goods online, and eventually pages for “bartering”, “exchanging”, “trading”, “swapping”, “donating or paying forward” and “buying and selling” things began more than a decade ago on social media.

When the Philippine economy went into a self-imposed paralysis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Filipinos lost their jobs and means for income. With more than half of our labor force belonging to the informal economy and are daily-wage earners, even a work stoppage for a day will badly hurt them as well as their families.

The President called for everyone to observed “bayanihan” and help one another but despite the Bayanihan Law which gave access to government to billions of public funds, many families have become more destitute. The middle class which heavily supports the economy of this country have reached a point where we need to scrape our savings to endure and stay alive in the midst of the lockdown restrictions  – all in order to unite against the fight of COVID 19. Our utility bills, our loans, our rents and all payables running every month – without any income coming in.

These sad realities are no secret to a government who pledge to take care of all Filipinos from the very start of this pandemic.

Despite this bleak scenario, the founders of all the bartering communities in the country composed of professionals in different localities created barter communities on Facebook as online platforms where people can exchange goods which are essential. All founders, administrators and moderators of the group pages are volunteers and not earning any profit for the pages. All members are also not paying anything to post in the barter pages.

Since May 2020, Filipino kindness shone like sunlight throughout the country through the bartering communities. With thousands of community members sharing their extra food and essentials to people who need them most in exchange for things that are even oftentimes old and almost useless. Filipinos extended their talent in cooking for others, fixing things for others, and many other services in exchange for some rice. People gave to those in need and even oftentimes refused to accept what is offered. The inspiring stories for every community are endless, growing in numbers each day. At the end of the day, no cash is allowed in these communities and members are bartering their personal assets. Unlike business entities with gross annual gross receipts subject to taxes, our members are not engaging in any business or activity for profit. The purpose is to help one another obtain essential goods and services and not to evade paying of taxes. When they bought items to exchange, taxes for the items where already paid.

All the bartering communities in the Global Barter Communities (GBC) abide with the highest standards in maintaining our respective the platforms – standards that may not even be followed in the society today.

We are united by a vision – to see a world where kindness is without borders and humanity is defined by the extent with which every race can help one another to survive the global impact of the pandemic and adapt to the “new normal”.  Our mission is to stand in solidarity as different barter communities established by local stakeholders in common mission to promote barter as part of our way of life as Filipinos.

In our handbook, our main objective is to strive to establish and redefine the traditional barter system as a new norm of helping one another and shall not in any way promote commercialism and materialism but positive values such as generosity, determination, honesty, patience, integrity, gender sensitivity, equality and ecological awareness.  We committed to promote these values as the cornerstones of our respective barter communities.

Our collective definition of barter is exchanging goods and services based on the mutual and voluntary decision of two persons. It is not selling, for the goods or services are not exchanged based on cash or price but value. It is not also donating for the good are not given without anything in exchange. The price of the item or service is never equal but the happiness and feeling of satisfaction should be equal. The items are of inconsequential nature or “deminimis” – just like you next door neighbor gives you eggs in exchange for your rice – so both households can have a complete meal.

Today, our barter communities serve as platforms around the world for people to meet and agree to exchange personal goods and services for personal use and consumption. The platforms do not interfere, intervene, force or influence any individual to enter into any barter agreement. Instead our online communities provided hope to many Filipinos to continue fighting poverty.

As virtual barter communities, we do not promote, endorse nor encourage any act that is against laws, morals, public order and public policy and shall immediately cease or refrain from any activity that it may later on become aware to be against laws, morals, public order and public policy. Just to share some of the items posted which we decline:

  1. Illegal, expired, indecent or defective items
  2. Posts which asks for cash or private message as mode of offer
  3. Posts that are for the purpose of selling or promoting products
  4. All live animals such as dogs and cats, birds and fishes, and wild animals
  5. All items subject to extraction or production permits such as gravel, charcoal and honey thereto depending on the ruling of local agencies in the area
  6. All drugs requiring prescription and similar items
  7. All items that require titles or paper before transfer can be made effective except for items of small value or under a mechanism to ensure existence of proper titles
  8. All items that are subject to company direct selling restrictions
  9. N95 or high-grade masks, airsoft, guns, firearms, weapons and indecent pictures that are flagged by FB community standards
  10. Vape and other items with pending prohibitory laws
  11. All posts with indecent pictures and captions
  12. All posts aimed at ridiculing or humiliating any member or individual or a sector
  13. All other posts asking for the above items in exchange for their bartered items
  14. All posts that does not indicate the requirements for a complete caption (description of item, reason of barter, decent and true pictures, must not contain price and must contain a basic or general description of the items they want in exchange)
  15. All other items that may be restricted by law and agencies in the future 

We are jointly appealing to the government of the Republic of the Philippines to help Filipinos cultivate kindness instead of greed, concern for others instead of always just thinking of ourselves and showing the world the true value of bayanihan.

To the DTI, we respectfully ask why your agency will be the one to hunt barter communities for tax laws and not the Bureau of Internal Revenue? We also ask what particular tax provisions are we violating that make online barter illegal and that you make us sound like criminals by saying you will “hunt” or “go after us”? Non-payment of taxes or even non-registration of business are not automatically criminal in nature. Why do we have to be this harsh to millions of Filipinos helping the government in helping other Filipinos in need.

We are appealing to your office to present to us alternative ways and solutions to help our economy, to help our less fortunate Filipinos, to help our millions of displaced workers, to help our MSMEs bounce back and try to find means to feed their workers, to help local stakeholders in ensuring everyone has something to it, to help farmers survive and still be productive, to help workers transition to digital platforms so they can earn, to help Filipino products hit local value chains so they can earn – may we respectfully ask the DTI to focus on these things.

Taxation is not your mandate. Helping Filipinos survive is – as your name implies – TRADE and INDUSTRY. We were counting on the DTI to be in the forefront of pushing the use of digital solutions to increase trade, to promote digital tools to especially to MSMES, and boost digital platforms to promote Filipino brands. But now you say we have to all go back to traditional ways.


Please help us. Thank you for all the amazing and extraordinary things you do to help lift our economy during this pandemic as our highest national trade official in the Philippines, Mister Secretary Ramon Lopez! God bless you!

Abu Dhabi Barter Community
Agusan del Sur Barter Community
Aklan Barter Community
Alfonso Cavite Barter Community
Angeles City Barter Community
Arezzo Place Pasig Barter Community
Australia Barter Community
Bacolod Barter Community
Bago CIty Barter Community/Barter Me, Bago City
Baguio City Barter Community
Bahrain Barter Community
Bahrain Barter Society
Baler Aurora-Makati-Quezon City Barter Community
Barotac Viejo/Banate-Iloilo Barter Society
Barter Community Bataan
Barter and Dive
Batangas Barter Community
Baylo ta – Kalibo Barter Community
BF Homes Barter Community (Paranaque)
BFRV Barter Group
Bicol Barter Community
Binalbagan Barter Community
Biñan Barter Community
Borongan City Barter Community
Bogo City Barter Community
Brgy. Tabunan Barter Community
Bukidnon Barter Community
Bulacan Barter Community
Butuan City Barter Community (BCBC)
CAA Barter Community – Las Pinas
Cabuyao Barter Community
Cainta Barter Community
Calauan Laguna Barter Community
Calbayog Barter Community
Calinog Barter Community
Camalig First Barter Community
Camanava Barter Community
Cambodia Barter Community
Candoni Barter Community
Canlaon Barter Community
Carabalan Barter Community
Carmona Barter Community
Cauayan City Isabela Barter Community
Cauayan Barter Community Negros Occidental
Cavite Barter Community
Cebu City Barter Community
Concepcion Tarlac Barter Community
Davao Barter Community
Dubai Barter Community
Duero Barter Community
Dumaguete Barter Community
EB Magalona Barter Community
Filipino Barter Community in NZ
First Cavite Barter/Trade/Exchange items Community
General Trias Cavite Barter Community
Gibraltar Barter Community
Greenheights Village Barter Community
Himamaylan Barter Community
Hinobaan Barter Community
Ifugao Barter Community
Iloilo Barter Society
Iloilo City Barter Community
Isabelenos Swap/Barter Community
Jamindan Barter Community
Japan Barter Community
Kapalong Barter Community
Kuwait Barter Community
La Carlota Barter Community
La Castellana Barter Society
La Trinidad Barter Community
Laguna Barter Community
Lancaster Barter Community
Landayan Barter Community
Lapu Lapu City Barter Community
Las Piñas Barter Community
Las Piñas City Barter Community
Launion Barter Community
Leon Barter Community
Ligao Barter Community
Lipenos Barter Community
Los Baños Barter Community
Mabinay Barter Community
Majayjay Barter : A Community that Spread Kindness
Makati Barter Community
Malasiqui Barter Community
Malolos Barter Community
Malta Filipino Barter Community
Mandaluyong Barter Community
Manila Barter Community
Mansilingan Barter Community
Maragusan Barter Community
Marikina, Antipolo, & Rizal areas Barter Community
MBA (Manjuyod, Bindoy, Ayungon) Barter Community
Merville Barter Community
Metro Manila Barter Community (MMBC)
Moises Padilla Barter Community
Montalban Barter Community
Montalban Barter Community Official
Moscow Filipino Barter Society
Murcia Barter Community
Nasugbu-Lian Barter Community
Navotas Barter Community
Negros Barter Community
North Caloocan Barter Community
First Ormoc Barter Community
Oton Barter Community
Palo Barter Community
Paranaque Barter Society
Parang Marikina Barter Community
Pateros- Taguig Barter Community
Pontevedra Barter Community
Pulupandan Barter Community
Qatar Barter Community
Qatar Filipino Barter Community
Quezon City Barter Community
Quezon Province Official Barter Community
Rinconada Barter Community
Riyadh Barter Community
Rizal Barter Community
Roxas Barter Community
San Carlos City Barter Community
San Enrique Barter Community (Barteran sa Pueblo de Tinobagan)
San Jose Del Monte – Online Barter Community
San Jose del Monte City Barter Community
San Lorenzo South Sub. Barter
San Pedro Barter Community laguna
SantaBayaBas Barter Community
Silay City Barter Community
Silang Barter Community
Silaynon Barter Community and Abu Dhabi City Barter Community
Sipalay City Barter Community
Sixth District Negros Occidental Barter Community
Sogod Barter Community
Sta Rosa Laguna Barter Community
Sta. Cruz Barter Community (A province of Laguna)
Sum-ag Barter Community
Swap UP! Barter Community
Tacloban Barter Community
Tagum Barter Community (Official)
Tagum Barter Community
Tandag City Barter Community
Talisay Barter Community
Talisay Barter Community
Tampilisan Barter Community
Tayabas Barter community
Toboso Barter Community
Tubungan Barter Community
Tuguegaro Barter Community
Tunasan Barter Community
UPLB Barter Community
Valladolid Barter Community
Vallehermoso Barter Community
Victorias Barter Community
Xevera Bacolor Barter Community
Zambales Barter Community
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