Stronger linkages to sustain growth in NegOcc: ICT exec

BACOLOD City – An industry leader pushed for stronger collaboration between the government and the academe to sustain the growth of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, as destinations of choice for information and communications technology (ICT)-enabled opportunities.

John Dave Dueñas, president of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT), said on Jan 3, 2019 that they aim to strengthen their linkages with other industry stakeholders this year.

Dueñas, who works as chief executive officer of HYBrain Development Corp., said the province’s economic and political capital, Bacolod City, aspires to be one of the country’s creative hubs with a growing number of creative workers doing freelance or studio projects in animation, game development, and software development.

“We also have a deep pool of talents for higher value jobs, such as creative services, financial services management, and also in healthcare information management (HIM) because we have so many graduates in health care courses and creative services,” he said.

BNEFIT will focus more on projects that will prepare the current labor market to be more adaptive to the new trends in technology, he added.

In 2018, the ICT industry in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City marked a success.

Bacolod, from its previous 12th place slide in 2017, made a big jump on Tholons Services Globalization Index (TSGI) after placing 89th in the world’s top 100 cities for global services in 2018.

It is eight notches higher from its 97th place ranking in 2017, Tholons’ research report and ranking of the Top 50 Digital Nations and Top 100 Super Cities for 2018 showed.

According to BNEFIT, the business environment in Bacolod is attractive to potential investors and ICT organization locators, which can be attributed to the business-friendliness of the local government unit (LGU), government transparency, incentives for new locators, strong infrastructure for ICT-related companies, and availability of skills and talent in the locality.

The cost of doing business is also lower in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City compared to other locations.

“Quality of life is better, electricity is cheaper than elsewhere, there is live-work-play balance, peace and order is way better, crime rates are low, with high literacy rate, and better English speakers of the manpower are also prevalent,” Dueñas said.

He expressed optimism that the industry would be able to grow tremendously, mainly because of the effective cooperation of the ICT private companies, academe, and LGUs.

“The effort is not single-handed but collaborative in nature and we owe it to the community for creating a positive atmosphere for the investors and locators,” Dueñas added. (PNA)