ICT industry in E. Visayas targeting P3.5 B in revenue
PALO, Leyte – Information and Communication Technology industry in Eastern Visayas is targeting a P3.5 billion “direct revenues” in the next five years from its effort to promote the region as a “globally competitive” ICT hub.
The first ICT road map in the region presented to the Regional Development Council, seeks to raise the number of local ICT enterprises 20% annually, from 485 in 2011 to 1,200 in 2016.
The plan is eyeing a 13,000 direct employment in the next five years with 8,000 in non-voice business processing outsourcing (BPO) and 5,000 in voice BPO. Some 32,000 indirect jobs
“The emergence of ICT businesses in the region pushed us to prepare road map to harmonize ICT development efforts of the government, academe, and private sector,” said Department of Science and Technology Regional Director Edgardo Esperancilla, chairperson of the newly-formed regional ICT committee.
The ICT committee has grouped the industry into four development areas – BPO sector, local ICT enterprises, small and medium enterprises in the non-ICT sectors, and electronic government.
Of the P3.5 billion direct revenue, P2.3 will be coming from non-voice BPO and P1.2 billion from voice BPO. In the non-voice, target categories are health care information management, corporate services, creative, IT outsourcing and engineering services.
The region has two existing BPO businesses namely APAC Costumer Services, Inc. and ACUDATA. The two firms situated within the Leyte ICT Park generated more than 2,000 jobs. The government is eyeing new locators with the provision of incentives.
The road map is banking on business-friendly environment of economic zones such as Leyte ICT Park, the newly-declared 22-hectare Uykim eco-zone. Both properties are located in this town.
“Business environment is generally favorable to BPO growth. There are existing ICT organization is the region that serve as conduits with investors working for the development of the sector,” Esperancilla added.
Manpower will not be a problem, according to the plan since the region, in 2011 alone, has produced 15,000 graduates that can be tapped in the BPO operation. In addition, Eastern Visayas has 10,000 graduates of non-degree courses from government-accredited schools.
Despite its strength, Esperancilla admitted that ICT enterprises are still scarce compared to other regions of the country. The 485 operational ICT businesses only account 2.4% of the 19,835 firms nationwide.
The region will work out to have one or two of its localities to be among the Next Wave Cities (NWCs) of the country. NWCs are top emerging ICT-BPO hubs in the Philippines according to infrastructure, business environment, risk management and cost.
“We also want to change the perception of people about BPO as a career so that the environment will be conducive to BPO growth,” he said.
The road map seeks to address challenges such as lack of globally competitive workers, more efforts to convince ICT firms to expand to Region 8, unreliable power supply, and low adoption of automation and e-commerce by small and medium enterprises.
The plan was supported by the Regional Development Council in its meeting Friday. The details contained in roadmaps will be an input in the updating of Regional Development Plan for 2013 to 2016. (Sarwell Q. Meniano)
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