From a high of nine in 2016, the number of Philppine cities included in this year’s list of outsourcing destinations drawn up by consulting firm Tholons has been whittled down to five.
Based on the latest rankings, the only remaining Philippine cities are Manila, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, and Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Those who did not make the cut this year are Iloilo, Baguio, Dumaguete, and Metro Clark.
The cities who managed to remain in the list also went down in their respecting rankings, with Metro Manila getting demoted from 2nd place to 4th spot. Cebu also went down from 8th to 12th , Davao from 69th to 85th, Bacolod from 85th to 97th, and Sta. Rosa from 82nd to 100th.
Lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, founder and current executive director of Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT), said Tholons introduced innovation, startup ecosystem, and digital transformation as new criteria and a key component to define its index for the Top 50 Digital Nations and Top 100 Super Cities.
Batapa-Sigue pointed to the fact that the Philippines came in third to India and China in the Top 50 Digital Nations list even if it only has five “super” cities compared to India which has 14 and China with six.
“Bacolod ICT stakeholders are still thankful but challenged about this development since the decline shows that more efforts need to be done especially in the criteria just introduced,” she in a statement.
“Without synergy, we will lose our momentum. If we refuse to think ‘out-of-the-box’ and adopt an innovative culture, looking outwards and preparing our talent pool for the future of jobs — then we will continue to slide down,” she said.
Batapa-Sigue added, “We have to work together and get rid of ‘kanya-kanya’ attitude. Our rigid educational and political systems often impede fruitful collaboration and defeats the process of innovation.
She, however, said the “inclusion of Bacolod is the current list positively validates local ICT stakeholders’ efforts towards developing an innovation ecosystem conducive to startups and digital disruptions and to push harder in this direction.”
Bacolod entered the list for the first time in 2010 at No. 100. In 2011 and 2012, Bacolod dropped out from the Top 100 list. In 2013 and 2014, the city re-emerged at No. 93 and then took a giant leap in 2015 to No. 86 and moved up one notch higher to No. 85.
In concluding its report, London-based Tholons said that while a number of big multinational firms have made the Philippines a hub for digital process innovation, it warned that the local BPO industry is most susceptible to the digital onslaught and needs to have a sense of urgency to re-invent itself in this age of digital disruption.