Friday, June 21, 2024

New Cisco PH boss vows to improve local ICT competitiveness

By Tom Noda

Technology bellwether Cisco has formally announced its new country manager for the Philippines, who vowed to work on improving the country’s competitiveness in the information communication technology (ICT) industry.

In a press briefing in Makati City on Tuesday, Feb. 11, Cisco’s PR manager for Southeast Asia Supriya Addanki introduced IT veteran Mario Luis “Louie” Castaneda as the company?s top local executive.

Addanki said Castaneda will be responsible for the sales and marketing activities of Cisco in the country.

News Cisco PH country manager Mario Luis "Louie" Castaneda
News Cisco PH country manager Mario Luis “Louie” Castaneda

Castaneda replaced Stephen ?Tep? Misa, who was named to a regional post as director for Cisco’s Asean partner business group. Misa, a former software executive from Microsoft Philippines, was somewhat a polarizing figure in the local subsidiary when a host of issues and employee departures marred his five-year tenure as country manager.

Castaneda, a seasoned IT professional for the past 25 years, said he envisions the development of next-generation, highly skilled ICT workforce to drive the knowledge and “Internet of Everything” or IoE economy in the country.

Castaneda said he plans to enhance the country’s ICT competitiveness through the Cisco Networking Academy program.

“The technology-enabled transformation in key verticals like education, healthcare, citizen services, utilities, financial services and smart cities makes the Philippines as one of the countries with the greatest potential in Asean, and I look forward to achieving this with our robust ecosystem of partners to further increase the competitiveness of our country,” Castaneda said.

The executive added Cisco seeks to contribute in improving broadband penetration, infrastructure development, including the ICT skills gap in Asia-Pacific (APAC).

Citing a 2013 edition of the UN Broadband Commission’s State of Broadband Report, Castaneda said broadband penetration in the Philippines is only at 2.2 percent for fixed broadband connections and only 3.8 percent for mobile broadband.

“Worldwide, that puts us at 110th and 111th places,” he said. “A similar report by the World Economic Forum on their 2013 Network Readiness Index places us at 86th out of 144 countries worldwide and lists the Philippines at the bottom of APAC countries. In short, there is still big room for improvement.”

Castaneda noted a study by the World Bank which showed that a 10-percent increase in broadband penetration among low and middle-income countries can boost its gross domestic product by up to 1.4 percent.

Addressing the ICT skills gap, Castaneda said the Cisco Networking Academy is working to develop 400,000 IT professionals in the next five years in APAC.

Based on Cisco Networking Academy’s history, since its inception in 1997, it has produced more than 840,000 IT professionals in APAC. As of 2013, it currently has 187,000 students enrolled in 890 academies in 25 APAC countries.

Castaneda said the Philippines is the leading country in the region in terms of skilled IT professionals courtesy of the Cisco Networking Academy.

“Cisco Networking Academy in the Philippines accounts for 284,297 of the 840,000 trained professionals, 70,761 of 187,000 currently-enrolled students, and 154 of the 890 academies in Asia-Pacific,” he said.

“My personal goal is to have at least one globally competitive professional in every Filipino household.”

Castaneda joined Cisco in 2009 as the manager for channel operations. His prior experience includes directorship with the SMB solutions and partners division at Microsoft Philippines and as FSI Manager at Oracle.

Castaneda also did stints with Fujitsu, James Martin & Co., IBM Philippines, Azure Technologies Philippines and Automation Mainstream Inc., where he served as vice-president and general manager. He is a licensed Electronics and Communications Engineer and a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in Licensing for Small and Medium Business.

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