Presidential candidate Grace Poe wants to establish Dumaguete City as a hub for information and communications technology (ICT)-based industries to create more opportunities for graduates in the renowned university town.
Poe, who was in Dumaguete on Friday, said the creation of the Negros Island Region presents a good opportunity for the city to strengthen its position as the regional center for excellence in innovation and education.
The new region, consisting of the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, was created via Executive Order No. 183 signed by President Benigno Aquino III in May last year.
“We want to elevate the city’s character as a university town by providing reliable Internet services connected to the proposed National Broadband Network, and giving the academe improved capacity and expanded ability to conduct researches and deliver educational services,” Poe said.
The senator is proposing the establishment of the Negros Cyber Center, where all investments in the business process outsourcing/knowledge process outsourcing (BPO/KPO) sector can be integrated into a common area.
Benchmarking on the incentives and enabling environment in Bacolod City, a leading BPO/KPO center in the Visayas, the Dumaguete-based cyber center can spread employment opportunities throughout the Negros Island Region.
“As part of our proposed national innovation system, we will promote the partnership of the academe and the ICT industry in the city to bridge professionals from the universities to internships or jobs in the ICT industry,” Poe said.
She said the local government can work closely with the ICT Association of Dumaguete and Negros Oriental in developing the ICT workforce of the city and providing free BPO training programs alongside university placement systems to facilitate an internship-to-employment system for the potential workforce.
When she proclaimed her presidential bid in September, Poe identified faster and cheaper Internet connection among her 20-point agenda.
“Ang Pilipinas ay Call Center Capital of the World samantalang tayo ang isa sa may pinakamabagal at mahal na Internet sa mundo,” Poe said. “Maraming trabaho ang malilikha kung ang imprastraktura, lalung-lalo na ang ating connectivity, ay magiging mas maayos.”
According to a 2015 report of Internet metrics provider Ookla, the Philippines, which has 44.2 million active Internet users, ranked 21st out of 22 countries in Asia with the slowest Internet download speed.
If she wins, Poe said she will create a Department of Information and Communications Technology to ensure reliable internet service and use ICT to propel different industries.
“Kasama ‘yan sa paglago ng ating ekonomiya na mabawasan hindi lamang ang trapik sa kalsada kundi ang trapik din sa impormasyon dahil mabilis dapat ang pagdaloy nito,” Poe said.