Bohol provincial gov?t turns to technology for inclusive growth

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By Edd K. Usman As he leads the province back from the devastating effects of the 2013 earthquake, Bohol governor Edgar Chatto is tapping digital technology to spread the growth to all corners of the province. [caption id="attachment_33226" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Bohol governor Edgar Chatto Bohol governor Edgar Chatto[/caption] With the participation of the private sector, the provincial government has designed what is dubbed “Digital Bohol,” which is targeted for launch in November this year during the OCEAN 2016 Summit to be held on Be Grand Resort in Panglao Island. OCEAN means Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions, a biennial gathering in the Philippines featuring leaders across various sectors. Expected at the event, among others, are Boholanos Mark Damarillo, Apple lead engineer for iDevices; Pepe Torres, AirBnB regional brand marketing manager; and Yobie Benjamin, 2015 Technology Pioneer of World Economic Forum (WEF). Chatto hosted an informal meeting with Manila- based journalists and bloggers and Cebu-based public relations practitioners during the recent 4th Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) international startup conference held at Bellevue Resort in Panglao. Digital Bohol, the official said, is aimed at making “every Boholano part of digital technology revolution, and to make technology available.” Chatto noted, however, that network operators came in late in laying down fiber-optic cables in Bohol as compared to other provinces. Still, he is confident. “We are very bullish on ICT. That is why the engines for growth in Bohol is called by the acronym ?HEAT IT Bohol?,? said Chatto. ?HEAT IT? is the province’s development framework and stands for health, energy, agriculture, tourism, and information technology. From the framework, he said, the provincial government’s engines of growth are eco-cultural tourism, a booming industry; agri-industrial as it covers agri-business, and ICT as the third. [caption id="attachment_33225" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Bohol governor Edgar Chatto (in white polo shirt) meets Manila- and Cebu-based journalists, bloggers, and PR relations practitioners at the Governor's Mansion in Tagbilaran City, briefing them on his administration's ?Digital Bohol? program Bohol governor Edgar Chatto (in white polo shirt) meets Manila- and Cebu-based journalists, bloggers, and PR relations practitioners at the Governor’s Mansion in Tagbilaran City, briefing them on his administration’s ?Digital Bohol? program[/caption] Bohol expects the ICT sector as the one to generate more jobs and produce multiplier effect for jobs, particularly in business process outsourcing (BPO), he said. “If every citizen is educated on technology, even the rural communities can generate jobs. This is the fastest way to inclusive growth,” said Chatto. “We use technology for marketing our products. We use technology for linking into the job market. A trained Boholano don’t have to go out; they can just provide services wherever they are,” he added. Also part of Bohol’s development framework is the construction of a new airport on Panglao Island, which is expected to be completed in a few years. Chatto said while Digital Bohol is private sector-led, Boholanos in the United States, particularly in Silicon Valley, played key role in conceptualizing it. One key component of the initiative, he said, is the establishment of Technology for Education and Development (Tech4ED) centers in the province where residents can learn about internet, technology, among others. ]]>

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