New set of ‘Digital Cities’ from PH countryside bared

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Twenty five cities across the Philippines were picked by the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) as the new batch for Digital Cities 2025.

IBPAP chief executive Rey Untal (inset) announcing the 25 Digital Cities in a virtual press conference

The initiative, which continues the legacy of Next Wave Cities, aims to drive inclusive growth in the countryside by selecting high-potential areas throughout the country and transforming them into bustling IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) hubs within five years.

After months of extensive research and critical deliberations, the three organizations officially launched the 25 locations under Digital Cities 2025 in a virtual press conference. During the event, they also revealed the corresponding mid-term development plans that will make each one a top-of-mind destination for global investments.

The 25 cities under the program were chosen using a scorecard developed by DICT and IBPAP as well as insights provided by LPC that were based on a set of parameters reflecting priority areas for investors and locators: talent availability, infrastructure, cost, and business environment.

  • Balanga City
  • Batangas City
  • Cabanatuan City
  • Dagupan City
  • General Santos City
  • Iligan City
  • Iriga City
  • Laguna Cluster (San Pablo, Calamba, and Los Baños)
  • Laoag City
  • Legazpi City
  • Malolos City
  • Metro Cavite (Bacoor City, Imus, and General Trias)
  • Metro Rizal (Taytay, Cainta, and Antipolo City)
  • Olongapo City
  • Puerto Princesa City
  • Roxas City
  • San Fernando City, La Union
  • San Fernando City, Pampanga
  • San Jose Del Monte City
  • Tacloban City
  • Tagbilaran City
  • Tarlac City
  • Tuguegarao City
  • Urdaneta City
  • Zamboanga City

These hand-picked locations will get the chance to demonstrate their capabilities as viable business centers through Digital Cities 2025. This will hopefully motivate existing players to expand beyond the National Capital Region (NCR), encourage new ones to set up shop in the Philippines, and ultimately, generate more opportunities for Filipinos.

“Digital Cities 2025 aims to build the resiliency of the IT-BPM sector as an engine of growth for the Philippine economy. It also aims to bridge industry progress in the countryside to strengthen local economies. The 25 new locations, alongside the Centers of Excellence and established Next Wave Cities, shall serve as investment destinations for a thriving digital economy,” DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

DICT assistant secretary Emmanuel Caintic said the IT-BPM sector continues to be a priority for the DICT and agency is ready to support and take the lead in making the necessary interventions to ensure the digital cities achieve their potential.

“By working together with other executive agencies, local government units, industry leaders, and academic institutions, we will enable each location to grow into Centers of Excellence that spur the development of other business sectors, de-risk Metro Manila concentration, create jobs, and boost the local economy,” Caintic said.

Some points of action that the initiative will be focusing on are institutional development, talent attraction and development, infrastructure development, and marketing and promotion. This will involve the strengthening of ICT councils, sharing of best practices, launching awareness campaigns, and facilitating infrastructure initiatives.

“The launch of Digital Cities 2025 is a testament to the IT-BPM industry’s resilience and enduring role as a major growth driver of the Philippine economy,” said IBPAP president and CEO Rey Untal. “The countryside remains full of untapped potential and harnessing this can lead to countless more opportunities for continued expansion and sustained growth for the sector.”

Although the Covid-19 pandemic and Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) affected business operations across industries, LPC CEO David Leechiu foresees a surge in IT-BPM demand once the country and the rest of the world settles into the new normal.

“Philippine IT-BPM will be instrumental in the country’s recovery from this health crisis so we need to be ready for the demand to start gaining momentum. This will be critical in how the world views us as a long-term investment versus our ASEAN neighbors,” said Leechiu.

In addition to the program, the digitalcitiesPH portal is also expected to translate potential to progress in the countryside by providing investors and locators with essential information on cities and municipalities all over the Philippines.

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