Developing the ICT industry in Zamboanga City PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 08 June 2013 14:05

From its commitments last year to pave the way a multi-dollar ICT-industry in our city, the Zamboanga ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Council is now establishing strong linkages with local business, media and academe sectors as well with government offices like DOST, DTI, DILG, DepEd, TESDA, and the Zamboanga City Government. It aims to build a well-constructed multi-sector collaborations and partnerships between these organizations.

Led by Zamboanga ICT Council President Louell Saavedra, the group has been consulting and presenting to local community leaders their strategic plans (how to put ICT in place); promoting intra-organizational relations (to get full support); benchmarking activities and the best practices in other cities and regions (to compare where we stand); and revealing with confidence that it can bring economic progress and create jobs (to boost our city economic status).

It is very fortunate this time again (it’s his second time) that Canadian business consultant, Nicholas Luff, is helping and facilitating the multi-sector collaborations so it can understand better the value propositions the ICT industry. Luff is an accredited Partnership Broker and Trainer of the international Partnership Brokers Association. He holds a post-graduate degree in Sustainable Business from the University of Cambridge in UK. Here’s Pep Talk interview with Mr. Luff:

Pep Talk : Can the ICT industry help transform Zamboanga City for the better?

Mr. Luff : Yes. Zamboanga City, I believe, can be a world-class ICT hub too like in Davao, Cagayan de Oro City, Cebu, Bacolod and Iloilo with big calls center, gaming and website development services. When measuring its growth, the Philippine ICT-BPO industry is expected to generate $13B US this year that can easily employ 765,000 people.

Pep Talk: Why would the ICT industry invest in Zamboanga City?

Mr. Luff: If I have one message today, it would be this: there is absolutely no reason in the world, that Zamboanga City should not be a world-class centre for ICT especially the economic prosperity of the BPO (Business Processing Outsourcing).  And I am glad that the Zamboanga-ICT has been getting overwhelming support from the local government unit and different agencies, private sectors, academe, and communication providers.

All the right inputs are here, awaiting a time to incubate and hatch into remarkable success. I've been pleased to see the creation of the Zamboanga ICT Council comprised of a small group of volunteers who represent a variety of different sectors and interests. They've been working tirelessly to build the early stage foundation, and I think they should take credit for some remarkable achievements. DOST (Department of Science and Technology) has provided some funding to get the ball rolling. Other groups in Manila have expressed interest in building relationships and offering small-scale contract opportunities. This is all great news.

Pep Talk: Would call centers or the BPO industry open here?

Mr. Luff: I learned that many Zamboangueños are working in BPO centers in other cities and given the choice, I was told most would come back and work right here. For those who have loved ones living in other regions of Philippines as well as abroad as OFWs, allow me to ask you this: what would you do to keep them here, with their families in Zamboanga? How hard would you be willing to work to encourage them back home? Ask them to work in the ICT industry. Work local – earn dollars.

Pep Talk. Thank you your confidence in our city. In return, what role will the people and different organizations of Zamboanga City play to contribute for the success of the ICT industry?

Mr. Luff: Zamboanga ICT Council could not do it alone. No great idea has ever prospered without the collective drive and will of the many. Let’s ask everyone, are they willing to let the rest of the country enjoy unprecedented levels of ICT growth while Zamboanga City gets next to nothing?

Through key partnerships with local government, business, academe and other community-based organizations, the ICT-BPO can succeed, that I have no doubt. But it will take everybody’s support and encouragement in order to accelerate the development and position Zamboanga in becoming a competitive marketplace for ICT-BPO. They can either provide linkages, funding, manpower, infrastructures, and other important factors.

Pep Talk : What can you comment about our city negative perception of peace and order as well as the current black outs? Are these roadblocks to the development of the ICT industry?

Mr. Luff : As a foreign and a friend of this beautiful city,  I see plenty of other industries here, which appear to grow and prosper, and they have been able to adapt to the realities of peace and order and the power problem. In fact, in my experiences of working in many continents of the world, I honestly have never met more innovative, adaptive, confident and creative people like the people of the Zamboanga ICT Council.  I love Zamboanga City.

Zamboanga ICT Council is currently gathering all pertinent information and need full support from different private and government sectors. Pep Talk will update DZT readers now and then the progress of their work. Visit also their Facebook account : Zamboanga ICT Council.

By Dante Corteza