Bicol ICT preps Naga to host national confab
By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay NAGA CITY --- Banking on this city’s declaration as one of the “Next wave cities” by no less than the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) and Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) for two successive years, ICT Bicol Council President Efren Daniel De Leon is confident that he had a strong chance of bringing the National ICT Congress here in 2018. De Leon, in a meeting with the digital marketers, game and software developers, freelancers, bloggers, government and private sector representatives, academe, IT enthusiasts and the industry’s key players Monday at the Avenue Plaza Hotel here, said that he will bid in Cagayan De Oro this year for Naga City to host the prestigious IT event next year. Cagayan De Oro is this year’s venue of the 9th NICP summit. “Information and Communications Technology or ICT is currently one of the leading sources of employment and revenue. Our target this year is to surpass the OFW remittance which is now pegged at $25B. ICT ranked second with $24.7B and our target is to hit the $25-26B mark this year to encourage more and more Filipinos to stay and invest in the Philippines rather than going out and making other countries rich,” De Leon said. De Leon, who is also the Vice President of the National Confederation of ICT Councils of the Philippines (NICP) lamented the fact that while foreign countries got the best Filipino IT experts in their lawns, the Philippines remained at the backseat -- nameless and unrecognized as the source of these pool of talents. “It’s high time that we summon them back to our home court by creating opportunities for them. Let us justify the claim that we are one of the best IT hubs in the globe where people are tech-savvy, where the economy is vibrant and where the digital divide ceased to exist,” De Leon added. City Mayor John Bongat, in unison with ICT Bicol Council, welcomed the idea of hosting the next NICP summit here in Naga City, recognizing the organization’s significant role as a respected national organization for the best ICT stakeholders and players in the country. “It will send a very strong signal, especially to the ICT industry players in Naga and in the neighboring municipalities that we are really serious in our desire to help come up with talent development strategies, increase employment and eventually attract more investments to pour into the city and the region.” The ICT Bicol Council – the regional chapter of the 67-strong ICT council members under the NICP umbrella, works in sync not only with the IBPAP but also with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to ensure a reliable and efficient communication network and services for the Filipino people. “We have to show the ICT world that we have a pool of talents here to attract locators or local and international IT-BPM players. We have to promote our city’s economic dynamism, and improve on our infrastructure to respond to the demand of the growing IT industry. We need the help of everyone to make the change we have been dreaming of to finally come into fruition,” De Leon emphasized.