ICT remains Davao City’s top industry

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 Feb) —  The area of Information Communications Technology (ICT) remains “the most promising” industry in this city in the short to medium terms as export market for Cavendish bananas expects to encounter yet another setback this year, a senior investment and promotion official said.

In his Economic Outlook For 2011 report to Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Jayson Magnaye, Davao City Investment and Promotion Center (DCIPC) chief, said the continuing success of ICT sector is bolstered by the city’s recognition as the No. 1 Next Wave City in the Philippines last year and the country’s emergence as the world’s No. 1 destination for business processing outsourcing (BPO).

“On top of the more established ICT subsectors currently operating in the city, new emerging areas of competency for the city are knowledge process outsourcing, animation, software development and other non-voice areas,” said Magnaye in his report.

Last year, Davao City was named as the best outsourcing location in the Philippines outside Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Clark.

There are more than 60 BPO companies in Davao City that are largely credited for the booming ICT-BPO industry in the region, records of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Region XI show.

According to NEDA, the ICT-BPO industry’s potential is “so vast” that the sector is expected to provide 150, 000 jobs and generate investments of US$1.25 billion by 2016.

“Recent negotiations have resulted to the establishment of a BPO company that would initially produce 200 call centers seats with the collaboration of a Singaporean IT company with Davao software outsourcing companies and the transfer of high-tech gadgets factory from China to Davao by Australian investors,” the NEDA said.

On the other hand, the export market for Cavendish bananas is expected to encounter a temporary impediment due to the steep reduction in Iran’s import volume from the Philippines, according to Magnaye.

Prior to the cut, the DCIPC chief said, Davao Region ships out a total of 50 million boxes annually that translates to about P6.5 billion.

“The quota was reduced to only 20 million boxes,” said Mangnaye who added efforts are being done both by the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Agriculture to open new markets where the displaced volumes can be diverted.

In the Economic Outlook for 2011 report, Davao City’s property development is expected to sustain growth with more commercial and residential projects coming in.

The Davao City Investment and Promotion Center noted keen interest from land developers for the construction of additional hotel facilities, commercial buildings, medium rise and affordable housing projects, an inland resort with a convention center, and a huge mall by the SM Group.

“These forthcoming developments bank on Davao City’s continuously expanding economic spheres with its markers now reaching as far as Tagum City, Gen. Santos City and even Cotabato City,” said Magnaye.

Last year, investments in private construction in the region hit P8 billion while project commitments hit the P4 billion level.

The bulk of these investments was poured into the construction of shopping malls, hotel and condominium units mostly located in Davao City, Mindanao’s favorite investment destination for the country’s top real estate developers, as well as its premier trade and services center, according to NEDA.

Davao City’s tourism industry is also poised to take off to greater heights this year as the city government in partnership with the Department of Tourism and private sector vows to embark on a more aggressive tourism promotions program, Magnaye said. (MindaNews).