Local gov?t support for IT sector better in de Oro

Gary Dumael, operations chief of Link to Support call centers, cited the higher support of the Cagayan de Oro government during the 4th Techno Kapihan Forum Wednesday in a café at the Damosa IT Park’s Market Basket.

Andre Joseph Fournier, ICT chair of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry said competition between Davao and other Mindanao cities like Cagayan de Oro is "neck to neck," requiring for sound local support and incentives.

Dumael spoke amid discussions with ICT Davao, a new group of IT stakeholders that vowed to straighten up industry issues and concerns at the forum.

In Cagayan de Oro, he said, the city government showcased the city as a product itself in promoting the city's IT potentials to investors. Link to Support operates call centers in Manila, Cagayan de Oro and Davao City. He said even national agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), are very organized. 

Dumael also noted as problems in Davao City the alleged slow response of telecommunication companies during incidence of service failures. He addressed the concern to the National Telecommunications Commission.

Josue Villa Go, NTC Davao director, said he took note of the concern.

Councilor Peter Laviña vowed local government support and cited the creation of the ICT Task Force.

Councilor Pilar Braga said the task force waited for the stakeholders to organize themselves before proceeding to draft its ICT plan.

She said the city government will factor in ICT Davao's plan into it.

Oliver Robillo, private sector chair of the ICT cluster in the Regional Development Council, told MindaNews they would stay focused on overseeing ICT Davao's action plan.

ICT Davao, a new group of IT-enabled industry associations and academe in the city, pledged to work out industry concerns, even work closely with government.

Fournier clarified that in order to make the city more attractive to IT investors it has to offer a better package to pull them here from Manila and Cebu and it can only be done if all the stakeholders get their act together.

He said IT industry associations, the city government, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Science and Technology and other sectors should sit together and facilitate a planning session to come out with a long term ICT plan.

He said a stakeholders' advisory council, apart from the private sector's ICT Davao, to oversee the planning is key to addressing the problem.

Fournier said recurring impression on Mindanao's peace and order situation has discouraged would be investors from putting up more call centers and medical transcription sites here despite the fact that local space rental and salaries are low.

The city has two call centers and four medical transcription sites for now. He said the city's IT manpower continues to leave Davao side by side with BPO (business process outsourcing) firms coming to Davao to drain the city of some important human resources, Fournier said.

"Let's avert that by encouraging more business from local investors so they stay," he said