- Created: Thursday, 13 July 2017 13:29
- Written by Super User
We, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Councils of our respective cities, provinces and regions from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao under the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines most respectfully appeal to His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines and the 17th Congress of The Republic of the Philippines for the continuation, retention and expansion of current fiscal incentives of Information and Communications Technology - Business Process Management (ICT-BPM) companies in the Philippines in order to generate jobs and investments especially in the countryside, sustain the growth of the said industry, which accounts for the increase in the country's GDP along side OFW remittances, and achieve the current administration's target to ensure inclusive socio-economic growth.
The proposed tax reforms of the current administration are laudable especially insofar as increasing the net income of the middle class by reducing individual income tax base. But taxation is not only a means to generate revenues, it is also a tool to develop and grow industries that are relevant and sustainable especially in areas where there are less jobs and opportunities. Across the globe, developing countries use tax incentives as a means to attract direct foreign investments to solve unemployment, engage in technology transfer and intensify development of preferred industries.
Today, the Philippines is among the global leaders for ICT-enabled jobs, because of our very strong customer service culture, excellent English communication skills and high-level of digital literacy. But above all, from the countryside perspective, the Philippines has leveraged on the strength and potential of its non-metropolis locations or provinces which abound with talent. Seventy percent of the country's graduates are outside of Metro Manila and because of the attractive national tax incentives and the dynamism of provincial locations through its respective ICT councils, ICT-BPM companies have started to set up in Tier 2 and 3 cities, thereby creating the necessary jobs and investment opportunities. Real estate facilities such as ICT parks and centers accredited under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority has begun to flourish in the provinces and thus stimulating the real estate and allied businesses. Because of the thousands of jobs generated by these companies outside of Metro Manila, the growth of support services such as food, transportation, health services, housing and other ancillary services have all increased. The educational sector has been continuously upgrading its quality due to the global requirements. Filipino entrepreneurs have begun to set of up their own companies to also share in the ever increasing global demand for services and digital products. Many provinces have followed the lead of industry associations in creating ecosystems for high value ICT services such as animation, game development, health care information management, finance and accounting, software development, and many other complex segments.
By reducing or removing the current set of tax incentives for ICT-BPM companies - the most affected segment is the provincials locations which currently take advantage of national incentives under a centralized government structure.
Introducing VAT on BPO services could have very damaging repercussions for growth, expansion and sustainability of this industry in the countryside. The inevitable implication for BPO services will be an increase in cost, affecting employees current benefits, and any form of expansion and at worst, for them to explore low-cost economies for their BPO operations.
It is our most humble appeal that the government retain the current incentive package of the ICT-BPM industry and encourage their expansion in provincial location. In the alternative, we appeal that these companies be allowed tax deductions for any relevant talent development programs it will invest in to grow and ensure the quality of talent in the countryside.
We fully support the goal of the current administration to create jobs and investments for inclusive and together with the government, the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) and all its member ICT councils vow to contribute ONE MILLION ICT JOBS by 2022 in the countryside.
National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP)
Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue
Head, NICP Public Sector and Policy Committee
Stephanie Rosalind R. Caragos
Tacloban City and the Province of Leyte will be this year’s host of the National ICT Summit organized by the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP).
The Regional Information and Communications Technology Committee – Eastern Visayas Federation for Information Technology (RICTC-EVFIT) will be hosting the eight staging of the annual summit on November 10 and 11, 2016 in Tacloban City and in the Municipality of Palo, Province of Leyte.
This year’s theme, “Acceler8 Region 8 thru the Digital Economy”, highlights the resiliency and renewed dynamism of Eastern Visayas after Typhoon Yolanda.
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 8 Director Edgardo Esperancilla serves as chairman of the summit as the chair of RICTC-EVFIT.
NICP President Wilfredo Sa-a, Jr. hopes to bring together champions of the information and communications technology from public and private sectors to share industry trends and development, understand the challenges, identify and collaborate on ways forward to promote ICT industry development, generate new investments and create new jobs for the cities outside of Metro Manila and the countryside.
Among the key activity of the summit is the 5th eGOV Awards for local government units, a recognition given to municipalities, cities, and provinces with exemplary performance in empowering its citizens and business sector by integrating ICT in their programs and services.
Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, former president of NICP and chair of the 2016 eGOV awards says the two categories are Best in eGov Customer Empowerment (G2C) Award and Best in eGov Business Empowerment (G2B) Award.
This year’s topics include the presentation of Philippine IT-BPM Roadmap 2022, NICP Targets in for 2022, creating competitive cities and exploring affordable innovative options, impact sourcing and developing country side outsourcing, resiliency and business continuity, Internet for agriculture and creating a startup ecosystem.
The 2-day summit will also feature a 24-hour hackathon called Hack the Climate which will serve as venue for developers to create solutions addressing climate change and environment issues.
The event is supported by the newly-created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
WILFREDO T. SA-A JR
Executive Director, CEDF-IT
ATTY. JOCELLE BATAPA-SIGUE
Chair, Egov Awards for LGUs
Executive Director, BNEFIT
ENGR. JOHN GLENN OCANA
Provincial Science and Technology Director
Province of Leyte
ENGR. EDGARDO M. ESPERANCILLA
DOST 8, Regional Director
September 11, 2014, MANILA, PHILIPPINES– A multi-sectoral group of IT champions from industry, the public sector, technical vocation institutions, and the academe announced today the establishment of DigiBayanihan, a movement that aims to promote digital literacy and digital citizenship in helping achieve national economic development. The announcement, aptly made at the 12th Youth for IT Congress whose theme this year is “Harnessing the Power of Me,” challenges the Filipino youth and the tech savvy to actively participate in educating Filipinos on technology use.
Under the DigiBayanihan movement, partner organizations such as Intel Philippines, Children International-Philippines, the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (ICTO-DOST), the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), the Philippine Community e-Center Network (PhilCeCNet), the Philippine Society of IT Educators (PSITE), and the Technical Vocational Schools and Associations of the Philippines (TEVSAPHIL) come together and consolidate ongoing initiatives on digital literacy and more importantly drum up support for more initiatives. By putting a spotlight on the impact of these initiatives, the movement hopes to create a sense of urgency for digital literacy and push its prioritization in the Philippines’ human and economic development agenda.
DigiBayanihan partners are working together to reach more Filipinos who want to learn basic digital skills by involving individuals or groups as volunteer mentors, and leveraging on Intel Easy Steps, Intel’s digital literacy program that has a specially-developed curriculum comprised of fourteen modules, each containing approximately 2 hours of instruction.
“Intel’s contribution in the movement is leading the DigiBayanihan Secretariat,” said Yvonne Flores, Corporate Affairs Manager, Intel Philippines. “DigiBayanihan will also provide a traditional and digital avenue for Filipinos to volunteer and teach others to use technology in a meaningfulneed to create a critical mass of digital literacy and citizenship champions at all levels of society who will motivate and inspire people to learn and take action.”
DigiBayanihan also supports government initiatives, particularly to prepare Filipinos for the 2015 ASEAN integration. DigiBayanihan is aligned with DOST-ICTO’s eFilipino Program, which seeks to enhance the capacities of Filipinos through optimized technology.
“Digibayanhan is an ideal partner for our eFilipino Program,” said Bettina Quimson of ICTO-DOST. “Having a network of private sector volunteers who help train people through the Tech4ED Centers deployed in barangays will quickly propel those areas into economic growth as they will now have the necessary education and skill sets by which to become entrepreneurs or attain employment.”
With over 4,000 technical vocational institutions nationwide, TEVSAPHIL believes that by teaching digital literacy to Filipinos especially the less fortunate, the Philippine economy will rise through technical vocational education. TEVSAPHIL President Col. Alexander Escano said, “As we empower Filipinos through DigiBayanihan, TEVSAPHIL conforms to its calling and mandate. Giving free digital literacy to Filipinos especially the less fortunate, will encourage more to learn and use computers to interact and communicate, making the Philippines globally competitive.”
“PSITE, being the nation’s largest professional IT organization, is committed to providing opportunities for a sustainable, knowledge-driven Philippine economy through relevant community extension and immersion programs. Through DigiBayanihan, let us share our time and expertise to combat digital illiteracy,” said Dr. Dave Marcial, PSITE President.
“Digital literacy skills development is an imperative for the NICP as we champion countryside development for ICT. We have embraced the challenge set forth by President Aquino when he pronounced that 40% of total ICT-BPO jobs in 2016 must be contributed by regional hubs outside of the NCR. Whether for educational, economic and political purposes or simply to actively engage in the digital world we live in, digital literacy skills have become indispensable in 21st century life,” said National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) Chairperson Lizabel Holganza. “Learners can have the benefit of face-to-face training with their volunteer mentors, on online via self-study modules and apps that will also be made available to those who wish to learn at their own pace.”
The Philippine Community e-Center Network through Chairperson Dr. Melinda Bandalaria further emphasized the importance of digital literacy: “Digital literacy can be a potent tool to improve the people’s lives especially those belonging to the marginalized sector of the society. In this age of digitized information and processes, digital skills can be the vehicle to access education, employment, do business and be socially included. Digital literacy is empowering in every way that counts!”
The most important component of the movement will be volunteers, who have the primary task of delivering training and post-training support for learners at the grassroots level.Volunteers will be mobilized to organize and implement the local activities that will bring digital literacy and digital citizenship within the reach of most Filipinos.
UP System IT Foundation President Monchito Ibrahim summed up the role of youth in DigiBayanihan: “We, at Y4iT, recognize that the Filipino youth are key drivers of the IT industry. Since 2003, Y4iT has served as an enabling event for the youth to realize their potentials as future IT professionals. With DigiBayanihan, the Filipino youth will have the venue to harness their skills, talents, and passion and use information and communications technology (ICT) as a tool for social change. We are hoping that more student leaders will sign up as volunteers that could share their time and talent for this worthwhile endeavor.”