NTC commissioner cites Mindanao's comparative advantage in ICT development
by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob
Cagayan de Oro City (22 September) -- Outside the typhoon belt, strong neighbors in the economic corridors, fertile lands and food basket and well trained human resources.
These are just few of Mindanao's comparative advantages that Atty. Ronald Olivar Solis, Commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) pointed out when he talked about "Mindanao's Role in Preparing the Philippines as Leading Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)-Driven Economy in Asia," at the opening of the 5th MICT Congress, Sept. 21-22, 2006 in Cagayan de Oro City.
Solis said there are other advantages of Mindanao, namely: the presence of strong and competent universities and colleges, strong public-private partnership and the increasing CAPEX from telecom service providers.
"Under the liberalized telecom sector, Mindanao alone noted a remarkable increase in the fixed telephone service, from 149,580 lines in 1995 to 1,023,678 lines in 2002. Cellular telephone subscriptions also hit a record number as competition to provide services in Mindanao had heated-up." he said.
Decrease in usage rate was also experienced as competition has driven down the prices of terminal units and calling rates. As the records show, the island's contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from 15.7% in 1995, to about 17.7% in 2005. "This is a clear manifestation of the benefits of economies of scale," Solis stressed.
Also, last year, services constituted the highest growth in GDP of around 37%, followed by agriculture at 36% and industry at 27%. It is expected that ICT will flex its muscle in the years to come and this is where Mindanao could play an important role.
Solis said that ICT is the country's most profitable and exciting sector from the point of net income outpacing the banking, manufacturing, real estate and retail sectors of the commercial world a still growing and the new technological innovation capture the interest of the commercial world. There seems to be no end to its growth.
With vast tracts of lands, typhoon free and wide variety of food products that translate to cheaper standard of living, Mindanao would soon be the favorite area for investments.
However, he said that ICT leaders should harmonize all its components as ICT products and services do not need to be visible in the eyes of the cyber world. Mindanao becomes the logical choice for the call centers/business outsourcing process and other ICT related products and services. (PIA 10) [top]