PGMA's Super Regions tour shifts to cyber corridor
Manila (2 February) -- Two down, three more to go.
After announcing last week a comprehensive tour to review her government's Super Regions legacy of accomplishments, starting with the North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle in Batac, Ilocos Norte, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo focused her attention at appraising the Cyber Corridor.
The Cyber Corridor, together with the NLAQ, Luzon Urban Beltway, Agribusiness Mindanao and Tourism Central Philippines, comprises President Arroyo's Super Regions program which was specifically "designed to spread development away from an inequitable concentration in Metro Manila."
In her speech at the Angeles University Foundation covered court, the President said that the Cyber Corridor is now a multi-billion peso industry "made up of the strongest potential locations for ICT (information and communication technology) investments, services, and activities including call centers, back office, software development, medical transcription, engineering design, animation and game development."
"It currently houses 750 call centers and business process outsourcing or BPO companies served by three high-bandwidth backbone and digital networks," she said.
The shift from just a tiny fraction of the whole BPO industry with only 2,000 workers in 2001, according to her, has grown into a "global powerhouse" ready to take on India's claim for BPO supremacy.
The President stressed that this rise of the Philippine BPO industry could be accorded to "promoting strategic investments in three areas" namely: a connectivity infrastructure backbone, an appropriate policy and legal environment and the development of human capital.
She said that by encouraging telecom industry players to invest billions in international gateway redundancy programs, international call costs have gone down to single digit prices, has increased internet usage and has assured that "no Taiwan tremor or tsunami can cut off our cyber services from their global clients."
The creation of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT) with the guidance of the ICT sector and minimal government interference, the President stressed, has also allowed market growth of the higher value added segments of offshore and outsourcing industries such as accounting, legal, human resources and administrative services.
"Instead of regulating, we gave incentives to developers of IT parks, assisted investors in identifying promising provincial sites and built more transport centers," she said.
On the development of human capital, the President said her government's efforts to get school children interested in computer-literacy curricula has paid off.
"More than 5,000 schools now have computer laboratories while almost 4,000 schools have been connected to the internet. In technical education and skills training, we have invested three times of three previous administrations combined. A very large portion of this investment goes to scholarships for call center training," she said.
"The 500,000 jobs created in the BPO industry is part of the legacy I will leave, a legacy of hard work, a strong and stable economy, renewed global engagement, major investments in healthcare and education and dramatic improvements in physical infrastructure," the President said.
"Much work remains to be done, but I am determined to turn over a new government a New Philippines, one that is ready for the challenges of bringing the nation to the verge of First World in 20 years," she added. (PIA-MMIO) [top]