Until 2004, Bacolod was largely a sleepy city, largely known for sweet piyayas, majestic sceneries, and idyllic haciendas. No one ever thought of the city as a business hub, much less an Information Technology—Business Process Management (IT-BPM) center.
Today, Bacolod ranks high on the list of the Philippines’ most competitive cities, and is a top choice of IT-BPM companies in search of places to set up operations. Bacolod City ranks 85th in the Tholons 2016 Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations. It was also included in the Top Ten Next Wave Cities in 2009 and 2011.
Center of excellence
In May 2013, it was recognized finally as an IT-BPM center of excellence when it joined the ranks of Metro Manila, Cebu, and Clark. Among the IT-BPM companies that have set up operations in the province are TeleTech, Transcom, Teleperformance, Convergys, and Panasiatic Solutions, all providing training and growth opportunities for its employees.
Bacolod’s ascent to becoming a top IT-BPM destination entailed foresight, planning, and execution, sparked by the efforts of the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNEFIT) led by Councilor Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Dr. Elsie Coscolluela of the University of St. La Salle, David Leechiu of Leechiu & Associates (L&A). Seeing the city’s expanse of land, infrastructure, and large pool of talent, they saw how Bacolod could become a logical destination for IT-BPM firms.
In 2003, Leechiu consulted with Coscolluela and Batapa-Sigue who both believed in harnessing the potential of the city as an IT-BPM center. Determined to carry the idea forward, Batapa-Sigue, together with her fellow information and communications technology (ICT) advocates, formed BNEFIT. The group’s goal was to ensure the city’s ICT-readiness and competitiveness.
Fostering economic growth
Determined to achieve its goal, BNEFIT worked with Leechiu to bring the government, academe, business, and private sectors together to make Bacolod the next IT-BPM hub. The groups also developed a comprehensive plan to help Bacolod rationalize its programs for infrastructure and human resource development.
Today, Bacolod is a vibrant city with a strong economy. The people are no longer dependent on sugar or agriculture as they now have a thriving IT-BPM industry, along with many entrepreneurial endeavors that have grown with the IT-BPM sector. “When cities like Bacolod learn to harness the expanse of opportunities in the IT-BPM sector it means the industry is successfully fostering economic growth for cities outside the capital,” said Leechiu.
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