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DICT: Tacloban City will soon be a ‘digital city’ by 2025

TACLOBAN CITY -- A top official of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said that Tacloban City has a high potential for transforming into a ‘digital city’ by 2025, which will soon offer more locally available jobs in the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector.

“Tacloban City is a ‘digital city’ in 2025. Kasama po kayo sa listahan, 25 cities lang po yung pinili namin. Madugo ang labanan in the choosing of cities to be part of the digital cities program,” DICT Undersecretary for ICT Industry Development Jocelle Batapa-Sigue underscored.

Tagged “Digital Cities 2025: A Brighter Future Awaits in the Countryside,” the program was created through a partnership between the DICT, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), and Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC).

The 25 Digital Cities. (Photo courtesy of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines)

The Digital Cities program aims to strengthen the countryside's ICT industry and promote digital cities as viable IT-BPM destinations locally and internationally to boost job creation and revenue generation within five years.

The DICT identifies a locality as a ‘digital city’ if they have reached the program's four parameters reflecting priority areas for investors and locators: talent availability, infrastructure, cost, and business environment.

Other cities included in the digital program are Balanga City, Batangas City, Cabanatuan City, Dagupan City, General Santos City, Iligan City, Iriga City, Laguna Cluster (San Pablo, Calamba, and Los Baños), Laoag City, Legazpi City, Malolos City, Metro Cavite (Bacoor City, Imus, and General Trias), Metro Rizal (Taytay, Cainta, Antipolo City), Olongapo City, Puerto Princesa City, Roxas City, San Fernando, La Union, San Fernando City, Pampanga, San Jose Del Monte City, Tagbilaran City, Tarlac City, Tuguegarao City, Urdaneta City, and Zamboanga City.

Some government officials in the province of Leyte are now gearing up for the said program as they reveal their initial plans and preparations for transforming Tacloban City into a digital metropolis.

“We are now preparing especially for our investors, IT parks, though it’s like a chicken and egg dilemma, kung ano ang mauuna yung reliable internet connectivity or we provide an infrastructure or an avenue like an IT park,” Tacloban City Councilor Christopher Randy Esperas said.

Esperas mentioned that these projects related to the ‘digital city’ could potentially be placed in a 3 to 4-kilometer radius, like in San Jose, Utap, preferably outside the central business district of Tacloban City, to decongest the traffic volume.

“I believe we can do this with proper coordination and partnership with the DICT, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), and the ICT federation to assist us on what to do. It’s a 10-year program you will expect from the city. It’s not easy, but we’re going in the right direction,” Esperas added.

In a statement, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla spoke from an investor point of view, stating that when business owners started to invest, providing them with needed information like the salary, rent per square meter, workforce, and cost of electricity would give them insights on the kind of business they are dealing with.

Moreover, the Regional Director of the DICT Region 8, Felix Tabanao Jr., shared in a statement that the DICT has a national broadband project, procurements of Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), satellite phones, solar panels for distribution to the concerned government agencies.

According to DICT, the program will also focus on some points of action: institutional development, talent attraction and development, infrastructure development, and marketing and promotion. This will involve strengthening ICT councils, sharing best practices, launching awareness campaigns, and facilitating infrastructure initiatives.

Tacloban City Councilor Christopher Randy Esperas presented the current programs, projects, and opportunities that make Tacloban City an ICT Investment Hub in Visayas during the 11th Visayas ICT Organization (VICTOR) Conference and the 8th Creative Congress on Oct. 23-24, 2023, at the People’s Center and Library, Tacloban City. (Photo courtesy of the ICT Industry Development Bureau)
Press Conference during the 11th Visayas ICT Organization (VICTOR) Conference at the People’s Center and Library, Tacloban City, October 23. In photos from left to right: Dr. Mary Joy Abueg, president of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines; Emmy Lou V. Delfin, Director IV of the DICT-ICT Industry Development Bureau; Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, DICT Undersecretary for ICT Industry Development; Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla; Tacloban City Councilor Christopher Randy Esperas; and DICT-8 Regional Director Felix Tabanao Jr.

On the other hand, the DICT, in partnership with the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), organized the 11th Visayas ICT Organization (VICTOR) Conference and the 8th Creative Congress on October 23-24, 2023, at the People’s Center and Library, Tacloban City.

With the theme, “Capturing the MAGIC in 3D (Digital Innovation, Digital Governance, Digital Workforce),” the conference aims to create and strengthen a working synergy among all stakeholders in the Western, Central, and Eastern Visayas (Regions 6, 7, and 8).

It serves as a platform to exchange insights and showcase successful strategies in achieving digital transformation, enhancing the local ICT ecosystem, and positioning the Visayas Islands as an attractive global investment hub for ICT-enabled jobs and opportunities. (LDL/AAC/PIA Leyte)

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Aaron Cotejar

Information Officer

Region 8

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