Tuesday, February 15, 2005



The Philippine Star – Sunday, November 07, 2004

Negros Oriental’s formula for attracting information technology – based investors is winning a lot of believers not only from the private sector but even among the government officials overseeing the country’s technology industry.

One of them, Damian, “Dondi” Mapa, the commissioner of The newly organized Commission on Information and Community Technology (CICT) responsible for business development, was in Negros Oriental last week to find out what makes the province tick.

“I came to see how the province has achieved a head start in promoting itself to foreign ICT investors. I am hopeful that the formula used by Negros Oriental could be duplicated in other province that want to attract investors,” Mapa told members of the Negros Oriental Investment Promotions Center (NOIPC) in a meeting.

During his visit, Mapa learned what many businessmen who have already put up call center, business process outsourcing (BPO) facilities and technology-based operations in the province have earlier discovered: That Negros Oriental’s ICT success is the result of careful and systematic planning.

Negros Oriental Gov. George Arnaiz disclosed that “as early as five years ago, we were already positioning Negros Oriental, specifically Dumaguete City, as the investor’s site of choice for IT-enabled services,” resulting in a development plan outlining the province’s prospects.

Earlier this year, the Board of Investment (BOI) had identified Dumaguete as “one of four places for IT development / promotion.”

“Negros Oriental’s highly educated work force is another key attraction for investors,” Arnaiz said. “Dumaguete, the capital city, is home to six colleges and universities, including Silliman University, one of the Philippine’s oldest and most respected institutions of higher learning.

The top-notch graduates these schools produce every year constantly replenish Negros Oriental’s talent pool and make the province a “people processing zone,” Arnaiz added.

Aside from the local talent pool, Negros Oriental boasts of a P3.5 billion fiber optic infrastructure, which is considered to be the most advanced in the country today.

Fred Dael, former president and chief executive officer of Isla Communications Co. Inc. (Islacom), said: “Negros is one o fonly two islands in the Philippines that are completely surrounded by fiber optic cable, allowing for instantaneous data transfer from Negros Oriental to the world.”

Islacom, which is now part of Innove Communications, Laid $120 million worth of fiver optic cables in Negros Oriental in the 1990s. The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), TelecPhil Consortium and Eastern Telecom also operate major fiber optic backbones in Dumaguete City.

Dumaguete is in fact one of the most well connected cities in the Philippines, thanks to its international communications cable networks and fiber optic, a technology that is still unmatched in the world,” Dael said.

“With its skilled human resources and technology, what we have in Negros Oriental is not just a good system – its in fact the best system in place,,” he added.

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