DAVAO CITY - The ICT (Information Communication Technology) stakeholders here in Davao City believe that the Dabawenyo talents in the ICT industry are already world-class.
“The talents that we have groomed here and grew here are more than capable of being able to build something of value to the global stage,” says John Naranjo, owner of Ingenuity, a Davao City-based software development company.
Naranjo said ICT MSMEs (micro, small and medium scale enterprises) like his Ingenuity are thriving because of these talented and creative ICT workers. He said nearly all of their clients are overseas companies.
“I would say 80 to 90% of their clients are international clients, it was actually during the pandemic we got busy with local projects because we felt we were needed by our countrymen during that time,” Naranjo said.
Local software developers are creating capable solutions on healthcare specifically COVID-19 and hospital management, Learning Management System, logistics solutions among many others applications for local and overseas clients.
One of their clients is a New York-based company which contracted Ingenuity for a COVID-19 management platform.
Safe Davao QR
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Naranjo's Ingenuity provided much-needed enhancement to the city's contact tracing system, the Safe Davao QR Code.
"While creating a COVID-19 app for that company in New York, we thought of why not creating an app for Dabawenyos " Naranjo said.
Working with the city government, ICT Davao and local developers the Ingenuity team addressed several issues which had hogged the first version of the QR code. One of which was scaling it up to meet the deluge of people applying for the code.
The second version of the Safe Davao QR would later transform into a full-blown COVID-19 management system, which was utilized for a variety of services including COVID-19 vaccination scheduling.
Ingenuity developers also transformed the QR code app into one which was used for distributing Pahalipay (gifts) during Christmas, and when concerned Dabawenyos told then Mayor now Vice-President Sara Z. Duterte that they wanted to donate their Pahalipay to victims of Tyhoon Odette, the developers promptly installed a donate button.
Naranjo said around 80,000 Dabawenyos used the donate button in the Safe Davao QR to give their gift packs to the victims of Typhoon Odette.
"It has become one of the platforms that the local ICT talents has been able to help Mindanaoans during COVID time," Naranjo said.
Many talents but more demand
“There are a lot of talents here in Davao and we are ready for the world,” Naranjo said.
However, the ICT talents in the city is not enough as there is a large demand globally
“This is also what we are trying to address as members of ICT-Davao,” Naranjo said.
ICT Davao is an umbrella organization of ICT groups in Davao City and was established in 2002 to champion the needs of the growing industry.
According to Belinda Torres, vice-president of ICT Davao, currently (2022) Davao City has 70,000 workers employed directly by ICT firms operating in the city and indirectly supports 210,000 people. The ICT workforce is contributing an estimated P1.26 billion monthly to the local economy (calculated in assumption that the 70,000 workers have an average monthly salary of Php 18,000).
The ICT Davao and the City Government of Davao are targeting to have 150,000 ICT workers in Davao City by 2028.
“Although we have talents here it’s not enough considering the numbers we want to look into. The creation of the Metro ICT Industry Board has help us identify the skills that is needed in the next few years in terms of the requirement of these MSMEs,” Torres said.
“They have identified skills-job mismatch, skills priorities and skills anticipation. And these are the three things we are looking into so that we can support more of the people and enterprise in this endeavor,” Torres added.
The recently held Innovation Summit 2022 organized by the ICT Davao and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industries Inc (DCCCII) has put a declaration in writing the things that the ICT stakeholders would need to do to move forward.
Naranjo said one of the initiatives done by the ICT Davao and his company is training future talents this include out-of-school youths, and career shifters.
“Of the 20 scholars we onboarded in the company last month a lot of them are career shifters coming from the business process outsourcing industry and the healthcare sector. Many of these from the BPO were doing voice and are virtual assistant, they would want to move the value chain given the opportunity they want to learn programming and hope to build a career in programming,” Naranjo said.
One of Ingenuity's initiatives is the Hackademy, a training program geared towards giving Filipinos an opportunity to learn programming skills. It aims to equip people essential knowhow to succeed in the digital workplace.
"Hackademy also contributes to addressing the gap in talent development in the Philippine IT industry by supplementing computer science education and professional development programs. Our main approach to learning is providing opportunities to interact with trainers and mentors who are some of the best engineers in the industry," Naranjo said.
With the programs and initiatives in place, the ICT stakeholders believe that the industry could provide much needed employment and income opportunities for Dabawenyos. Aside from their creations which could benefit the city and its people in many ways. (PIA/RG Alama)