Casiño: ICT development should go beyond BPOs

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STA. ROSA, Laguna – Party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño issued a challenge to the information and communications technology players to go beyond business process outsourcing (BPO) and develop products and services to develop the country’s rural areas.

Speaking before delegates to the National Information and Communications Technology Councils of the Philippines (NICP) 5th Summit last Thursday, Casiño commended the “amazing and breathtaking strides in the BPO industry” but said the challenge for NICP “is not merely to bring BPO investments to the rural areas but to bring ICT itself to the rural areas.”

The NICP is the umbrella organization of 40 ICT councils in the country whose members include BPO operators, software and application developers, hardware manufacturers, retailers as well as internet cafe’s and providers of other ICT products and services.

“How I wish for the day that our ICT companies will be serving primarily our local manufacturers, our local banks, local hospitals, local appliance makers, even our ordinary farmers who we hope one day will be using their mobile phones and computers to order seedlings, fertilizers or get real time updates about wheather patterns and the prices of their produce in the market,” he said.

“To be truly relevant, the ICT industry should use the modern tools of information and communications technology to service our own people and build our own industries. ICT development is not just about being the BPO capital of the world. It is one thing to service the needs of predominantly foreign companies but another to serve the needs of our own local enterprises,” he said.

“Just imagine, we have all these wonderful technologies that can really help spur rural development. Ang problema, sino ang may malasakit para maibaba at magamit ito sa ating rural areas? Do you know, for example, that we have a mobile phone app that can compute the amount of fertilizer needed in a rice field? A farmer texts the area and other variables of the farm and gets a reply indicating the amount of fertilizer he needs to apply,” he added

“As chairperson of the Congressional Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development, I have seen the disconnect between ICT and the state of our MSMEs. We have the technology to automate and simplify so many aspects of running a business yet for lack of awareness, training or capital, many businesses are still in the analog, pen and paper age,” Casiño said.

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