Koronadal (Mindanao) to invest in ICT and language-training facilities

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Thu Mar 9 14:55:04 UTC 2006

Koronadal to invest in ICT and language-training facilities

By Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews / 7 March 2006

KORONADAL CITY -- The city government here is investing in modern
information and communication technology (ICT) and language training
facilities as it gears to transform the city into a prime outsourcing and
contact or call center hub in Mindanao over the next two years. Mayor
Fernando Miguel said the local government is preparing a program that will
manage the development of a ready pool of highly-trained professionals and
skilled workers for future jobs in call centers and medical transcription

"We consider the ICT industry as the future of our city in terms of
development. So our direction now is to lay down the groundwork in terms
of policies, infrastructure and human resources," the mayor said in his
weekly radio program "Boom na Boom Koronadal." Miguel said he is initially
planning to set up speech laboratories in the city's four public high
schools and at the proposed new city hall complex. He said the city
government would facilitate the offering of free English language
proficiency trainings for students, city government employees and
interested residents.

Miguel said he will also propose to the Department of Education to direct
public and private elementary and secondary schools in the city to give
more emphasis on teaching English grammar and language facility. The mayor
said he will also coordinate with the academic sector in the tertiary
level for the latter to offer regular advance communication courses,
focusing on English proficiency and contact or call center accreditation.
"We realized that we have many skilled ICT workers and professionals here
but most of them are not proficient in English language and grammar. If we
want to join the call center and medical transcription bandwagon, we have
to reverse this trend the soonest possible time," Miguel said.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier identified the city as
an alternative ICT investment center in Region 12 under its industry
clustering strategy. Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao) comprises the
cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato and
the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and North
Cotabato). Last year, a medical transcription firm Garner Global
Transcriptionist, Inc. opened a production office in the city. The
company, the first medical transcription firm to have opened in the
region, serves as an offshore outsourcing agent for United States-based

Miguel said he expects call centers and more outsourcing companies to
expand in the city. He said the city is capable of hosting such ventures
as it has one of the most modern telecommunication facilities, a
competitive human resource, efficient and business-friendly policies and a
positive business environment. Last month, the Asian Institute of
Management's Policy Center adjudged the city as one of the 20 most
competitive cities in the country. It was one of the five small-sized
cities listed among the 20.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. had declared the city
as the most business-friendly in the entire Mindanao in 2005.


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