DICT Undersecretary Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue during the Digital Careers Expo 2023 in Citystate Asturias Hotel, September 5 2023.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology has stated that despite the persistent connectivity and electricity issues in the province of Palawan, the island has a solid foundation for digital innovation.

Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, the Undersecretary for ICT Industry Development at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), said Puerto Princesa and Palawan show promising prospects for careers in digital innovation due to the impressive abilities of local ICT professionals.

During the Digital Careers Expo 2023, an event organized by the DICT and held at Citystate Asturias Hotel on September 5, Batapa-Sigue mentioned that Palawan and Puerto Princesa possessed talented and skilled workers for digital careers; however, these talents were severely underutilized due to a scarcity of ICT-related job opportunities in the province.

“Mataas yung scores ng mga taga-Palawan in terms of hiring. Ang tanong bakit nauunahan kayo ng ibang provinces? Bakit yung sa iba ay thousands of jobs na at ang Palawan konting konti lang when in fact yung hiring rate ng BPO dito, mas mataas kumpara sa mga big cities?” Batapa-Sigue added.

Addressing the province’s persistent challenges related to fiber breaks causing disruptions in cell and internet services, alongside its unreliable electrical supply, Batapa-Sigue pointed out that the DICT comprised distinct divisions dedicated to connectivity and power.

She further emphasized that since these divisions functioned cohesively under the umbrella of DICT, Palawan should similarly adopt this approach and cooperate to foster a thriving ICT industry in the region.

Batapa-Sigue stressed the importance of the local government’s help in pushing digital careers in the province, such as marketing the island for digital nomads as well as advocating for more policies concerning ICT initiatives. She stated that Palawan and Puerto Princesa need not solely rely on tourism as the only way to give job opportunities to the public.

Batapa-Sigue also added that LGUs should highlight Puerto Princesa’s being named one of the 25 digital cities in the Philippines, and to keep that spot before the list is updated by 2025.

“Ang daming hidden talents ng Palaweños pero alam ba ito ng mundo, ng Pilipinas? You need to know how to market Puerto Princesa City for digital jobs. On top of giving resources, you need to promote, to catalyze stakeholders, and to create policies that are supportive of the industry,” Batapa-Sigue added.

The Digital Careers Expo 2023, with its theme of “Accelerating Global Digital Opportunities for Filipino Talents” was a one-day event attended by ICT students from colleges in Puerto Princesa, online freelancers, and BPO companies such as Foundever (formerly known as Sitel Group).

The expo held four panels with speakers from ICT industries in the Philippines and the state of digital careers for Filipinos, and how the ICT industry would further benefit Palaweños.