The digital cities roadmap is a living document where strategies and milestones shall be continuously updated.

Puerto Princesa and eight other cities outside Metro Manila have set goals to create around 100,000 local jobs under the Digital Cities Program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The DICT in a statement said that of the 31 cities launched as part of the program, Puerto Princesa, Balanga, Batangas, General Santos, Iligan, Legazpi, Taytay Rizal, Tuguegarao, and Zamboanga have completed their 5-year roadmaps and launched them in a virtual ceremony on June 28.

“These cities are launching their ICT industry roadmaps to improve the readiness of their localities for the digital economy. The goal is not just to recover from the economic slowdown, but to further boost growth for our local industries and our local communities,” DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II said in the statement.

“We likewise aim to bridge the progress gap in the countryside to strengthen local economies,” he added.

The Digital Cities Program was launched a year ago by the DICT’s ICT Industry Development Bureau (IIDB) in collaboration with the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) and Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) to support the growth of digital jobs in the countryside.

Outside of Metro Manila, the initiative selected 25 locations and 31 cities as digital cities that would be excellent places for information technology business process management (IT-BPM) companies.

The cities were chosen based on four key factors: talent, business environment, infrastructure, and cost of doing business. Through a series of design thinking and strategic planning workshops, stakeholders’ perspectives and data were collected.

Aside from IT-BPM investments, local stakeholders were urged to assess their capabilities in hosting freelancers, technology entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators. They were also encouraged to promote innovation and the use of digital technology across all industries in their communities.

To fully support these locations, part of the intervention under the Digital Cities Program is to assist them in creating and designing their respective 5-year roadmaps through various strategic planning, stakeholders and design thinking workshops.

The roadmap will also serve as a comprehensive repository of business information to help investors in assessing a location’s readiness to host IT-BPM companies. The digital cities roadmap is a living document where strategies and milestones shall be continuously updated.