Filipino IT professionals are being pirated by Asian companies, and it can spell disaster for the Philippines’ telecommunications infrastructure.
It seems that professionals in the country, including those practising Information Technology (IT) are being hired by companies abroad such as Singapore, Malaysia, and other East Asian countries despite being employed in foreign-owned companies situated in Metro Manila.
At first, these IT professionals somehow worked to maintain websites of both private and government institutions against hacking and malfunctioning in order to have smooth flow of transactions, and also worked in order to improve internet speed in telecommunications companies such as PLDT and Globe.
These practitioners may had done well in their respective field of interest, but with other countries offering much bigger pay and really secured tenure, most IT professionals, especially those affected by everyday crisis such as contractualization and insufficient pay, have no choice but to accept opportunities from abroad that are greater than those offered at home.
According to the Office of the Press Secretary last 2008, there were 12,000 Filipino IT practitioners working in Singapore, and most of them were appraised for their skills and talents in their work.
In addition, there are probably more in the Philippines choosing to leave the country for Singapore or any other country in search of much greener pastures.
The Philippines is starting to feel the effects of this recent brain drain. We are left with less competent IT workers who are incapable of securing local networks in case a security breach happens.
Consequently, government websites are often hacked, while people often complain about slower internet speed as compared to those of the neighboring countries.
Groups like the Computer Professionals Union have urged government officials not just to tax-exempt IT professionals, but to create an environment for these practitioners in testing and implementing innovative ideas with government support, as science and technology professionals are vital for national development.
The Philippines’ IT-BPO industry has total revenues that rose from $12.1 billion to US$ 13.5 billion last 2012, and employment that rose to 769,932 from 679,494, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) figures.
Yet these figures may possibly change in the following years, as IT professionals are being promised bigger pay and security of tenure by companies abroad.
There is enough possibility that both revenues and employment would decrease in IT industries in the Philippines.
There is steep competition as local IT professionals find it more difficult to work in the country, given the inadequate infrastructure and wrong government priorities.
President Noynoy Aquino, in his address citing the Philippines’ amicable relations with Singapore, stated that “Singapore and the Philippines will continue to work together on the expansion of cooperation in the fields of infrastructure and construction, tourism facilities, information technology-business process management, shipbuilding, logistics services, and agribusiness”.
In spite of the country losing its best IT workers, the government continues to brag about development, cooperating with countries that are ironically becoming the working destinations for Filipino IT professionals.
By Asa Madale
INFORMATION and communication technologies are powerful tools in enhancing learning and communication processes for marginalized communities and individuals. Such technologies are vital in advancing peace for sustainable development. However, such technologies contributed to the emerging “digital divide” between the information-rich (those who have access to these resources) and the information-poor (those who not have).
Thus, the challenge everyone faces is in developing the capabilities to provide and offer access to such technologies.
According to Mindanao State University president Macapado A. Muslim, “One of my top priority programs when I assumed office on January 2008 was to provide the main campus an improved capacity in instruction, research, and extension by equipping it with relevant modern technologies such as the establishment of the College of Information Technology (CIT). This will create more employment, livelihood opportunities and economic growth among the people by developing potential IT business applications for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the rest of Mindanao.” Muslim said the construction of the College of Information and Technology (CIT) three-story school building is near completion, including work to modernize its facilities.
Earlier, President Benigno S. Aquino III, who led the groundbreaking of the CIT school building on April 23,2013 said in his speech in Filipino “For more than five decades, the MSU has cultivated and shaped the mental abilities of thousands of children in Mindanao. Once the project is completed , President Aquino III said students and the community near MSU will benefit from the modern computer training center, new teleconference , and multi-media room and laboratory for teaching information technology.
The MSU’s College of Information Technology building is to be utilized as the Information Center of the university, Mindanao’s biggest, which operates as an umbrella outfit for several other state universities across Southern Mindanao. Muslim said the visit of President Aquino marked a new milestone in the MSU main-campus enhancing to pursue its dream to become “a world class university by 2020”.
Muslim said the move to modernize, improve and develop the ICT facilities at the main MSU campus here will provide an improved capacity in instruction, research, and extension by equipping it with relevant and modern technologies. The system will also establish an information technology literacy program that is responsive to the multi-sectoral needs of the ARMM. The establishment of the CIT will likewise serve as a host for information relevant to the socio-economic development of the region. Muslim further explained that the idea of improving and modernizing the ICT at the main campus will provide greater opportunities for the university to effectively carry out its role in providing the less-privileged population of the ARMM region access to information and quality education, which are both essential and crucial to ensuring sustainable peace and development in the area.
The CIT building will also house classrooms and computer laboratories, a computer training center, system department computer studies, support services, training department services and training department server farm, personnel office, an information technology library, books/holdings and other amenities.
For this school year 2014-2015, the CIT’s on-going projects iclude the upgrading of existing local area network, design and implementation of comprehensive fiber optic backbone for MSU-Marawi, establishment of CCTV camera network in the campus, enhancement of MSU website portal, and improvement of payroll system and computerized enrollment system.