Last month, the 3rd National ICT Summit was held in Bacolod City where a host of IT and BPO professionals, entrepreneurs, teachers, and students attended. It was described as "successful" as a good number of companies showed up, and the direction for the country's auspicious future in outsourcing and off-shoring was set. Was it, really?
Yes, the economic impact of bringing over jobs and functions traditionally done abroad must be a conceded advantage. Themed "Connecting the Islands to the World", it was well emphasized in the summit that indeed the Philippine workforce has been able to tap global markets and command the universal top spot in outsourcing. However, this success must be weighed in together with its concomitant costs, lest we content ourselves with a Pyrrhic victory.
This summit is vital because the stakeholders are convened in a forum where they can identify and resolve any issues or concerns with regard to ICT. Without a gathering like this, I don't think any collective move may be done to efficiently address the social effects of a dynamic and pervasive field such as ICT. The summit's success or failure will ultimately define the performance of an important economic segment, i.e. the ICT and BPO industries. Thus, its importance takes on a macro-level significance.
For such success to be truly a success in its truest sense, I suggest that regulations, laws, and policies must accordingly be put in place. Regulatory measures must tackle pervasive ICT issues like cracking/hacking, online security, cyberfraud, and pornography, just to name a few. Laws must protect those workers who more often than not work at night, particularly their health. Policies must also target the social costs of living the unusual lifestyle that the youth normally have when they work in these industries. Hence, my call for action: may our legislators and policy-makers heed this quest for genuine success in an age where usually money considerations trump almost everything. Only in this way will our success be considered a sustainable connection to the world that does not fail our youth and our society.
Richmund Sta. Lucia, Post # 5