Bacolod Drops to 97th Tholons Super City

Despite the introduction of new criteria and a change of branding, Bacolod City holds on to

the 2017 Tholons Top 100 Super Cities landing in the 97th spot down from its previous year’s ranking at 85th.

Tholons International introduced innovation, startup ecosystem and digital transformation as new criteria and a key component to define its index for Top 50 Digital Nations and Top 100 Super Cities.

The report also outlines Tholons’ perspective on how digital is changing the industry and picking leaders, disruptors and innovators that will define the future of economies and growth markets.

In this year’s ranking the Philippines came in third to India and China as Top 50 Digital Nations, considering that it only has five “super” cities compared to India which has fourteen and China with six in the list.

Last 2016, the Philippines has a total of nine cities in the list.

Bacolod information and communications technology (ICT) stakeholders are still thankful but challenged about this development since the decline shows that more efforts need to be done especially in the criteria just introduced.

At the same time, the inclusion of Bacolod is the current list positively validates local ICTstakeholders’ efforts towards developing an innovation ecosystem conducive to startups and digital disruptions and to push harder in this direction.

In 2015, Tholons has ranked Bacolod at number 86, seven notches higher than its 2014 ranking of 93rd, particularly for outsourcing and offshoring. It has made a record as rank 100 in 2010, and eventually leveled up to number 94 in 2013.

Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT) founder and current executive director Jocelle Batapa-Sigue said external rankings like Tholons “keep us on our toes - we cannot rest on our laurels. We have to continuously move forward and in the right direction. There are many factors affecting these movement such as inconsistencies in the commitment of public, private and academic sectors.”

For the last decade, BNEFIT has lead many programs to establish academe-industry collaboration which constantly need the cooperation of the colleges and universities.

Batapa-Sigue said “we have to work together and get rid of `kanya-kanya’ attitude.

Our rigid educational and political systems often impede fruitful collaboration and defeats the process of innovation.”

Through BNEFIT, we are trying to catalyze among the sectors, provide insights and develop strategies but the developments have been very slow for various reasons.

“Synergy is still the best strategy. Synergy is the reason why despite our being a provincial location and only a medium-sized city, we have conquered the ICT industry,” she said.

She added that “without synergy, we will lose our momentum. If we refuse to think `out-of-the-box’ and adopt the innovative culture, looking outwards and preparing our talent pool for the future of jobs - then we will continue to slide down.”

Top 10 Next Wave Cities since 2009, Bacolod was elevated as a Center of Excellence in IT-BPM in 2013 and named as the industry’s “beacon” in the 2017 Flare Awards of the IT Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).*