Putting Dagupan into the ICT radar/roadmap

I had the honor of being in a luncheon with Mr Hans Montenegro, Senior Manager of Convergys on the occasion of a joint job fair that Philippine call center, Dagupan City Councilor Dada Reyna and Convergys held at the Dagupan City Plaza. It was certainly an eye opener to rub elbows with Mr Montenegro and exchange views with him about what can be done to further improve the state of call center preparedness in Dagupan City.

I knew all along that the conversation would go to that direction so I had requested DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) Provincial Director, Peter Mangabat to join us at the luncheon and have a livelier discussion and sharing of ideas going. Incidentally, Director Mangabat is also a product of UP Diliman, College of Engineering. He used to be assigned as the provincial director of La Union, before his current posting here in Dagupan.

Back to the luncheon discussion, one thing that Mr Montenegro impress upon us at the luncheon, was the fact that “American Accent” is now in flux. For, what really makes the average american? Our traditional view of the american as being 100% white is no longer true. America is a melting pot. So you now have americans that speak american with a Korean, Chinese, Mexican and yes, even filipino accent.

More important than having an american accent, he enthused, was for call center agents to ALSO be able to listen and carry on a conversation. To understand and be understood. To that end, we were only too happy to share with Mr Montenegro that Farmout’s recruitment and selection process includes a battery of test on key listening skills and further enhanced by a couple of key listening modules in our Philippine Call Center Training center.

After the luncheon, I went over to a conference that was hosted by Director Mangabat over at the DTI conference center. Present at the event were representatives from the academe (Lyceum Northwestern and Collegio de Dagupan), Telecommunications (Digitel), Power (Decorp), Peace and Order (PNP), LGU (Prof Nick Melecio), and TESDA.

The conference revolved around concrete steps that could be taken to get Dagupan into the ICT radar and roadmap of key call center industry players (like convergys, people support etc that are members of CCAP). As an aside (I think) CCAP also a key player in the yearly eServices Philippines’ 7th Global Outsourcing Summit that was held last Feb 15, 2007 at the Edsa Shangrila. One of the key highlights of the said event was the speech given by Sen Mar Roxas titled: “The 2010 Programme for the IT Outsourcing Sector“.

Now, going back to the Dagupan Conference hosted by Director Mangabat:
There was a SWOT analysis done and discussions flew fast and “furious”. Not all people know this, but Dagupan boast of very good Internet infrastructure. Both PLDT and Digitel now have full fiber facitlies in Dagupan. Power in the province is sourced from 2 major power producers in Pangasinan (Mirant Sual, and San Roque). Dagupan also boast of having one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

While I am sure there were a lot of other interesting tidbits, but i had to leave the meeting as we needed to get back to the office to attend to some other pressing event.