With the goal of laying the foundations of a robust digital economy in the City of Iligan, a joint initiative of the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), the Iligan ICT Council, DEVCON Philippines, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the City Government of Iligan launched the 1st Iligan Digital Economy Summit and this year’s Campus DEVCON, held on November 7, 2022 in the MSU-IIT Gymnasium. The events were attended by students from MSU-IIT and other campuses of the MSU System, as well as school heads, students, and teachers of IT schools in Iligan.

Bannering the theme “Building the Future Today,” the summit, which was held in the morning, opened with an invocation followed by the singing of the national anthem. The program was split into three sessions: “The Philippine IT-BPM Perspective” by eXperience Plus Inc. CEO, Engr. Darwin John Moises; “Digital Economy in a Local Perspective” by COINS.PH founder, Ron Hoze, and Managing Director of DEVCON Philippines, Shumate Rayu; and finally, the “Future of Work in a Global Perspective” by Microsoft Philippines Education Lead, Clarissa Segismundo, and Sonic VA founder, Dan Meyer. This series of talks revolved around the digital economy — the use of information technology to create, adapt, and consume goods and services. It also discussed the state of ICT jobs and opportunities in the Philippines.

Participating students of MSU-IIT were able to share their takeaways regarding the event. Third-year BS Computer Applications student, John Vincent Ramirez, said that he has learned about the broadening ICT career opportunities in Iligan, and he is willing to learn new skills in IT to be able to make use of such opportunities. Second-year BS Information Systems student Suad Sharief said that she feels excited about the future of the digital economy in Iligan, as more people can find higher-paying jobs in the City instead of looking elsewhere.

The Campus DEVCON — a yearly convention that promotes IT industry practices, tools, and technologies — commenced later in the afternoon. Director Emmy Lou Delfin of the ICT Industry Developments Bureau shared, in her welcoming message, the different sectors of the ICT Industry and Countryside Developments Programs, which were the following: IT-BPM industry, Creative Industry, Online Freelancing Industry/Gig Economy, Emerging Technology, and Startups. The purpose of the program was for students and working professionals of Iligan City to be familiarized with the latest information and communications technology developments. The participants were also able to peek into the world of startups.

One of the events’ high points were the “Lightning Talks” from industry practitioners, which tackled the newest development tools and technologies for excellent practical knowledge in the future. The speakers also talked about their difficulties at the start of their careers and how technology and perseverance changed their lives — like magic. Eden Dorato, a third-year BS in Computer Science student from MSU-IIT, shared that the event was informative since it aligns with her college program and is a help for her career path thereafter. In addition, Pic-A-Talk, an assertive mobile app discussed by Mr. Shealtiel Cañon in his successful startup story, captured Eden’s attention because of its inspiring work in terms of inclusivity as it will support children with complex communication needs, such as those with autism, learning disabilities, and speech delays.

MSU-IIT is a leader in the academe, not just in Iligan but in Southern Mindanao. The university’s ICT programs will undoubtedly be a key contributor to building a digital economy in Iligan City, as it will be the primary source of talent within ICT fields locally. It is, therefore, essential that the students, especially those involved in these fields, are made aware of these initiatives and growing opportunities so that they can play their role in digitally transforming the city’s economic growth. We must take advantage and embrace these new digital horizons that are laid bare before us by this new age of information.

Report by Jemuel Adrian Mongado and Renalyn Torralba
Photos by Perlan Jubay, Jerrold Canoneo and Michael Tecson