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BNEFIT Founder Named TOWNS Awardee

on Nov 27, 2016

Former Bacolod councilor and lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue will be awarded this week as one of The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Awardees for 2016, for her dedication and passion in driving for information and communication technology (ICT) jobs and investments to the countryside and for helping other cities and provinces to develop strategies for job generation.

Known as a staunch advocate for the development of information and communication technology (ICT) in the countryside, she completes the eight awardees in this prestigious recognition for women not more than 45 years old given by the TOWNS Foundation every three years.

​She was recognized for ​"​her pioneering efforts in generating information and communications technology (ICT) jobs and investments and introducing strategies and programs that helped develop Bacolod City and Negros Occidental as one of the country’s growing centers of innovation. As co-founder, former president, and current trustee of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), now the recognized advocate for countryside ICT Industry development, she spearheaded numerous projects and campaigns to help local government units in different parts of the country craft their ICT ecosystems for job and investment generation. In 2012, she lead NICP as it launch the excellence in Governance through IT for LGUs (eGov Awards), now an annual search assisted and recognized by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). Her track record and unrelenting passion for the Industry have contributed greatly to nation building, enabled the youth to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and allowed people to move from periphery to the center​", her certificate reads​.

During the awarding cermony last November 17​, Batapa-Sigue shared her recognition to more than 1 million Filipino ICT workers and professionals today who are "carrying the excellent Filipino brand of service" to the world. She thanked TOWNS Foundation for recognizing the work of all ICT advocates who believe in inclusive growth.

Batapa-Sigue led stakeholders in Bacolod to come together as councilor and chair of the Sanggunian Committee on Communications in 2004 to promote Bacolod as a destination for ICT-enabled jobs and investments. She chaired the Bacolod IT Focus Team, which worked together on strategies and programs to develop Bacolod City and Negros Occidental as one the growing centers of innovation in the country.

She is the founder of a confederation of government, academe and business and private sector known as the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communication Technology (BNEFIT) in 2007. BNEFIT eventually joined similar bodies existing in other cities and provinces to create in 2008, the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) now composed of more than 50 ICT councils nationwide. She served as NICP President from 2010-2012 and continues to be a trustee to this day.

During her presidency, she actively organized along with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and CyberCity Philippines the annual Awards for Excellence in ICT for Good Governance for Local Government Units (eGov Awards).

Bacolod today is in the global map as the 85th City in the Tholons International Top 100 Cities in the world and currently the latest Center of Excellence for IT-BPM in the Philippines. Bacolod was recently honored in the International ICT Summit Flare Awards as “beacon” for all other cities in ICT investment programs.

Because of her exemplary dedication as an ICT champion, she was chosen as Asia Society Top Ten Philippines 21 Fellow in 2009 and Eisenhower Fellow of the Philippines for 2012. She was awarded last March 2014 as Philippine Individual Contributor of the Year during the International ICT Awards given by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines.

She served for 3 terms as councilor of Bacolod, and volunteer consultant to the Province of Negros Occidental for ICT Investments, where she assists in developing the Negros First CyberCentre and the first Technology Business Incubator (TBI) for tech startups in the province. She currently leads the Visayas ICT Cluster Organization (VICTOR). She is also a professor of law at the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod.

She is a resource speaker of the Department for Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for Cybercrimes, Cyber-Bullying, Cyber-Trafficking and Capacity development for ICT Councils. She currently helps in managing the Technology Business Incubation Center located at the Negros First CyberCentre in Bacolod City.

​About TOWNS
The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (TOWNS) award is presented by the TOWNS Foundation to outstanding Filipino women ages 21 to 45 years old who have contributed positively to strengthening national capability and shaping the nation’s future and served as catalysts for economic, social and cultural development, national security and national unity by providing their time, talent and resources. The award is given every three years during the last week of October and the search for these women is held nationwide for a period of one year. Since its inception in 1974, TOWNS has cited about​ 160 ​ women.

TOWNS Foundation In is a national organization of dynamic and effective women who by their common shared activities help transform the lives of Filipinos. All TOWNS awardees become automatic members of TOWNS Foundation Inc.

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