Jerry Rapes: Head in the Cloud, feet on Cebu

IF WE do things right, Exist president and chief executive officer Jerry Rapes said, the opportunity is really big.

From $9 billion and 500,000 direct jobs in 2010, the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector in the Philippines is targeting $25 billion in revenues and 1.3 million workers by 2016.

Rapes is optimistic about hitting the target.

“I think Filipinos are as good as anybody in the world,” he said in his Cebu office at the Asiatown IT Park. Local developers are “very good and trainable and although there are areas for improvement, they are technically sound.”

Filipino developers are good at collaborating and have an excellent command of English. “The US market is still the biggest IT market. When you get a project from the US, the Filipinos don’t need translators, they can communicate directly with the American client, partners and engineers,” Rapes said.

Skilled workers

But for the industry to thrive, it must have regular supply of skilled workers.

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The sky isn’t falling

(Here’s my closing remarks at the Online Campus Journalism Seminar and Workshop held by Smart for campus journalists in Cebu.)

Twelve years ago, a group of journalists, writers and artists in Cebu decided to form a cooperative and publish a different type of community newspaper. The Independent Post was a paper that was to be owned by its readers, who were to have a big influence on how the paper was run.

We set on in that quixotic enterprise with a couple of millions, big dreams and a lot of hard work.

But, it was the height of the Asian economic crisis. We burned through whatever funding we had but still tried to hold on to that grand dream of blazing a journalism trail, working hard for little or no pay.

In two years, the paper folded. Big dreams, instant noodles and hard, hard, hard work were not enough.

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