Bancom Institute of Development Technology

Ordoñez, Victor M.
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Honolulu, Hawaii : East-West Technology and Development Institute
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This case study deals with a project launched by a group of companies headed by a private investment bank in the Philippines in its attempt to evolve a significant private sector formula for integrated rural area development.
The Bancom Development Corporation, part of the Bancom Group of Companies, established a wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary called the Bancom Institute for Development Technology (Bidtech) in 1975 to explore human settlement management as a private enterprise activity. As personnel was recruited and as ideas and objectives crystallized, the focus of Bidtech became documenting the technology in Bancom and its various subsidiary companies, and then communicating and adapting this technology to the rural countryside.
The case study traces the activities of Bidtech's three divisions--documentation, communication, and application. Special attention is given to the application division, a subproject at a field site experimental setting in Licab, a town of 14,000, in a remote area about three hours north of Manila.
The Bidtech team sent to Licab found the usual severe problems that beset a small rice-based Philippine village: heavy debts from overextended crop loans, low levels of health and education, a fatalistic attitude fostered by regular typhoons, droughts, infestations of field rats and plant disease, low community cooperation and morale. When it entered this situation, however, Bidtech was operating neither as a government agency with an appropriated budget nor as a Church-related or philanthropic group with a grant; it came rather from the private, profit-oriented (and therefore cost-efficiency conscious) tradition of its parent group of companies. Its goal was therefore to come up with new formulas that would guarantee not profit per se (since Bidtech was a nonprofit institute) but self-viability for the project and its overhead as soon as possible.
Under the supervision of the Bidtech application function, training of local leadership started in earnest. With the help of a comprehensive framework, Bidtech soon involved itself in a wide range of community concerns, including hog breeding, bamboo craft and other cottage industries, town square beautification, a community preschool, street theater, a town newspaper, and so on.
With failures reported as well as successes, and seeing no significant transformation in the town at large after several months, Bidtech management conducted a townwide meeting to assess the community's articulated needs and plans. Based partly on this four-day meeting, partly on outside expertise, and partly on the analysis of its own experience, Bancom and Bidtech management finally concluded that the only way to change the community significantly would be to touch its very lifeline, rice production. As a result, the field team concentrated its efforts on an outlying 60-family village of the town. With the introduction of technology, management, and motivation, it was able to triple rice production records and start to erase significant debts. The formula was gradually applied in other areas, and added income was used not only to cover all overhead but to support other community projects.
The case study traces the progress and difficulties of a private enterprise experiment in human settlement management, its organizational framework, information-reporting mechanisms, funding complexities, and attempts to apply sophisticated business management techniques to a rural environment. Various aspects of this experience illustrate sometimes correct and sometimes incorrect ways of handling key managerial issues in the integrated project cycle.
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xvi, 82 p.
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