Former OFW shows the Filipino can in IT

July 08, 2019

David Almirol Jr. obtained his degree in Computer Science major in Information Science at the University of Cordilleras in 2002. From being a janitor to an overseas Filipino worker handling electronics at the US military camp in Iraq - thereafter as their "de facto programmer" - David Almirol Jr. returned home to the Philippines eight years after and founded what would become one of the top hardware and software development companies in the country as its CEO. His story tells what grit, passion, and vision combined can do in empowering Filipino talent and the local industry.

Inside the Multinational Village in Parañaque City, in a cluster of buildings that look like modern residential structures, are the likenesses of Iron Man in all sizes.

Although there is a smattering of other superheroes, Iron Man has pride of place.

David Almirol Jr. admits he is a huge fan of this Avenger and collects different action figures of the superhero.

It seems somewhat appropriate though to put Iron Man at center stage in a place where high-technology work is done 24/7.

After all, Tony Stark, Iron Man's alter ego, is, arguably, the most technology savvy of The Avengers.

The Multinational Village enclave is base camp for Multisys, hardware and software developer that is bringing cutting-edge technologies to make companies and government agencies perform more efficiently and effectively and ease the lives of the public they serve.

Having kept a low profile in its eight years of existence, most people may not know its name, but in this age of high-technology banking, retail, communications, when services and products are brought within arm's reach through laptops, tablets and smartphones, they will most likely be using one or more of Multisys' products and services as it expands its coverage.

Its recent partnership with telecommunication and digital services provider Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. will sharpen the focus of the systems solutions firm on eight industries to support PLDT's goal to revolutionize Philippine industries through massive technology adoption.

Almirol, Multisys chief executive officer, calls it "a marriage between infrastructure and software."

PLDT chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan explains the company's investment of P2.15 billion in Multisys: "As we shift from being a telecommunications company towards becoming a full-scale digital services provider, our partnership with Multisys becomes progressively ever more important."

Almirol says Multisys "is in a very strong position to apply its values of speed, efficiency and accuracy to help Philippine companies, big and small, to keep up with the ongoing global digital transformation."

With Multisys, companies can outsource technology development and customize systems, he says, as he points out that it is expensive to maintain a full complement IT unit, not to mention how difficult it is to hire people with the right skills and the commitment to the job.

Almirol knows full well the value of having the right person for the job, with the skills and commitment.

The former overseas Filipino worker (OFW), although a graduate of computer science from the University of the Cordilleras, started as a janitor and had other jobs before handling electronics at the US military Camp Fallujah in Iraq.

Many good programmers came and went to service the military's computer systems and Almirol says he took advantage of their visits and learned from them, becoming the de facto resident programmer.

He laughingly recalls that when a computer broke down in the camp, they would ask for that "small guy with spiked hair who could fix everything."

His skills earned him a job offer in the United States but, with his small savings, he decided to come home and started a modest computer retailing company and doing freelance programming work by himself.

In 2015, he had made enough money to assemble his own team, choosing people who were efficient and committed.

Almirol says his experience taught him that people do not need to go abroad to improve their lives.

"Ang pera pala nandito (The money is here)," if people find the right job, he says.

Almirol shows this to his employees by paying them well and providing a lot of fringe benefits.

A good job and commitment are rewarded, with performance bonuses handed out every month.

At the headquarters, employees get free board and lodging so they can avoid the long commute.

Sports facilities are at their disposal and group activities to boost morale and strengthen team spirit are organized.

Multisys currently has 200 employees, 75 of whom are elite full-stack programmers creating and running systems solutions for various industries and companies.

No 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule here as Almirol realizes programmers have to find their own rhythm.

Almirol says Multisys' deep bench of both young and seasoned IT professionals provides the company with more than enough ammunition to drive both business for the company and results for its customers.

Some of Multisys products and services are MeCom, a copyrighted platform that provides linkages to e-commerce systems across different channels, integrating e-commerce channels and can unify as a payment gateway provider, and UBOX, another copyrighted platform, that lets power, water and cable utility companies handle extensive data whether accounts, financials and consumer reports.

HealthBox is a copyrighted platform for health care services to manage operation of hospitals, electronic medical records, schedule of doctors, integration of wellness partners, health management organizations and pharmacies, while the copyrighted MeGov for government online services may be used for online registration, renewal and appointment and has the capability to support paperless transactions and streamline government processes.

StoreBox, on the other hand, is a copyrighted platform designed for entrepreneurs who need online selling, inventory and sale services.

At eight years old, Multisys is solid proof that the Filipino can, and that, given the right job, more than decent salaries and incentives, he/she would rather stay home than risk life and limb seeking higher wages abroad.

Article by Linda B. Bolido, published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 7, 2019 issue. | Retrieved from Inquirer.net

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