Baguio in top 10 BPO destinations

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Monday, May 2, 2011


BAGUIO City is in the top ten preferred destinations of those in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, particularly for call centers.

Baguio was ranked 9th in the new wave cities, or cities where there is a mushrooming of call centers.

Commissioner Monchito Ibrahim of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) said the increasing number of BPOs in the country has made the Philippines reach the number one rank in the call center industry.

"India is still number one in BPO, but as far as call centers are concerned, the Philippines is now ranked number one," Ibrahim said, citing a 2010 data of the CICT.

Other forms of BPO include design and process delivery, transcription, animation and game development.

Ibrahim said Baguio still faces a lot of "challenges", reason it is in the bottom as per 2010 data of the CICT.

Compared to other cities, the cost of labor is far more expensive in Baguio City, where the wage rates are comparable to rates in Metro Manila.

However, he said agents and potential call center agents in Baguio are far more competitive compared to their counterparts in other regions.

Fluency in English is a leading factor why Baguio landed in the top 10.

The call center industry has had the Philippines earned $9 billion in revenues in 2010. This is a 26-percent growth compared to 2009, executive director of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) Raymond Lacdao said, adding 25,000 jobs were offered on the same year.

Filipinos are also leading in animation and game development. Sega and Gameloft are among the many games developed by Filipinos, Lacdao said.

"The Philippines has established itself as a mature destination. We have a high satisfaction rating and we are competitively well-positioned for leadership across key evaluation parameters," Lacdao said during a forum attended by individuals in the BPO industry, academe and some government and private employees.

In the BPPO roadmap, the Philippines is targeting to achieve P25 billion in revenues by 2016.

Other emerging BPO destinations and leading competitors of the Philippines are Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Poland and Romania.

The Philippines' edge among these countries is its skill in the English language.

Convergy's director Jomari Mercado said they are closely coordinating with universities for the training of students in conversational English.

"I ask the academe to encourage students and employees to speak in English. Regardless of whether they end up in a call center or not, fluency is needed because it is an international language," Mercado said.

On the other hand, Ibrahim said universities should begin including in their curriculum, at least in IT-related fields, conversational English. (Rimaliza Opiña)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 03, 2011.

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