SEVERAL business groups have expressed interest in engaging in a multi-billion-dollar investment to build the proposed Call Center City at the South Road Properties at no cost to the Cebu City Government.
In a Facebook post last Tuesday, Mayor Tomas Osmeña said that based on their initial discussion, the investors said all they ask for in return is the income from the rentals for fast food outlets and convenient stores.
“Call Center City will happen. It will probably be the last thing I do with my productive life,” he said.
Prior to his news conference yesterday, some members of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry paid the mayor a visit to express their support for the proposed project.
Among the visitors was a BPO executive who asked for anonymity. Osmeña said that he can’t disclose the names of the interested investors at the moment, as the plan may be sabotaged before it is even realized.
“I will not mention because we have that crab mentality here and they will make intrigues. Many companies are interested not because they love Cebu, but because it’s a good business,” he said.
Although it will be cheaper for the City to build the project alone, Osmeña said he prefers to let the private sector take part to avoid complications with the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The mayor said the BPO city is of “very high” priority because this will partially replace the City’s college scholarship program.
He said he wants the agents to continue with their schooling and to make it convenient, classes for undergraduate and graduate studies will be made available in the same building where the employee is working. The project is expected to produce at least 30,000 masters degree holders annually.
Aside from making Cebu City have the most educated working professionals in the country and opening at least 150,000 job vacancies, Call Center City is aimed at helping the urban poor community as well.
Osmeña said that while stressed out BPO agents are working, out-of-school youth trained by the City Government will be available for back massage services.
This way, the more than 5,000 out-of-school youth in the city will be kept away from vices and help out the community.
“I really don’t like to send people abroad. That’s why were opening livelihood here. We are reinventing the BPO industry,” Osmeña said.