Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Councilor backs BPO bill

BAGUIO is backing a measure that seeks the protection of all Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) workers.

Councilor Art Allad-iw, in a resolution, has put his full support on House Bill 156, 661, 2233, 4629, 5728 and other bills ensuring the welfare and protection of BPO workers in the Philippines.

"We support the legislations as we need a law that would protect the rights of BPO workers, particularly on the security of tenure and rights to unionize like that of other workers," Allad-iw said, adding the bills reassert the prescribed labor standards set forth in the Labor Code and institutionalize additional benefits that would hopefully address specific work-related problems and issues peculiar to the nature of BPO work.

They seek to safeguard the welfare and interest of the BPO workers, he said.

BPO is one of the fastest growing and dynamic industries in the world now. In Asia, the Philippines emerged as one of the major players in the BPO industry and this is expected to continue and grow in coming years.

Without question, the BPO industry plays a major role in the economy of the nation and the livelihoods of millions of Filipinos. But while the BPO sector gives us all of these benefits, there is an urgent need to balance the legitimate business interest of BPO industries with the labor rights of employees.

"We have BPO workers in Baguio whose rights on security of tenure and other labor rights are allegedly trampled upon, we really need a national legislation specifically for their protection. Remember that the city hosts various BPO centers, and we have received issues about their conditions. Hence a national law would address their concerns," Allad-iw said.

The councilor said there is a need to bring Philippine laws up to date with regard to this vital new industry and an urgent action to protect the labor rights and welfare of the greatest asset of the IT-BPO industry -- its workers.

BPO firms have set up in the city at the central business district as well as within the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza)-registered economic zones, the Baguio City Economic Zone, John hay Special Tourism Economic Zone, and SM City Cyberzone Building employing thousands.

In Baguio City, there are at least 13,000 BPO workers.

A debacle between Sitel Philippines Baguio and disgruntled workers was put into light last year, bringing the plight of workers into the limelight and the attention of the City Council.

Workers then formed a group in a bid to protect themselves from alleged illegal dismissals and other labor issues.

A local ordinance was also penned by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog with Allad-iw Leandro Yangot Jr. Joel Alangsab, Faustino Olowan and Benny Bomogao. It was titled: "Protecting the Rights, welfare and safety of employees in the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector in the City of Baguio" and aims to give added assurance to regular employees.


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