TRADE Secretary Ramon Lopez has assured the contact center sector and the entire information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) of government’s continued support as the country takes the road towards economic recovery.
Speaking before the stakeholders during the virtual Contact Islands 2021 conference, Lopez said the industry is among the key priorities of the “Make It Happen in the Philippines” campaign.
He recognized the IT-BPM’s strength and resilience throughout the crisis, citing its achievement in maintaining the country’s position as the destination of choice and outsourcing capital of the world.
“We were glad to observe that as early as the third quarter of last year and despite the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, the contact center industry had already shown signs of recovery by the end of 2020,” Lopez said. “Your sector has already posted a modest growth that is gradually rising over the previous months.”
The “Make It Happen in the Philippines” campaign is the unified country branding campaign of the Philippines’ investment promotion agencies in promoting the country as an investment destination.
Besides the IT-BPM sector, the campaign will also include electronics, automotive, aerospace and copper sectors.
In the same conference, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) chairman Karlo Alexei Nograles also acknowledged the collaboration between the government and the IT-BPM industry during these challenging times.
“The IT-BPM industry continues to be the biggest job generator in the country—creating more than 1.32 million direct jobs and over four million indirect jobs,” he said.
Nograles added that the industry’s growth prospects are in line with the government’s efforts on employment generation.
“We count on the industry to open more job opportunities and expand in the countryside. The Filipino workers continue to be competitive in the global market amid the crucial and sustainable transition to the new normal,” he said.
Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) chairman Benedict Hernandez underlined the most crucial support provided by the government to IT-BPM firms.
“Our industry being classified as ‘essential’ early on during the pandemic was pivotal in protecting our ability to continue supporting our clients and keep our employees employed,” he said.
The government has adjusted protocols to allow more work-from-home arrangements in the sector. Through the inter-agency Fiscal Incentives Review Board, extension of such setups by up to 90 percent of the sector’s workforce had been approved.
The Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) also deferred the BIR Revenue Regulation 09-2021 which imposes 12 percent VAT on transactions of exporters.
To support the continued growth of the industry, Hernandez emphasized the need of having policy frameworks that are attuned in the the present time.
“Our policy framework needs to be equally agile and dynamic. Right now, a lot of our policies are dated or slow to move or not necessarily cognizant to what is going on IT-BPM wise around the globe. We need a policy framework that can be as dynamic as the needs of the industry,” said Hernandez, adding that the repercussions of the pandemic in the way the sector operates are “just moving so fast.”
He also raised that the industry needs a long-term solution to the hybrid setup.
Moreover, Hernandez also cited the need for the country to boost its infrastructure development. While the telcos have been ramping up the fiber-to-home connection, Hernandez said there’s a lot more catching-up to be done because of the rapid shift of data traffic to residential.
“What we need is for infrastructure in the Philippines to enable its people to be more productive,” he said.
CCAP is composed of 130-member companies, employing at least 800,000 workers in the IT-BPM space. (KOC)