CEBU has become more than just a call center destination, as non-voice operations outnumbered the voice operations in the number of business process outsourcing and IT companies at the end of 2012 showed.

Data gathered by the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 showed that of the 98 BPO and IT companies operating in Cebu, 32 offer voice operations while 66 companies operating here offer non-voice operations. Non-voice operations also employ more workers. Of the 95,000 employed by the industry, more than half or 50,000 are in the non-voice sector.

Neda 7 Assistant Director Efren Carreon said Central Visayas can become the lead in BPO operations by 2016.

He cited that the region’s growth in IT-BPO revenues was 26.9 percent at $484 million, while nationally, the industry grew 18.2 percent at $13 billion.

The industry has been one of the main drivers of the country’s economy, feeding the high demand for housing, retail, food and beverage and transportation.

Carreon said the average BPO worker earns P20,000. He noted that with 95,000 of them earning that amount, it is no wonder the economy of Cebu is doing well.

Though Cebu dominates BPO operations in the region, neighboring provinces of Negros Oriental and Bohol have also begun to get a slice of the market.

Some 6,000 workers are employed in four voice companies and eight non-voice companies operating in Negros Oriental. In Bohol, there were 18 companies offering both voice and non-voice operations, employing 120 workers at the end of 2012.

After Cebu emerged in the top 10 cities for outsourcing list by Tholons, Dumaguete City has been listed as one of the next wave cities for BPO and IT.

The data was derived from the Cebu Investment Promotions Center, the ICT Association of Dumaguete and Negros Oriental and the Department of Trade and Industry in Bohol.

As to the performance of information technology parks and centers in Cebu, figures the NEDA 7 got from the Philippine Export Zone Authority showed 39,297 were directly employed in these parks and centers.

Though the amount in investments was not available, data showed that companies in these centers alone exported $484.07 million and imported $9.003 million. Companies operating in IT parks and centers in Cebu posted net trade of $475.07 million.