THE number of employed call center agents in Bacolod City increased to 18,000 as of December 2013, figures from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) showed.

Bacolod City Lone District Representative Evelio Leonardia said the growth of the call center industry in the city in the last nine years elevated Bacolod as one of the four “Centers of Excellence in Communication and Information Technology” in the country together with Manila, Clark and Cebu.

Leonardia showed the figures during the recent visit to the city of

Johan Eriksson, world president and chief executive officer of Transcom Worldwide, one of the major call centers operating in the city.

The lawamaker said Transcom is one of the companies that dared locate in the city, even against the advice of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) believing that the city was not yet ready to host major call centers at that time.

Now with 18,000 agents, Bacolod has become a member of the elite league that hosts the country’s major call centers, Leonardia said.

International consulting firm Jones Lang La Salle also reported that Bacolod has 18,000 Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) jobs as of 2013 and about 9,000 square meters of space utilized for IT-BPM work.

Other major call center companies operating in Bacolod include Convergys, Teleperformance, Teletech, and PanAsiatic Solutions, pouring in almost P1.3 billion annually into the city's economy, according to the Next Wave Cities 2010-2011 report. (NLG)