CEBU should work on developing its talent information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sustainably to improve its current ranking in Tholons 100, a key industry offial said.

Cebu City was identified the seventh best site in the world for outsourcing in 2016, up from last year’s eighth spot, dislodging Pune in India from the position.

Manila, on the other hand, remained on the second spot after Bangalore in India, which topped the list.

“(The challenge remains to be the) availability of talent due to high growth and the diverse industry reqirements. The industry must also be willing do its share in the talent cultivation through more academe-industry partnerships,” said Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedfit) managing director Jun Sa-a.

Sa-a pushed for trainings in the academe on higher-value services to attract more BPO investors in Cebu.

One vital way that has fostered local talent, according to Sa-a, is the development of Philippine IT General Certification Exam (Phil IT GCE), an assessment test for IT graduates, a program pioneered by Cedfit and initially funded by European IT Service Center. This was then sustained by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).

“We are very happy to see the fruits of our labor with the continued growth of the industry and receiving this international recognition from Tholons,” said Cebu Business Month 2016 chair Christian Paroan, echoing Sa-a’s statement.


According to Tholons, Cebu City has a healthy mix of services cutting across all three major service lines--information technology outsourcing (ITO), knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), and business process outsourcing (BPO). But it noted that Cebu has not been marketed enough, having a BPO-centric image in the global marketplace.

“Cebu should also work on its infrastructure like the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to have a more efficient mass transport system and avoid the Manila-like traffic gridlock,” added Sa-a.

For developers like Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI), it has expressed interest to develop another cyberzone project at the South Road Properties, following its present development Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu beside the Cebu IT Park in Apas, Cebu City.

Fuel for real estate

“(The Tholons report) is very encouraging indeed for investors like us to pour in more money into the outsourcing business. Our expansion works at our cyberzone is now in full swing,” said FLI vice president for strategic business development Allan Alfon in a text message.

The project is still in the planning stage, said Alfon, and this will be part of its City di Mare development at the South Road Properties in Cebu City.

Cebu Property Ventures Development Corp., developer of the Cebu IT Park, welcomed the news.

“As a pioneer in Cebu’s IT/BPO scene, we have seen this industry grow to be one of the main drivers of the city’s economy, employing thousands and generating millions in revenues each year,” said corporate communications manager Jeanette Japzon.

She said the city’s upgraded rank will help attract more investors to Cebu IT Park.

“To meet the continuing demand of this growing industry in Cebu, we currently have BPO offices in the pipeline in the next five years within our two Peza-accredited IT parks,” she added.

She identified the ongoing construction of eBloc 4 and Central Bloc at the Cebu IT Park and the CBP Corporate Tower and Tech Tower in Cebu Business Park.

Aside from Cebu and Manila, Tholons’ list is joined by seven other cities in the Philippines.

The newest entrant is Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, which took a huge leap this year to land on the 93rd spot.

Davao City climbed three notches to the 66th place. Sta. Rosa, Laguna moved a step to 81st and Bacolod in Negros Occidental is up also by a notch to 85. Iloilo is up one notch to 90th from 91st.

In addition, Baguio City went up by a notch from 95 to 94th place. Metro Clark moved up from 98 to 97.

Based on the Tholons report, the cities of India remained dominant. Bangalore maintained its top spot, followed by Mumbai ranking third, Delhi (fourth), Chennai (fifth),Hyderabad (sixth), and Pune (eighth).

Krakow, Poland is in the ninth place, and Dublin, Ireland is in the 10th spot.

Analysts expect revenues in the IT-BPM industry to overtake OFW remittances soon.

In 2014, OFW remittances reached $24 billion, while BPO revenues totaled $18.9 billion.

Projection by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that remittances will grow at a single-digit rate, while the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (ITBAP) forecasted the IT-BPM sector to grow by 15 to 18 percent in the next five years.