‘BPO Day’ on April 1 in Cebu City

‘BPO Day’ on April 1 in Cebu City
File photo

HAVING contributed billions of pesos to the economy of Cebu City, the City Council moves to honor the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry.

On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, a public consultation was held at the Doña Eva Macaraeg Macapagal Hall at the City Hall for the proposed “Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) Industry Day Ordinance of 2023” authored by City Councilor Pancrasio Esparis.

In his speech, Esparis said the industry has pulled the city’s economy from faltering during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

He said the industry remained operational through a work-from-home (WFH) setup when the majority of business and commercial establishments were closed.

Until today, he said, the industry employs thousands of Cebuanos and continuously contributes to the City’s coffers, therefore it has to be recognized.

“Dili na ma-ihap ang mga ekonomikanhon kinabuhi ang nausab tungod sa BPO industry,” Esparis said.

(Countless economic lives have been changed because of it.)

Under the proposed ordinance, Cebu City will commemorate the celebration of BPO Day on April 1, citing that it was the day when the National Government allowed workers to return to work on-site despite health restrictions due to the pandemic back in 2020.

The celebration shall be organized by the Department of Manpower Development and Placement.

During the public hearing, Hazel Aguisanda, Concentrix Philippines executive director, said that in her 20 years of stay in Cebu, it was the first time the Cebu City Government recognized their industry.

She said Concentrix employs around 10,000 employees in Cebu alone.

She said the recognition will open up more collaborative initiatives between the industry and the City Government, including adjacent towns and cities, to contribute more to the growing economy of Cebu.

“We are privileged and grateful for the formal recognition that the council has afforded. So look forward to more productive years,” Aguisanda said.

However, Cebu Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) Organization vice president Darwin John Moises suggested celebrating BPO Day on March 28 instead, which was the first day the lockdown, or the enhanced community quarantine, was implemented.

On that day, the industry shifted to a WFH setup that allowed its workers to continue their operations, he said.

He also suggested naming the celebration as the IT-BPM Day.

He said the industry has evolved to various services and processes, aside from the usual call or contact centers at the Cebu IT Park in Barangay Apas, Cebu City.

“Just for the numbers, there are over 300 companies already in the IT-BPM space, employing around 200,000 people, and if we are to include in the measure for indirect employment that is about 550,000 people,” Moises said.

The proposed ordinance has not yet passed its third and final reading to become an official ordinance.

The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, the trade body and advocacy group for the IT-BPM industry, emphasized the importance of continued investment in various areas to achieve the country’s target of 2.5 million full-time workers and US$59 billion in revenue by 2028.

These investments must be made in real estate, infrastructure, reliable network connectivity and stable baseload power supply. Stakeholders also advocate for increased investments in road, rail and air connectivity to facilitate seamless logistics operations.

With an increasing number of businesses adopting hybrid work models, the roadmap emphasizes the importance of reliable and affordable network connectivity in residential areas. / EHP


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