Monday, February 19, 2007

More jobs to the countryside as BPOs go regional

The Department of Trade and Industry Regional Operations Group hosted the Regional IT Hubs Forum as part of the government’s 7th e-Services Philippines (ESP) held at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, the annual platform to promote the country's world-class capabilities in IT and IT-enabled services.

The ESP Regional IT Hubs Forum presented ten IT hubs as premier locations for investors and locators of various BPO-oriented services: Bacolod City, Batangas, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Clark, Davao, Iloilo, Leyte, San Fernando (La Union), Sta. Rosa (Laguna), and Subic.

“Regions outside Metro Manila are becoming attractive for offshore e-Services as a result of improved infrastructure and abundance of IT capable manpower,” Trade Undersecretary for Regional Operations Carissa Cruz-Evangelista said.
The BPO sector, which employed 244,675 in 2006 is projected to grow to about one million in 2010. Last year, ESP generated US$ 20.7 million and hosted over 1,800 local and foreign trade visitors.

Three years ago, there were no e-Services companies operating outside Metro Manila. “But with the overflow of companies scouting for viable site for their operations, investors are seeing that the regions are profitable place for business activities,” Undersecretary Cruz-Evangelista said.

Presently, there are 45 business process outsourcing firms that are located in Bacolod, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, Leyte, Sta. Rosa and Clark. Firms operating in the regions include call center/customer care, medical transcription, software development, and animation/computer graphics. The number does not include BPOs that are doing business in Cebu and Dumaguete, which are also major areas for IT investments.

“Notable BPOs are now in the regions which include InfoNXX, ePLDT Ventus, Client Logic and Teletech. These are multi-million investments that translate to jobs that will further spur the development of the countryside,” Undersecretary Cruz- Evangelista said.

“With this development we are now seeing these regions developing as “Regional IT hubs” that will host more BPO firms,” the DTI Undersecretary said. Regional IT Hubs, provinces and cities capable of ICT investment, software and e-services, have proven attractive with the increase in the number of locators in areas outside of Metro Manila.

“With the development of real estate, IT infrastructure, and the highly-trainable and available human resources in the countryside, these regional IT hubs would provide tremendous economic activity to the provinces,” Cruz-Evangelista said.

“When businesses come in, we can see the improvement in quality of life from the provinces down to the barangays. It is important that our IT-competent cities and provinces be recognized in the global economy to encourage more investments in the countryside.”


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