PH seen as next 'dragon' in BPO industry

By Danny B. Dangcalan, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 06 2011 07:04 AM | Updated as of Jun 07 2011 12:22 AM

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The information technology – business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry in the Philippines is growing by about 25% a year, and investors see the country as the "next Asian dragon," Commissioner Ivan John Enrile Uy of the Commission on ICT (information and communications technology) said last week.

Uy said many of the world’s largest companies operate the biggest services centers in the Philippines, which is why the IT-BPO industry here continues to grow.

As of last year, the industry employed about 525,000 people and had generated more than US$9.1 billion in export revenues, he added.

Uy, who was in Bacolod for the Negros Occidental First ICT Summit last Thursday, lauded Bacolod for being cited as the 3rd Next Wave City in the Philippines and Tholons International's top 100th city in the world for outsourcing.

"That is a very, very good accomplishment for Bacolod to be ranked among the top 100th out of thousands of cities around the world," he said.

Uy foresees that with the support of local officials the growth of the IT-BPO industry in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City will progress very fast.

Uy said it is the goal of CICT to strengthen the readiness of cities and regions outside Metro Manila to become preferred destinations for IT-BPO investors.

"With this strategy, we will decongest Metro Manila, spread economic growth opportunities to other parts of the country, and capitalize on the abundant and globally competitive workforce available in many parts of the country," he said.

Approximately 20% of the IT-BPO industry is now located outside the main metropolitan areas of Manila and Cebu and this trend is expected to continue, he said.

The country is now witnessing the impact of the IT-BPO industry on rural communities, as other cities outside Metro Manila emerge as new IT-BPO hubs or the Next Wave Cities, he said.

Uy pointed out that Tholons, a renowned international research firm, in its 2010 Top 100 Cities in the World for Outsourcing ranked Manila as No. 4 and Cebu as No. 9.

The country's Next Wave Cities that also made it on the list, are Davao - No. 69, Sta. Rosa (Laguna) - No. 88, Iloilo - No. 98 and Bacolod - No. 100.

Meanwhile, Gov. Alfredo Marañon said the construction of IT buildings on lot properties owned by the Negros Occidental provincial government is expected to create about 41,000 new BPO jobs here.

SM Prime Holdings has proposed to put up 10 buildings for BPO companies on a provincial government property along Gatuslao St. that will provide 40,000 jobs, he said, adding that the buildings will surround a convention center that SM plans to build in the area along with two hotels.

The provincial government is also establishing the Negros First CyberPark, a mixed-used complex consisting of more than 12,000 square meters of space for BPO services at a three-story building to be built at the Paglaum Sports Complex, which will provide more than 1,000 jobs, he added.

Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg Occ., 3rd District), who was also at the summit, said he will help tap government resources for infrastructure and academic support for the IT-BPO industry.

Benitez also said he is supporting the efforts to create a Department of ICT, and the passage of bills to ensure data privacy and to curb cyber crime.