BPAP, DOST tag 10 next wave cities for IT-BPO

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 11 2012 07:56 AM | Updated as of Dec 11 2012 03:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) and major industry players have identified the next wave of cities that could host the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) companies.

Gillian Virata, senior executive director of Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), said in a statement that industry players and the DOST-ICTO identified locations to host IT-BPO companies compared to more popular and established hubs in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Clark.

Virata said the country’s top 10 next wave cities include Davao, Sta. Rosa in Laguna, Bacolod, Iloilo, Metro Cavite (Bacoor, Imus, and Dasmariñas), Lipa in Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Malolos in Bulacan, Baguio, and Dumaguete.

“While the Philippine IT-BPO industry continues to expand, it acknowledges the crucial role of next wave cities in enabling and supporting industry growth. Aside from being a rich source of untapped talent, these locations also present attractive options compared with more popular and established IT-BPO hubs,” Virata said.

Currently included in the scorecard are 34 cities and municipalities assessed to be collective “metro” areas.

Outside of the main hubs and top-10 NWCs, IT-BPO companies could also explore other potential locations such as Iligan, Zamboanga, General Santos, Leyte, Laoag, Bohol, Legazpi City, and other provinces in Central and Southern Luzon.

“There is so much more untapped potential in areas outside Metro Manila. The Next Wave Cities are part of the solution in terms of providing talent. They are central to expanding economic growth beyond Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Clark. IT-BPO can make a difference in the lives of the people and these opportunities just need to be made known and available to them,” Virata said.

The next wave cities are assessed based on indicators selected by BPAP and DOST-ICTO for a tool called the Next Wave Citiestm Scorecard. Data is updated annually and a report is published on the 10 best cities and municipalities based on the scorecard.

The scorecard is a tool to measure the suitability of a location to host IT-BPO operations wherein locations are assessed on the basis of availability of talent and relevant infrastructure, connectivity through fiber-optic of other telecommunications networks, accessibility, cost of related factor inputs, and the business environment including vulnerability to natural disturbances and issues related to security and safety.

He pointed out that talent is a key indicator for a location’s potential to be a credible IT-BPO hub.

While Metro Manila produces the greatest number of university graduates, he explained that 75 percent or over 350,000 annual graduates come from schools outside Metro Manila.

These numbers, according to him, prompted industry stakeholders to take a second look at potential locations outside of Metro Manila and enhance their potential in attracting global clients and foreign investment.

“The IT-BPO industry is aware that the next wave of growth must involve alternative locations. The aim of the new wave cities program is to help ease the inflationary pressures brought about by concentration of recruitment and office space for IT-BPOs within Metro Manila,” Virata said.