For Robredo, BPOs should embrace work-from-home as part of 'better normal'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2022 07:00 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2022 07:12 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo meets with her team before the Presidential Debate, CNN Philippines, Quadricentennial Pavilion, University of Sto. Tomas (UST) on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.
Vice President Leni Robredo meets with her team before the Presidential Debate, CNN Philippines, Quadricentennial Pavilion, University of Sto. Tomas (UST) on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday said government should offer incentives that would encourage the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry to keep work-from-home arrangements. 

Robredo said in her recent consultations with BPO workers, they said the remote working set-up was "safer" and "more preferable."

"Remote working should really be seen not merely as a stop-gap solution but as an aspect of the better normal that needs to be embraced," she said at a virtual roundtable with information technology and BPO leaders. 

She said the Philippines needs to "institutionalize remote working arrangements" and "do away with outdated restrictions" that bar digital work. 

"Part of this is also encouraging and incentivizing companies to allot alternative or flexible working arrangements and expanding, of course, IT hubs to our provinces and next-level cities," Robredo said. 

Plummeting coronavirus infections have prompted government to place Metro Manila and 38 other areas under the least strict of 5 pandemic alert levels from March 1, which will allow workplaces to operate up to 100 percent of their onsite capacity. 

Robredo acknowledged the shift to remote work required "faster and more reliable electricity and internet services all over the country." 
 
"Definitely, digital infrastructure will be the cornerstone of the next administration should we be given the opportunity to lead it," said Robredo, who is eyeing the presidency in May's elections. 

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Robredo said government also needed to "step up to the task of ensuring and protecting the welfare of IT-BPM workers."

She said this meant "safer and more commuter-friendly transportation systems" for workers who need to report on-site and ensuring that they have access to services despite their graveyard shift. 

The education system should also hone skills required by the BPO industry, she said. 

"When I was in Cebu, this was also one of the things that were discussed with me... Kinukuwento nila na even 'yung mga IT students natin ang pinag-aaralan na mga software, hindi naman 'yung ginagamit," Robredo said. 

(They shared that even IT students, the software they are studying is not the one being used.) 

"'Yong (the) bottomline really is, your industry is powered by very talented, dedicated Filipinos. And one of the roles of government is really to provide the necessary systems and infrastructure so that their talents and their dedication is harnessed to the fullest," said Robredo.