MANILA - The Fiscal Incentives Review Board on Thursday said the reported extension of the work-from-home arrangement for the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is still up for discussion.
Finance Assistant Secretary and FIRB Secretariat Head Juvy Danofrata in a statement said the move to extend the WFH arrangement beyond Sept. 12 would need the approval of the Cabinet-level interagency body through a resolution.
A resolution seeking to extend the remote arrangement should be anchored on the State of Calamity or a declaration of the President of an exceptional circumstance with Rule 23 of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) law IRR as the prevailing legal basis.
"The FIRB Secretariat is already coordinating with the Board of Investments (BOI) in studying options to allow the WFH arrangements for the PEZA’s locators in the IT-BPM sector," the statement said.
The matter will be deliberated in FIRB's next meeting in mid-September, the official said.
The FIRB earlier ordered the return to office of IT-BPM and BPO workers in April 2022. Some firms have secured a Letter of Authority (LOA) to extend the setup until September.
“To date, the current and effective resolution issued by the FIRB states that the WFH arrangement for the IT-BPM companies within the ecozones is only until September 12, 2022,” said Danofrata.
The FIRB said it submitted a position paper to FIRB Board Benjamin Diokno stating that the Philippine Economic Zone Authority's (PEZA) decision to extend the WFH arrangement of the sector until March 2023 "lacks legal basis."
Meanwhile, IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president Jack Madrid and other stakeholders are pushing for a hybrid work setup in order to keep the country's competitiveness.