PEZA to appeal denial of work from home extension

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2022 12:34 PM

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MANILA – One of the Philippines' main investment promotion agencies said Friday it will appeal the government's decision disallowing work-from-home setups for business process outsourcing workers until the end of September. 

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority said government’s decision to disallow IT-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) employees from working from home is ‘abrupt,’ stressing that the industry has helped the economy grow despite working remotely during the pandemic.

PEZA Director-General Charito Booc said Russia-Ukraine tensions were not yet that heated when the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) denied their appeal to continue working remotely.

She said Metro Manila was not yet under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 at that time.

“Eh kasi itong ating work from home, this is nationwide...so, how about yung mga ano, mga IT-BPO outside Metro Manila, yung hindi pa level 1? Pababalikin rin ba namin? Hindi pwede, masyadong abrupt ‘no. Masyadong abrupt yung denial," she said.

“Pangalawa nga na rason na mag-appeal kami for extension, kasi nga itong nangyaring giyera eh tumaas yung gasoline, yung cost ng transportation, so ito yung gusto natin na ma-address kaagad."

Booc said they will appeal to the FIRB on Friday to allow them to work from home until June 30, the last day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

She noted that the IT-BPO sector greatly contributed to the economy during the pandemic, with its employees working safely from home.

“In fact yung work from home na ginawa ng PEZA ay patuloy at mas lalong lumago nga yung income eh, yung export service income. Kasi concentrated--walang takot ang mga workers natin dahil work from home nga sila. Hindi sila nae-expose sa mga biyahe, sa mga pagpunta sa kanilang mga opisina,” she explained.

Booc also noted that a lot of IT-BPO companies have already made investments in helping their employees work remotely by providing with laptops and internet connectivity. 

“Tapos yung iba ngang mga IT-BPO natin, nagre-rent ‘no, inallow namin sila na magoccupy ng mga building na hindi PEZA-registered para lang tuloy-tuloy yung trabaho. Kasi hindi lahat ng bahay ay maganda yung mga signal.”

“So we allowed the IT-BPO companies pwede silang magrent temporarily ng mga IT buildings or mga schools, some are even renting mga schools ‘no, na may mga computer laboratory.”

The IT and BPO Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) has pushed for a hybrid work set up that would provide a balance between working on-site or from anywhere to retain the Philippines' competitiveness in the BPO industry.

--TeleRadyo, 18 March 2022