DESPITE being challenged by the pandemic, the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry continues to thrive under the new normal supported by the leeway granted by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).
Cebu IT-BPM Organization Foundation Inc (Cib.O) president Gregg Gabison said at the early part of the pandemic, the IT- BPM industry continued to operate but at a reduced level.
“This is due to the social distancing requirement, and as a result operations dropped to about 50 percent in the physical workspace,” he said.
On May 19, during a conference with Peza Director Charito Plaza, the agency allowed the industry to operate at as high as 90 percent work from home (WFH) set-up instead of a 70 percent cap.
“This increased the popularity of WFH. This was covered under Peza’s board resolution 20-124. Specifically, it was the suspension of the existing 30 percent limit on the work from home arrangement, giving way to the 90 percent cap on the WFH until December 2020,” Gabison said.
The 90 percent cap was extended under Peza Board Resolution 330 until Sept. 12, 2021 in consonance with the proclamation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s extending the state of calamity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Additional Peza tax incentives like tax deductibles on hotel, food and other Covid-19 expenses and the support to pop-up sites outside urban centers helped the IT-BPM companies to sustain operations despite being challenged by Covid, he said.
Based on a recent list by the Peza, Cebu City is home to more than 400 IT-BPM locators with an industry estimate of around 170,000 directly-employed individuals as of December 2019.
The income generated through direct employment is estimated at P33.2 billion annually, with an added P53 billion from indirectly employed individuals.
This brings the income contributed by the outsourcing industry to about P86.2 billion per year in the local economy.
In September 2020, Peza recorded that the IT-BPM sector was 83 percent operational.
Gabison also highlighted that the pandemic paved the way for innovations in the industry.
He said a big BPM company established four mini pop-up sites outside of Cebu City in Danao, Liloan, Consolacion and Talisay.
“This is to accommodate their employees coming from that area. This is another innovation that brought job opportunities closer to Cebu,” he said. / JOB