PEZA urged to speed up accreditations
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has been urged to expedite the accreditation of economic zones in business process outsourcing (BPO) hubs like Cebu to sustain the industry's growth.

Global realtor Colliers International on Thursday said after a sluggish 2017, BPO firms have ramped up office space take-up in 2018 and it believes that the robust demand will be sustained by an ample supply of PEZA-proclaimed IT parks and buildings.

Colliers, in a statement, said it has observed delays in PEZA proclamations in the first three quarters of the year which might impede the expansion of the sector in 2019.

In Cebu alone, economic zones which have pending PEZA approval totaled 20,000 square meters in gross leasable area (GLA) as of the third quarter of 2018, Colliers said, citing PEZA data.

The government has so far approved 36 out of the 78 PEZA IT Center and Park applications. This represents an approval rate of 46%. In 2016, a total of 4 PEZA applications were approved. In 2017, 26 applications were approved with 11 proclamations released in the last quarter of last year alone. In the first nine months of 2018, however, only six applications were approved. A single application has yet to be approved this quarter.

Of the 36 buildings and IT parks granted PEZA status, 21 are in Metro Manila while the remaining 15 are in areas outside of the country’s capital, such as Cebu, Bataan, Bulacan and Laguna.

Cebu has remained a preferred outsourcing hub outside the capital despite struggling to regain a Top 10 spot in the Tholons’ Super Cities survey for the most attractive global outsourcing destinations.

This year, Cebu ranked 11th in the survey from 12th last year. In 2016, it ranked 8th.

Colliers was seeing more companies taking up space within Cebu’s established and emerging business districts such as Cebu IT Park, Cebu Business Park, Mactan Newtown and Mandaue, if it manages to rise up in the ranking,

Several initiatives by both public and private stakeholders should help improve Cebu’s ranking in future polls. "Done efficiently, these programs should propel Cebu back to the Top 10 of the annual survey of most competitive outsourcing destinations," the consultancy firm had noted.

“Cebu is no longer just an alternative location for outsourcing firms outside Manila. Over the past few years, we have seen how Cebu has developed on its own as a primary outsourcing hub,” said Dom Fredrick Andaya, Colliers' director for office services, had said. (FREEMAN)

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