‘Speed up approval of IT building applications’
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - February 2, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu business process outsourcing stakeholders are hoping that the government will hasten the approval of IT building applications in order to push industry growth.


Cebu IT BPM.Organization (Cib.O) managing director Wilfredo Sa-a made the remarks after it was known that only a few applications were approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) lately.

“We just hope that we can come up with solutions to hasten things,” said Sa-a, referring to new application for PEZA incentives of newly completed buildings.

Likewise, Colliers International Philippines encouraged the government to expedite the approval of PEZA applications to sustain the outsourcing sector’s growth. After a sluggish 2017, BPO firms have ramped up office space take up in 2018.

Colliers believes that the robust demand will be sustained by an ample supply of PEZA-proclaimed IT parks and buildings.

Outsourcing companies’ office space absorption accelerated in the first three quarters of 2018.

The BPO firms, including call centers and KPOs which provide higher-value services, accounted for 42 percent of the 1.14 million square meters of transactions recorded from January to September 2018.

Bulk of these companies are the same firms that held off expansion plans in 2017 due to safety and security issues, Trump’s anti-outsourcing rhetoric, and concerns on the availability of PEZA-proclaimed office buildings.

But the aggressive approval of PEZA applications towards the end of 2017 resulted in a strong take-up of office space from outsourcing firms.

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

The current administration has so far approved 36 out of the 78 PEZA IT Center and Park applications. This represents an approval rate of 46 percent.

In 2016, a total of 4 PEZA applications were approved. In 2017, 26 applications were approved with 11 proclamations released in 4Q2017 alone.

In the first nine months of 2018, however, only six applications were approved. A single application has yet to be approved for 2019. — JMD

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