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Freeman Cebu Business

IT/BPO sector hopes new admin supports hybrid work arrangement

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Information Technology/Business Process Outsourcing (IT/BPO) sector in Cebu calls on the new administration to make hybrid working set-up permanent.

This will be one of the topics to be tackled in the upcoming “Go Tech Cebu; A round table discussion and summit” on June 16, 2022, as part of the Cebu Business Month (CBM 2022) events.

According to Joslyn Canon, CBM 2022 vice chairperson, the issue on hybrid work arrangement as allowed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) only until September 2022, is one of the hottest topics in the industry right now, as most IT/BPM companies are projecting that hybrid working arrangement is here to stay.

Canon, who is also the director for community relations at Qualfon Philippines Inc., hopes that the new administration will consider the appeal of stakeholders to allow IT/BPM or PEZA-registered companies to continue implementing hybrid work arrangement permanently.

Early last month, PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza announced that the agency is accepting applications from PEZA-registered IT-BPOs and Registered Business Enterprises (RBEs) for the hybrid work arrangement.

PEZA-registered IT-BPOs and RBEs that cannot immediately return to office (RTO) even after April 1, 2022 can request a Letter of Authority (LOA) from PEZA with the needed requirements.

According Plaza, this hybrid work setup is allowed until September 12, 2022 only, the declared end of the state of (the COVID-19) calamity by President Rodrigo Duterte.

IT-BPO companies and RBEs intending to avail this work arrangement shall individually apply by sending their applications to PEZA.

Plaza noted that “PEZA’s work from home (WFH) scheme for its registered IT-BPOs and RBEs has been conceptualized even before the passage of Republic Act No. 11165 also known as the Telecommuting Act in 20 December 2018.”

“PEZA, therefore, is just restoring back to the regular ratio of not more than 30% domestic sales allowance and WFH work ratio. PEZA is giving the institutionalization of the hybrid work scheme to include DOLE’s protection, safety, and security of tenure of workers engaged in the virtual or WFH schemes to the next administration,” explained Plaza.

As of December 2021, PEZA has 1,274 IT locator companies operating in 297 IT centers/parks and providing 1,017,559 jobs nationwide with exports of US$ 15.797 Billion.

The IT-BPO industry has been one of the major contributors and frontliners in keeping the nation’s economy afloat. The WFH arrangement is proven effective and working as seen in the performance of the IT-BPO in these continuing crises hitting the country and the world.

Prior to the pandemic, the IT-BPO sector is already performing well. Despite the global recession in 2020, IT-BPO sector in the Philippines grew by 1.8 percent in 2020, creating 23,000 jobs. This brought the total industry headcount in the country to 1.32 million. The sector also recorded revenues amounting to $26.7 billion—a 1.4 percent jump from 2019.

The IT/BPM is one of the four sectors highlighted by this year’s CBM celebration.

BPO

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