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BPO workshop reminds govt, groups of need to make Davao attractive to relocating companies Regions

By Manuel Cayon/ Reporter
Thursday, 13 August 2009 20:49
DAVAO CITY—A recent business-process outsourcing (BPO) workshop has highlighted the need for host cities in Mindanao and industry organizations to set up a fast and viable investment atmosphere—mainly information and communications technology infrastructure, talent pool and affordable power and real-estate rates—to attract relocating and incoming companies to the Philippines.

“Mindanao should be able to fast- track its efforts in creating a conducive environment for BPO investments that would zero in on infrastructure readiness and tapping its enormous talent pool,” according to a statement released by the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco), the government’s socioeconomic-planning body for Mindanao.

Industry leaders have been insisting to prepare these needs of the BPO industry, especially for a place like Mindanao, which has to compete with other areas and to overcome its image tainted with security concern in some parts of the island.

The Medco said industry experts have asked industry associations and the local government “to build on strengths that would make the city more attractive to BPO locators.”

“Abundant and low-cost real estate is spurring the growth of IT-BPO investments and this boom is fuelled by real demand with many potential investors asking for ready-now spaces at reasonable cost,” Medco quoted Lizabel Holganza, president of ICT Davao Inc., as saying.

Holganza said Manila and Cebu have been the premier areas of BPO investment due to their abundant IT parks that were registered and accredited with the Philippine Export Zone Authority (Peza), a main requirement of BPO locators.

Bert Barriga, ICT Davao external vice president, said Davao City, for instance, “must be able to increase the number of its Peza sites and making these sites attractive and viable investment locations.”

He added that “infrastructure, talent, cost of doing business and risk management are the major criteria the BPO locators are focusing on.” Barriga said Davao City should “increase its competitiveness in the major areas of the BPO scorecard” because, he said, “BPO locators cannot all converge in Metro Manila.”

Holganza said Mindanao “needs to capitalize on its large untapped absorptive capacity which can drive the IT-BPO development efforts.”

“The fact that Davao and all of Mindanao have a deep talent pool creates a big pull for potential locators,” she said. She added that the potential of this pool “must be clearly understood, delivering high-end outsourcing process such as knowledge process outsourcing and information technology outsourcing.”

Holganza said ICT Davao has started mapping out the 2015 projection for the demand for human resource in the different ICTs “as well as continuing collaborations with academe and technical-education providers in providing skills-enhancement programs that will close HR gaps.”

The workshop early this month also focused on security of infrastructure and transport systems, fiscal incentives and creating an ICT-friendly environment, energy demand and talent development, Medco said. A series of workshops was undertaken as part of the ICT Summit 2009-Convergence 2009 held last week here.

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