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Zamboanga City eyes BPO industry

Posted on May 7, 2014

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Zamboanga Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council is strengthening its campaign to attract business process outsourcing (BPO) firms to come to this city.

Louell Felix G. Saavedra, president of the local ICT council said Zamboanga has the potential to become a major BPO destination in Mindanao.

“The Department of Science and Technology through its ICT office in Manila has identified cities outside National Capital Region with potential to attract BPO firms,” Mr. Saavedra said.

“They found out that Zamboanga City qualifies as BPO destination based on certain criteria,” he said.

Mr. Saavedra, however, noted the new measures that would be adopted by the local ICT council is still being drafted in coordination with other groups, specifically the business chamber and the city government.

About a dozen major BPO firms have already established offices in Davao City, Mindanao’s current center of trade and commerce at the eastern part of the island, and several others operate in Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao.

Local ICT sources noted it would just be a matter of time before big names put up their offices here although that would depend a lot on the city’s security situation.

“We have call centers in the city, although we are starting small at this point of time, but we are already getting attention from outside investors,” Mr. Saavedra said.

Even as local officials both from the local government and the private sector have criticized the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Mr. Saavedra admitted the council has recorded a spike of inquiries from potential BPO investors after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in March.

“Our foreign partners have seen the potential benefits in operating here after the CAB signing, some of them have already inquired about the local government’s tax incentives,” he said.

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