Determined to usher into the province the rapidly growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, Gov. Edgar M. Chatto sat down in a meeting with the Chairperson of the Commission of Information and Communications Technology (CICT), Atty. Ivan John E. Uy on Sunday.
Following recent announcements that the province now has the capacity to hold at least 10,500 call center seats in the island, the governor together with the Bohol Information and Communications Technology Council, telecommunications representatives, and representatives from the universities in Bohol has come up with immediate strategies towards this direction.
With the completion of the installation of a new fiber optic system that opens the entire province to investors in the industry, Bohol’s BPO scorecard shows that Bohol is now merely 2 points shy of the needed 70 – 100 points in order to qualify as BPO site. The BPO Scorecard includes requirements in talent, infrastructure, cost and business environment.
The CICT Chair made clear to the Bohol ICT Council the daunting task that the province is faced with. “Bohol is blessed to have a visionary leader who aims to put Bohol in the world map. The bigger challenge is that everybody else wants to be on it,” said Atty. Uy.
A report from IBM released in October of 2010 said the Philippines had surpassed India as the global leader in business process outsourcing in terms of the number of people each country employed in the sector. The Philippines also bypassed India in terms of call center revenues with $5.5B last year compared with India’s $5.3B, reported the CICT head.
The BPO industry with $9B in revenue is the second largest contributor of the country’s Gross National Product (GNP), second to Overseas Filipino Workers Remittances with $16B. The BPO has been growing fast since it began in 2000 from $0 to $9B in revenue for 2010, employing up to half a million individuals. It is estimated to increase to $25B in 2016 and even at its worst, still rise to $15B.
Eager to jump in the bandwagon as with neighboring provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental and even Camarines Sur, the Provincial Government along with the Bohol ICT Council has outlined immediate steps geared towards aggressive promotions. ICT Briefings for the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Provincial Board, as well as PEZA briefing with local developers in the city and municipalities alike, including data gathering have been scheduled for January.
Data gathering comprises an inventory of Boholanos working in the BPO industry as well as an inventory of graduates for the past five years, in addition to data on enrollment in and graduation of students in specific ICT and BPO related courses. In fact, the Bohol ICT Council has put up a website for registration for BPO-employed Boholanos at http://www.bictc.org/2011-01-survey.html
The province shall then host an ICT Summit in February and accordingly do benchmarking activities and focused group discussions to identify BPO target market in March. March until May shall also see to the preparations for the e-Services Exhibition in June.
Atty. Uy also stressed the importance of synergy in order to take advantage of the many marketing opportunities available, stating that the ICT Council, the academe, the technology providers, and the government must have a pro-active approach in its quest to be one of the Next Wave Cities. He encourages the presence of academic institutions in ICT action plans to be able to hone the correct skills and talents for the needs of the industry, further citing human capital as Bohol’s most important asset.
As previously reported, the governor has directed TESDA head Francisca Opog to allocate portion of available funds towards a skills training program specific to the BPO industry. The ICT council believes that increasing manpower availability shall ultimately increase the province’s BPO scorecard as Bohol already scored fairly well in the infrastructure, cost, and business environment criteria.
Gov. Chatto is bent on championing this ICT direction to ease up unemployment and consequently stimulate economic activity in the province. (Leah/EDCom)