Twenty-five cities have been identified as the next potential growth centers of the information technology business process management (IT-BPM) industry.
Ray Untal, president of the Information Technology Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) estimates these cities could account for 30 to 60 percent of the 70,000 to 80,000 in direct employment every year or as much as 48,000 annually or 240,000 for a five-year period.
According to David Leechiu of Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), around P70 billion worth of investments will flow into these cities over the next five years as 40 percent of BPOs are poised to flock to these locations.
Digital Cities 2025, is a joint project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), IBPAP and LPC.
Untal said the partnership is embarking on this project amid the new coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
“We are not looking at it as a sprint but as a marathon through this four- to five-year journey,” he said.
According to Untal, the additional cities will for the next few years get support, including financial, from the DICT and other government agencies as well as the local government units, industry leaders and academic institutions.
Untal said interventions like institutional development, talent attraction, infrastructure and marketing and promotion will ensure progress of these cities.
DICT is tasked to ensure improved digital connectivity of these areas.
The cities were identified based on talent availability, infrastructure cost and business environment.
“The 25 new locations are potential areas for IT- BPM operations, will create jobs and spur development, de-risk Metro Manila and boost local economies in these locations,” Untal said.
The locations join 12 other BPO hubs identified as early as 2009, including Metro Manila.
According to Untal, IBPAP continues to motivate existing players to expand and for new ones to locate in the Philippines and tap these digital cities to facilitate growth and expansion.
“We are one of the few industries that have done relatively better; we were 50 percent productive during the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine). A few weeks ago, we have reached 85 percent. Obviously we have not returned to business as usual but we see pockets of growth driving business in the Philippines. This is a unique window for government and industry to take advantage of the crisis and develop countryside business continuity plan through these digital cities,” Untal said.
The additional locations guarantee the sustained strength of the country’s largest’ job creator and key foreign exchange source and will support the government’s Balik Probinsya Program for economic growth in the countryside.