THE Philippine government lauded the country’s contact center sector for helping lead the national recovery amid the ongoing pandemic.
In the “Government and Private Partnership: Road to Recovery” session of the ongoing Contact Islands ’21, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez recognized the Information Technology and Business Process Management’s (IT BPM) strength and resilience throughout the crisis, citing its achievement to maintain the country’s position as the destination of choice and outsourcing capital of the world.
“We were glad to observe that as early as the third quarter of last year and despite the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, the contact center industry had already shown signs of recovery by the end of 2020,” Lopez said. “Your sector has already posted a modest growth that is gradually rising over the previous months.”
For his part, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolutions (IATF) Chairperson Karlo Alexei Nograles also acknowledged the collaboration between the government and the IT-BPM industry during these challenging times.
“The IT-BPM industry continues to be the biggest job generator in the country—creating more than 1.32 million direct jobs and over 4 million indirect jobs,” he disclosed.
Nograles added that the industry’s growth prospects are in line with the government’s efforts on employment generation. “We count on the industry to open more job opportunities and expand in the countryside. The Filipino workers continue to be competitive in the global market amid the crucial and sustainable transition to the new normal,” he said.
Moreover, Lopez has assured that the government will continue to support the contact center sector and the entire IT-BPM industry as the country takes the road towards economic recovery. He underlined the inclusion of the industry as among the key priorities of the “Make It Happen in the Philippines” campaign.
Meanwhile, Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) Chairman Benedict Hernandez underlined the most crucial support provided by the government to IT-BPM firms.
“Our industry being classified as ‘essential’ early on during the pandemic was pivotal in protecting our ability to continue supporting our clients and keep our employees employed. This is one of the many examples where the DTI and the IATF, through the leadership of Sec. Lopez and Sec. Nograles, including other government agencies, supported us to ensure we had a way of continued operations while keeping employee safety as a primary priority,” he said.
CCAP President Jojo Uligan also expressed appreciation to the IATF and other related government agencies for “listening to the sector’s concerns and allowing contact centers to continue operations despite the community quarantine restrictions.”
“During the early stage of the pandemic, we were allowed to provide shuttle services and hotel accommodation to our employees so we can consistently deliver the requirements of our clients,” Uligan said, emphasizing that the sector’s main goal is also to protect the employees while their jobs are being protected at the same time.
The government has also adjusted protocols to allow more work-from-home arrangements in the sector. Through the inter-agency Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB), extension of such setups by up to 90 percent of the sector’s workforce has been approved.
In the end, Lopez expressed confidence that the contact center sector and the entire IT-BPM sector will keep its partnership with the government towards recovery from the pandemic.
“We in the government will continue to implement key recovery programs and reforms that will help our nation get back on its feet. These policies and initiatives will not only revitalize our economy but also empower the business sector and recover so that they can seize opportunities from the changing domestic and global demands.”