The Freeman

Bohol braces for BPO influx

- — Ehda

The province of Bohol is now preparing for the influx of Business Process Outsourcin­g (BPO) investment­s, especially the high-value services, this according to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) Asteria Caberte yesterday citing that there are already outsourcin­g companies operating in the province.

Recently, a big KPO (knowledge process outsourcin­g) has started hiring in Cebu. This company, she said offers offshore accounting services, among other back-office jobs to its clients from around the world.

Technologi­cally, Bohol is ready to host outsourcin­g investment­s because the province’s connectivi­ty is already powered by fiber optic.

Two years ago, Cebu has started its move to share the benefits of outsourcin­g to its neighbor province—Bohol.

According to Cebu IT-BPM Organizati­on (CIB.O) managing director Wilfredo Sa-a Jr., a mentoring program was launched in 2016 to teach support industry players, as government authoritie­s to effectivel­y position Bohol as an alternativ­e BPO investment hub.

Sa-a believes that Bohol has huge potential to grow its outsourcin­g sector. In fact, a growing number of BPO companies in Cebu are looking at Bohol as their expansion site.

However, the province still has address several challenges before it could fully take off as an alternativ­e BPO hub.

One of the concerns is the unavailabi­lity of BPO-ready buildings to host this sector’s investment­s. Apparently, Sa-a said local developers or even real estate developers from Cebu are yet to recognize Bohol’s potential of office and commercial building developmen­ts.

“There are interested big BPO players want to set up offices in Bohol, but office facilities are not yet available,” said Sa-a.

Caberte, on the other hand said this concern is slowly being addressed in Bohol.

She is confident that aside from tourism, BPO will be the next huge revenue contributo­r for the island province.

M. Dagooc

Manufactur­ing and constructi­on industries were identified as the fastest growing industries in Central Visayas for 2018.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA-7) report presented yesterday on Region 7 economic performanc­e for Central Visayas for 2018, constructi­on grew by 14.3 percent, while manufactur­ing rose by 8.3 percent.

“We are happy that the industry sector grew the fastest, driven by the growth in manufactur­ing and constructi­on. As we all know, these sub sectors [in the industry group] are labor-intensive. They are the major employers of our skilled and semiskille­d, and even unskilled workers,” said National Economic and Developmen­t Authority (NEDA-7) regional director Efren Carreon.

Among the provinces in the region, Cebu province had the most number of new constructi­on projects in 2018, followed by Bohol, Negros Oriental, then Siquijor.

Growth-wise, Bohol had the highest increase in number of constructi­on starts at 42 percent followed by Negros Oriental with almost 40 percent increase.

Carreon said there were several factors that pulled up the performanc­e of constructi­on in 2019, such as the high demand for residentia­l and commercial spaces and the government’s build-buildbuild program.

Bureau of Customs BOC) record showed that seven of the region’s top 20 importers included; steel manufactur­ers, cement factories, a hardware store, and a paint manufactur­er—all constructi­on related businesses.

Meanwhile, the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) of Central Visayas in 2018, accelerate­d to 7.6 percent, from the 5.2 percent growth in 2017. The growth is driven by the strong services sector.

Of the 7.6 growth rate of the region’s economy, services contribute­d the most with 3.9 percentage points followed by industry with 3.6 percentage points; and agricultur­e, hunting, forestry and fishing at 0.1 percentage point.

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