A Digital city 2025 program was launched online by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), and Leechiu Property Consultants, Inc. (LPC) in hopes to redirect opportunities towards the countryside. The government identified 25 new cities for outsourcing development in hopes to attract an estimate of 70 billion investment for the next few years. The five-year program will prioritize internet connectivity and digital education for the pool of talents. The project will put efforts on the reskilling of area graduates to be a better fit in the outsourcing workforce. IBPAP will also help promote the cities to potential investors and boost career awareness in the area.
The said program is a rebranding of the DICT’s New Wave Cities. These cities are projected to attract 40% of all BPO’s that will expand within the country. The program aims to make the chosen city be more BPO friendly to generate a higher rate of employment. The cities were chosen based on parameters identified as priorities for investors, talent availability, infrastructure, cost, and business environment. However, IBPAP is trimming down the program of upskilling employees this year due to the pandemic. they will only be training a thousand participants instead of the initial target of 4,000 to 5,000 participants.
A 5 billion-peso annual budget was included in a bill that is still pending in the Senate. A partnership with TESDA is also seen as they aim to tailor-fit programs with the BPO sector and other high-skill sectors. Last year, the government placed a moratorium on economic zone approval in Metro Manila encouraging more development in the countryside. The private partner aims to push the BPO sector throughout the Philippines. But to be able to do that, they must help major cities such as Manila, grow as well.
The 25 areas are: Balanga City, Batangas City, Cabanatuan City, Dagupan City, General Santos City, Iligan City, Iriga City, Laguna Cluster (San Pablo, Calamba, and Los Baños), Laoag City, Legazpi City, Malolos City, Metro Cavite (Bacoor City, Imus, and General Trias), Metro Rizal (Taytay, Cainta, and Antipolo City), Olongapo City, Puerto Princesa City, Roxas City, San Fernando City (La Union), San Fernando City (Pampanga), San Jose Del Monte City, Tacloban City, Tagbilaran City, Tarlac City, Tuguegarao City, Urdaneta City, and Zamboanga City.
The business outsourcing industry in the Philippines has grown annually since 2006. As of last year, there are currently 788 large and SME’s business processing and outsourcing companies in all parts of the country including in Mindanao. It holds a large portion of the global outsourcing market due to its English proficient workers. They also hold giant multinational clients in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. These are just some reasons why most choose to offshore in the country. Cutting labor costs optimize the business process and increasing the revenue are other reasons to contract in the Philippines.