For 3rd time: Lipa City named to ‘next wave cities’ list for BPO sector

 

MANILA—For the third time, government and an industry association of firms in the business process outsourcing sector had included Lipa City in the group of “next wave cities” for the BPO sector.

The Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) had named eight cities in Luzon, including Lipa City, in the list of the Next Wave Cities for the growth of the country’s information technology and BPO sector.

Employees in the Lipa City “mega facility” of Alorica Philippines flash the company’s hand sign. Alorica, a US-based firm, is among ten business process outsourcing firms operating in the city, which remains among the ten Philippine “next wave cities” for the BPO sector. (photo by Virgil Sam Jamili Catajoy III, posted on Alorica Philippines’ Facebook page)

Employees in the Lipa City “mega facility” of Alorica Philippines flash the company’s hand sign. Alorica, a US-based firm, is among ten business process outsourcing firms operating in the city, which remains among the ten Philippine “next wave cities” for the BPO sector. (photo by Virgil Sam Jamili Catajoy III, posted on Alorica Philippines’ Facebook page)

Others in the list are the cities of Baguio (Benguet province), Cagayan de Oro (Misamis Oriental), Dagupan (Pangasinan), Dasmariñas (Cavite), Dumaguete (Negros Occidental), Malolos (Bulacan), Naga (Camarines Sur) and Sta. Rosa (Laguna) and the municipality of Taytay in Rizal.

While Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao are the top hubs of the BPO sector in the country, four areas in the NWC list —Lipa City included— are at least 1.5 hours away from Manila by land.

Lipa was first named in the NWC list in 2009 and 2012. The cities of Baguio, Dumaguete, Iloilo and Lipa, as well as a cluster of cities and municipalities in Metro Bulacan (Baliuag, Calumpit, Malolos City and Marilao towns and Meycauayan City), Metro Cavite (Bacoor Dasmariñas City and Imus cities), Metro Laguna (Calamba and Sta. Rosa cities and Los Baños town), Metro Naga (Naga City and Pili) and Metro Rizal (Antipolo City and Cainta, and Taytay towns), wer eon the 2012 list.

The 2016 list also showed what DOST-ICTO and IBPAP call the “New emerging locations.” Batangas City, the capital of Batangas province, is part of the said list that includes the cities of Balaga (Bataan province), Iriga (Camarines  Sur), Laoag (Ilocos Norte), Legazpi (Albay), Puerto Princesa (Palawan), Roxas (Capiz), Tarlac (Tarlac), Tuguegarao (Cagayan) and Zamboanga.

The next wave cities are assessed based on a scorecard that carries four criteria: talent availability (40 percent), infrastructure (30), business environment (20) and cost (10). Talent availability was assessed given a city’s number of graduates that are within the 25-kilometer radius from the city concerned.

Lipa City, a 78 km.-drive from Manila, has long been the site of US-based firm Alorica, whose Alorica Philippines is the company’s largest BPO site in the Philippines. The Standard quoted Alorica senior vice president for operations Colleen Beers as saying the firm claims to currently have 2,500 agents in Lipa.

Other BPO firms operating in Lipa are TeleTech Customer Care Management Philippines Inc., Alorica Philippines Inc., Tele-Accent Call Center Solutions Inc., Bubu IT Solutions Inc., Lasting Line Contact Center Inc., Primary Care Management Inc., Clear To Close Services Inc., SPT Business Resources Inc., Maestro Systems Technologies and The Results Companies.

Fatima Lourdes del Prado, a research specialist at the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS, a government thinktank), wrote in a 2015 paper that Metro Manila and Cebu houses 70 percent of BPO service providers. This “prolonged concentration” of BPO activities in these two areas “can lead to saturation problems.”

And since the Philippines is a global leader in the BPO industry (together with India), the Philippine BPO sector is finding, or had found, cities and high-income municipalities where companies can set up shop.

“Significant growth is expected in the next best alternative areas dubbed as the ‘Next Wave’ cities,” del Prado wrote. “The wealth of talent outside (Metro) Manila… could propel the transition toward higher-value services.”

The IT-BPO sector has a 1.071 million workforce and had earned some US$18.9 billion at the end of 2014, making the sector the second-highest dollar earner of the country behind overseas Filipinos’ remittances.

 

 

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About JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO