The Outsourcing Week in Review: Thursday, June 10, 2021

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Welcome to Inside Outsourcing: The Outsourcing Week in Review

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The Philippine government has started the mass vaccination of essential workers, including all outsourcing industry employees, this week. 

In a taped message, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the vaccination of the ‘A4’ priority group is a “major milestone” in the fight against the pandemic. However, due to the limited vaccine supply though, workers in Metro Manila and other key economic hubs will be prioritized. The A4 sector consists of private employees, government employees, self-employed workers, and workers in the informal sector. Workers in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector fall under this category. 

In line with this rollout, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), in collaboration with Project Balik Buhay (PBB), has announced that they will vaccinate all 265,797 Visayas economic zones employees for free. More great news! 

Further, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is proposing the inclusion of Work From Home (WFH) employees in the A4 priority sector. In a briefing, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said it’s his advocacy to include WFH employees in the A4 cluster. Bello noted that this will benefit around 16,000 WFH workers in Metro Manila. 

The Labor Department is choosing to look at the current situation’s silver lining. During the ceremonial vaccination rollout for essential workers, Bello was optimistic for the country’s economic recovery since an increased number of Filipinos are going back to work. With the mass vaccination, the DOLE Secretary is hoping that more companies would be able to reopen and re-employ workers.

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‘Approved’ Foreign Investments (FI) in the first quarter of the year declined by 32.9% compared to the same period last year. According to the data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Q1 2021 reported P19.55 billion approved investments, a disappointingly large decline from last year’s P29.14 billion. Out of the six boards, only the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) attracted more foreign investments in this period. It’s worth noting that ‘Approved’ investments are not actual investments, they are merely pledges by foreign entities, which may hopefully convert in the near future. 

The Outsource Accelerator (OA) platform generated a record number of inbound outsourcing inquiries for May – climbing 50% from the previous month’s record! In May, the outsourcing platform generated 605 inquiries for an estimated combined value of US$51 million representing 1,701 full-time jobs. However, Derek Gallimore, Outsource Accelerator CEO, pointed out that the quality of inquiry had dramatically dropped for the period.  This prompted the platform to make quick adjustments to course-correct back to better quality engagements.  The platform has since instituted a validation score and quality score for every inquiry, and initiated a more intense quality analysis process.  The OA platform is looking forward to higher quality leads this June!

>>> FULL REPORT: Read the full May Outsourcing Performance report

To further attract high-value investments, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has now adopted the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan (SIPP) framework, which determines the perks for key industries eligible under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law. In a statement, the Department of Finance (DoF) said industries will be classified into three tiers, depending on their “ability to make high-value and labor-intensive investments that will create more jobs and boost the country’s competitiveness.”

This week, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) announced that Emirati multinational logistics company DubaiPort World (DP World) has recently invested in a big-ticket barge terminal in partnership with an ecozone developer located in Cavite. DP World is the latest Philippine ecozone investor from the Middle East. PEZA Director General Charito Plaza revealed that there are other serious leads in the region, especially from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The United States government is set to distribute an initial 25 million of its excess COVID-19 vaccines to lower-income countries, including the Philippines. According to the US plan, it will donate around 19 million doses to the global vaccine initiative COVAX. The Philippines has requested at least three million doses of the US’ surplus COVID-19 vaccines. 

In other vaccine updates, fully vaccinated travelers coming to the Philippines can now shorten their quarantine period from 14 days to just one week. However, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolutions (IATF) will still impose a two-week quarantine period to the countries with travel restrictions, like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

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For a quick update on our friendly foes, the POGOs: The Senate has approved a bill that seeks to impose new tax liabilities on the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs). Once enacted, the tax tweak is projected to raise P28.7 billion in additional revenue this 2021, and P32 billion next year. If, they pay. Stay tuned.

In local BPO news, 403 employees of a Davao City-based outsourcing company tested positive for COVID-19. The BPO, which has not been named reportedly has 1,000 employees in total. According to the city’s health officer, the workers are already placed under lockdown, and the authorities are continuing to test those who had close contact with the infected employees. This an unfortunate situation for our Davao outsourcing colleagues, we at Inside Outsourcing wish all those affected a speedy recovery.

Overseas, South African BPO firm iContact BPO received two ISO certifications for its entire call center operations. Through these certifications, CEO Clinton Cohen explained that “clients are reassured that they are working with a BPO partner with a clear, objective commitment to continued improvement and control over our information security and quality management processes that align with global best practices.” Great job, iContact!

In addition, BPO powerhouse Concentrix is looking to double its workforce in Jamaica, as it plans to hire 1,000 additional employees over the next six months. This shows exciting times for Jamaica as an emerging outsourcing hub! Last month, the Outsource Accelerator Newshub reported that another global BPO firm, ibex, is also set to expand its employee workforce in the Caribbean island nation.

With the vaccine push prioritizing workers, it looks like we might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Congratulations to a generally positive week for everyone – and our thoughts are with Davao.

 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

NEWS THIS WEEK

 

9 June 2021

8 June 2021

7 June 2021

  • India’s FDI rose to $81.72bn from last year’s $74.39bn – read article…
  • 260K ecozone workers in Visayas to be vaccinated for free – read article…
  • Fully vaccinated travelers’ quarantine period now shortened to seven days – read article…
  • US to donate 25M COVID-19 vaccine jabs to PH, other Asian countries – read article…

4 June 2021

3 June 2021

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