The Outsourcing Week in Review: Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Welcome to Inside Outsourcing: The Outsourcing Week in Review

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

One year after the first lockdown, Metro Manila and four neighbouring provinces (Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna) are again under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) starting March 22 until April 4.

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the areas’ mobility restrictions will be tightened, curfews and liquor bans enforced, restaurants are allowed outdoor dining only, and businesses are encouraged to adopt alternative work arrangements. In addition, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 suspended international entry into the country from March 20 to April 19, including foreigners and Filipino citizens – with some exemptions. Arrivals into the country will also be limited to 1,500 people per day.

Business groups are not happy with the renewed restrictions, stating that “the economy cannot sustain another lockdown even for just a few weeks,” according to the president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Sergio Ortiz-Luis. He went on to say that the “government has abdicated its responsibility to protect the people and to provide for their needs.” The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry voiced its concern that the lockdowns may force businesses to temporarily close and furlough workers.

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The Philippines is set to receive around 2.3 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses by end of March to early April 2021, said vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. To promote efficient use of these vaccines, OCTA Research Group suggests the prioritization of mass inoculation in Metro Manila and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon Province). OCTA Research fellow Guido David said, “the trade and economic center [are] here, if we control virus cases in NCR, we can control the pandemic in the whole country.” However, Moody’s Analytics has curbed optimism for any reasonable resolution, predicting that the country may not achieve herd immunity until 2023.

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In other news, investment promotions agency Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) approved over P13 billion worth of investments this March. The agency approved 33 new projects for the month alone, which is set to provide 2,447 job opportunities for Filipino workers. As a word of advice for investors, PEZA Director General Charito Plaza encouraged existing locators near “danger zones,” like the active Taal Volcano in Batangas, to look for safer cities. Plaza cited Quezon, Laguna, and Cavite as viable options.

With the almost chaotic COVID situation in Metro Manila, businesses are encouraged to consider the business districts in provinces. As an example, global outsourcing provider IBEX recently announced the opening of its second contact center in the popular tourist island, Bohol – its eighth branch in the Philippines. Ibex’s second Bohol site will hire over 1,300 employees, and is scheduled to launch on April 15. According to CEO Bob Dechant, Bohol “has become a key pillar in our BPO 2.0 strategy,” as it “offers a highly educated talent pool, and it’s quickly becoming the digital customer support engine for some of the world’s leading brands.”

In Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas has now implemented random COVID testing of call center employees in the city “to be proactive” and “to ensure the safety of everyone.” Treñas enacted the random COVID screening in part response to an outbreak of 89 HGS employees testing positive in recent days. Iloilo is becoming a hotspot for outsourcing and currently houses 35 Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms.

Despite the tough times, global BPO services provider Accenture reported $12.1 billion in revenues for the second quarter of fiscal 2021, which is an eight per cent increase from the same period last year. Operating income for the quarter increased 11 per cent, to $1.65 billion. Due to this, the firm announced a one-time bonus for its employees below the managing director. According to CEO Julie Sweet, the bonus “recognizes the exceptional contributions and dedication of all Accenture people to its clients during this challenging year.

Philippine representatives are currently in talks with Latin American counterparts to discuss opportunities in the film and television production industry. Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Head and Commercial Counsellor Vichael Angelo D. Roaring noted that they are “opening up a new frontier for the Philippine Creative sector,” and noted that “Philippine content has had a good market reception in countries like the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru.” Anyone up for a Peruvian sequel to Outsourced the movie? (yes, there really was an outsourcing movie)

Overseas, new hiring restrictions in Haryana, India, sparked criticism from investors and business groups, when the state government mandated a rule that 75 per cent of employees should be Haryana residents of at least five years’ standing. The announcement received immediate criticism, with companies saying that they “need flexibility to choose the most suitable workers for their operations.” The state has a strong outsourcing sector, and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies), the Indian IT-BPM association, has come out in strong opposition to the mandate. The Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy Managing Director Mahesh Vyas also stated that this restriction would be “very counterproductive” and “likely to drive new investment away from states that adopt them.”

>>> Got any burning news? Share your industry hot scoops and company press releases with Inside Outsourcing – the world’s leading outsourcing news hub.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

NEWS THIS WEEK

 

23 March 2021

22 March 2021

  • NCR, Calabarzon vaccination should be prioritized – OCTA – read article…
  • Biz groups oppose lockdown, says gov’t passes responsibility to its citizens – read article…
  • Metro Manila, 4 other provinces back to GCQ until April 4 – read article…

19 March 2021

  • Accenture revenue grows 8%, offers bonus to employees – read article…
  • New hiring restrictions in Haryana met with criticisms from investors – read article…
  • Random testing now required for Iloilo call centers – read article…
  • PEZA OKs P13bn worth of ecozone investments for March – read article…

18 March 2021

  • PEZA to develop defense ecozones by end of Duterte admin – read article…
  • PH economy ‘worst performing’ in ASEAN – IBON – read article…
  • PH ‘not likely’ to achieve herd immunity until 2023 – read article…

17 March 2021

  • IBEX opens 8th PH site in Bohol – read article…
  • PH to receive over 2M additional COVID-19 vaccines by April – read article…
  • Foreigners, non-OFWs, banned PH entry from March 20 to April 19 – read article…
  • PEZA to identify ecozones “further away from danger zones” – read article…

Read more Inside Outsourcing Newsletters here:

  1. The Outsourcing Week in Review: March 17, 2021
  2. The Outsourcing Week in Review: March 31, 2021

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