Derek Gallimore talks with Mike Cubos of Bangon Pilipinas Outsourcing (BPO) Partylist, the first party-list representing the outsourcing industry. Mike is also the founder of Performance360 Global Services and Overcode Technologies in Cebu.
in this episode, Derek and Mike will discuss the motivation behind building the first party-list for the industry. They will tackle the group’s platforms that will push outsourcing forward and how they will help improve the country’s economy.
Mike’s involvement in the BPO industry
Mike started as a technical support agent for Palm under Sykes Asia in 2003. He carved his career from there, going into “most of the roles in the operations.”
Mike currently has several BPO companies: Performance360 Global Services, his first call center established in 2010, and Overcode Technologies, a software outsourcing and staff leasing firm.
According to Mike, setting up his own call center “was a rollercoaster” in 2010. Having no mentor nor network in the industry, it took him six years to “figure everything out” and gain profits from his business.
Cebu outsourcing industry for the past two years
How BPOs fared during the pandemic
Per Mike, Performance360 was “about to scale” when the pandemic hit. He added that around 20% of his clients “filed chapter 11 bankruptcy,” causing him to downscale his employees.
Most of these clients came from the food industry which, as Mike believes, were either forced to shut down or venture into another industry. Meanwhile, his clients on the technology side were “ramping up.”
Compared to other call centers in Cebu, Performance360 adjusted quickly with remote working. This is since they have rooted from their experience as a virtual company back in 2010.
BPOs in Cebu took “months to adjust” from remote working during the pandemic. While some closed down completely, others went on operation amid the lockdowns.
The BPO industry amid Typhoon Odette
Mike recalled that everything, including the outsourcing industry, was on the brink of recovery when Typhoon Odette hit. Call centers were mostly affected with the majority of their agents working from home. The typhoon destroyed homes, infrastructures, and even connections in the area.
Luckily, clients were “very supportive… [and] understood the situation” they were in. Several of his agents, meanwhile, were “outside the path of the storm” so they shifted their workload to them.
A look at the BPO Partylist
Mike’s motivation in creating the BPO Partylist lies in “[ensuring] sustainability in [the BPO] industry.”
Mike believes that outsourcing is “the only industry that can provide millions of jobs for the next three to six years.” He added that the government can help with the marketing and talent training to boost the industry further.
According to Mike, displaced workers from other industries cannot go to the BPO industry due to a “huge skill gap.” With this, he proposes “at least 100 hours of training for all displaced workers” in several fields such as customer service and sales.
Another thing he proposes is having a “one-stop-shop” for the outsourcing industry. This would make it easier for companies to file compliances in government agencies such as DTI, PEZA, and LGUs.
At the same time, he recognizes the lack of hands-on knowledge and experience on legislators, especially the Congress. This is why he aims to have someone from the industry become a representative for the sector.
Getting awareness and support from the industry
With the election less than 100 days away, Mike is not wasting time to raise awareness and support from the industry.
Mike planned his first 30 days to spend on “raising awareness” about the party list. He wanted the sector to become aware that a BPO organization has “made it into a ballot” out of the previous ones that did not.
The party-list currently talks with ICT organizations and lobbies supporters from Cebu and Mindanao, even in the provinces. Recently, per Mike, they garnered support from two large groups with a total of around 600,000 people.
BPO Partylist’s platforms
Mike detailed some of the party list’s platforms.
The BPO Partylist aims to ensure “free internet” for the entire Philippines, including the far-flung provinces without any mobile signal.
Being involved in technology himself, Mike understands that setting up IT infrastructures in the country would take billions of investment. However, the DICT “will always have budget cuts”
The party-list has started this initiative by setting up a satellite internet to Camotes island, a remote location east of Cebu.
BPO accelerator program
Aside from connectivity, the party-list pushes for a BPO accelerator program to produce Filipino entrepreneurs catering to the industry.
Per Mike, the Philippines needs a “homegrown BPO” that will join the ranks of Wipro, Sutherland, and other foreign BPO companies with worldwide reach. Yet, Filipino entrepreneurs looking to start an outsourcing company with the “lack of program on [setting up] a BPO.”
With this, the group pushes for a national program “where each city can produce at least one graduate” in a year. Mike is confident that this move will give entrepreneurs “a higher chance to succeed” on their BPOs.
Should this happen, the government can “partner with private entities” to create modules and courses. They will then subsidize a portion of the costs needed in setting up the program as long as it produces graduates that will pursue building an outsourcing firm.
BPO Partylist on the freelance economy
The BPO Partylist also recognizes “the role of digital jobs” in the economy. With at least two to three million freelancers in the country, Mike agrees that freelancers “should be supported and protected” at their work.
Yet, the Freelance Protection Act being pushed in legislation “does not [include] online freelancing.”
Mike believes that freelancers “need to collaborate with their government” to succeed further. This is why he pushes for the government to “create a special office to cater their needs.” Further, Mike says that the jobs the industry will generate helps the local economies to grow.
Learn more about Mike and the BPO Partylist by sending an email to [email protected].