UniTeam Senate bet Jinggoy Estrada advocates extended work-from-home set-up for BPO workers
MANILA, Philippines – Former senator and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino senatorial candidate Jinggoy Estrada appealed to the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) to extend the hybrid work set up of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies.
Estrada said an extension of at least six months would be sufficient for BPO firms and their employees to “adjust to new realities” and get back their bearings after almost two years of working from home.
To recall, the FIRB headed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, said BPO companies must require its workers to physically return to their workplaces by April 1, 2022 or lose the fiscal incentives they currently enjoy.
Estrada stressed, however, that while he understands the desire of the country’s economic managers to revive the Philippine economy, the country is still, technically, in a pandemic.
“We haven’t fully returned to normal. With traffic and high fuel prices, it’s still a challenge to commute to and from work. Likewise, BPO workers have to make adjustments in their respective homes especially on who will take care of their kids or sick relatives,” he said.
“BPO companies chose the Philippines and invested huge sums for their business operations. To be competitive, they need to be flexible and given a free hand to determine the best work model for their benefit, especially during the pandemic,” Estrada said.
The veteran lawmaker said BPO companies which are mostly technology-driven businesses need to be flexible and resilient to survive in the cut-throat BPO industry.
“Countries like India are our biggest competitors in the BPO sector. If they continue to allow work-from-home arrangements for their workers, why can’t we?” he asked.
Estrada said the alleged dip in consumer spending and low sales of convenience stores near offices are offset by household spending.
“Employees working in their homes need to eat, too, or buy clothes and other essentials. The demand just shifted from the convenience stores to grocery or food deliveries,” he said.
Apart from lawmakers, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), whose locators are mostly information technology-BPO firms had issued a similar call to lift the FIRB’s ultimatum.
The group said it is communicating with the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) to find ways of including work from home or a hybrid work model in the sector’s operation in the Philippines.
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