The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) are gearing up for a strategic and industry-led partnership in attracting foreign direct investments in the country.
PEZA director general Tereso Panga and his team met recently with IBPAP president and CEO Jack Madrid and some of the IBPAP officials to discuss areas for active collaboration and strategic alliance for the creation of plans on effective investment attraction and facilitation in line with the goals of PEZA, the industry, and the whole government.
“We really want to thank IBPAP and the IT industry for all the support to PEZA and huge contributions to the country’s local and national development. Indeed, the IT is an indispensable industry helping us grow the economy and it is about time that we give back to the industry to be able to achieve its one million jobs target by 2028,” Panga said.
“Two of our goals are aligned with each other. Just like PEZA, we have the responsibility for delivering employment and export service revenues to the country,” Madrid said.
Madrid, meanwhile, cited concerns of the IT-BPO industry with infrastructure and the implementation of the work-from-home.
“We have a severe talent demand-supply gap… We need to address our talent crisis. [Surely, we are a country with rich pool of talent and] the result of that is many people want to continue to invest [in the Philippines]. But increasingly, the challenge is not the cost — it’s the people,” Madrid said.
He added, “We now live in a world where being able to work remotely is important. It’s also the reason of people who are overconcentrated in the Philippines, they are also beginning to diversify outside. But for many [IBPAP] members, we’re still their main handler, but the main message here is the mismatch and the supply and demand of talent.”
Panga shared that PEZA is cooperating with the ongoing initiative of USAID to ready the Filipino workforce in preparation for the Industry 4.0.
“We are involving all our locators in the USAID survey and once this is done, we can work together with other stakeholders to invest in workforce training and institutional capacity building to narrow the jobs gap and address the critical skills shortage. We want to have the same parallel track for the IT industry,” Panga said.
As of 2022, there are a total of 1,582 IT-BPO industry activities registered in PEZA which generated a total of P337.593 billion investments, and 1,095,622 direct jobs.
In 2022 alone, the IT-BPO sector contributed about $17.005 billion in exports.
For Q1 2023, PEZA has approved a total of six projects from the IT sector which is expected to bring P105.546 million investments, $8.932 million exports, and 624 direct jobs.
Through this collaboration, PEZA and IBPAP remain bullish to achieve both of its 10% target for the year and contribute to the overall growth and development of the industry and the country in general.
Madrid also said they are eyeing more IT park developers and IT locator companies to expand operations in the provinces which constitute 40% of current total IT investments nationwide, and with Metro Manila still registering an annual uptake of 500,000 sqm of office spaces.
Panga further noted that, “As our strategy, we will venture into new IT investment opportunities and follow thru the leads from PBBM’s state and working visits to other countries to promote PH as the smart destination in the region.”