Senatorial candidate and incumbent Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero urged business process outsourcing (BPO) companies to consider setting up more offices in Mindanao to boost employment in the region.
Escudero noted that the BPO industry was the most resilient during the pandemic, creating 23,000 new jobs in 2020 while other businesses laid-off workers or shut down entirely.
“Perhaps we can give them incentives to bring their businesses to Mindanao and provide more jobs there.”
“BPOs have shown that they are nearly crisis-proof, which means they are the best sources of employment. Perhaps we can give them incentives to bring their businesses to Mindanao and provide more jobs there,” he said.
As of January 2022, 6.4% of the Philippines’ working-age population were unemployed, translating to 2.93 million jobless Filipinos, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao registered the lowest labor force participation rate (LFPR) at 55.6%, meaning at least one in two people were unemployed.
The Zamboanga Peninsula and Davao regions were not far behind with 60% and 59.5% LFPR, respectively. The poorest provinces are also in Mindanao.
“If we can extend the employment opportunities to Mindanao then we can make economic recovery more inclusive.”
“We recognize the valuable contribution of BPOs to the country’s economy, but like all other industries, their presence is concentrated in Luzon. If we can extend the employment opportunities to Mindanao then we can make economic recovery more inclusive,” Escudero, a veteran legislator, said.
The BPO industry employs some 1.3 million Filipinos, but only 27% or about 350,000 are based in the provinces, according to the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines.
BPOs posted revenue of $26.7 billion in 2020, and this is expected to grow to $29 billion in 2022.
“We hope the 160,000 jobs that the BPO industry expects to create by 2022 would not be limited to Luzon or Visayas. Maybe local government units can work with BPO companies for job matching and skills development so we can spread out employment opportunities across the regions,” said Escudero, the only governor who is seeking a Senate seat.