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Zamboanga’s first contact center opens

Monday, August 10, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]


ZAMBOANGA CITY — This city’s first contact center is expected to be fully operational today.

At the inauguration of e.AXS Communications, Inc. on Saturday, guests, who were mostly government officials and local businessmen, said the city is now in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry map.

Eric L. Laviña II, e.AXS Communications chief information officer, told BusinessWorld the company is owned by Zamboanga City-based investors who want to pioneer in business process outsourcing (BPO).

From an initial 50 seats, voice-based services will expand to more than 200 seats within the year in a three-story building located in the village of Tetuan, just several kilometers away from the city’s central business district.

Jamela Anne V. Galindez, e.AXS Communications chief operating officer, said services would eventually expand from voice-based such as inbound and outbound sales and back-office operations to more complex tasks such as software programming and Web site development.

"We are confident of human resources here," she said. Company officials were in fact impressed at the skills of fresh graduates from local schools and universities, she added.

Brenda Nazareth-Manzano, regional director of the Science and Technology department here, told BusinessWorld this city has a number of software programmers, animators, and workers in medical transcription, all "home-based."

Cornelia Victolerio, BPO investment specialist of the United States-funded Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM), said this city has the potential of being a BPO hub, along with other key cities in Mindanao.

Ms. Galindez said the call center has at least three clients from abroad — two in the US and one in Canada. "There are five other companies in the pipeline," she said.

With the Chavacano dialect widely used in this city, agents will also be trained in Spanish, she said. — Darwin T. Wee

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