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Subic lures BPO investors, cites ICT readiness

By Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) Updated August 06, 2012 12:00 AM

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is enticing call centers to locate in Subic Freeport, citing its excellent facilities for business process outsourcing (BPO) operations.

In an assembly meeting of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia expressed optimism that Subic Bay will become “ the next place to be for information and communication technology (ICT) businesses in the country.”

Garcia, who was invited by BPAP and CCAP president Benedict Hernandez to talk about the advantages of investing in Subic, also said the BPO industry continues to grow in the Philippines with Subic likely to be a major ICT destination.

 “BPO is the most vibrant industry in the country today. And Subic is now ready to accommodate you as we gear towards becoming ICT hub,” Garcia said.

He said Subic has complete ICT facilities “in an environment where you will love to stay.” Proof of this is the 44 BPO locators now in Subic Bay, which altogether employ some 2,400 call center agents, he added.

Garcia said Subic now enjoys three-way global connectivity, a link from fiber-optic cable network to satellite transmission system, and microwave uplink services needed to set up an international call center.

Most of all, he said the free port zone has a 116-MW power plant, supplying the national grid and is working to have a switch for this plant to supply the freeport to ensure continuous and steady power supply should the grid go down.

To accommodate more BPO locators, Garcia is offering a former assembly building of computer-maker Wistron Infocomm Philippines inside the Gateway Park, an industrial estate managed by the Subic Bay Development and Management Corp.

The building has plenty of office space in a 10-hectare lot and is located near the Freeport’s Central Business District, Garcia said.

Garcia also advised the BPO executives that they can source out manpower elsewhere to fill up the seats for their call centerprojects.

“You offer good jobs in one of the best places in the country and you will attract people to come with you to Subic,” he said.

Garcia explained that because of the expected influx of thousands of BPO workers in Subic, the SBMA is planning to build a workers’ dormitory, which can accommodate 8,000 workers near the proposed ICT hub.

He added that the proximity of the dormitory to the ICT hub will mean some P4,000 monthly savings on travel expenses of call center agents, thereby making the cost of living in the Subic Bay Freeport about 40 percent cheaper than in Manila.

Hernandez expressed optimism that Garcia’s vision for an ICT hub in Subic is not far away from realization. He noted that Subic is a beautiful place, which has attracted everyone.

Garcia closed his meeting with BPAP and CCAP members with an invitation to them to visit Subic for a first-hand view of the ICT hub program.
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