President Rodrigo Duterte’s moratorium on economic zone development in Metro Manila has put 22 business process outsourcing projects worth PHP34.238 billion at risk. The 22 projects pending at the Office of the President (OP) consist of 21 IT centres and one IT park, said Tereso O. Panga, deputy director-general for policy and planning at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
A further 131 projects, which are yet to reach the president’s office, are also at risk. Trade secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the Department of Trade and Industry will ask the president for a three-month transition period for the BPO industry to gather all the documents required to get an official proclamation for their ecozones.
Meanwhile, PEZA will ask for a minimum six-month period to be able to make many locations’ infrastructure and technological capacity ready to host BPO firms. The moratorium includes applications submitted to the OP, and puts those with insufficient documents under pressure. The BPO sector makes up 30 to 35% of the total office space take-up in the capital, and 56.17% of the 381 PEZA-registered IT ecozones in the country are located in Metro Manila.