30 July 2012

SBMA woos call centers to Subic’s ICT Hub

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now enticing call centers to locate in this free port, trumpeting its superb 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.

The SBMA official, who was invited by BPAP and CCAP president Benedict Hernandez to present the many opportunities awaiting investors in Subic, also said that while BPO continues to grow as a successful industry in the Philippines today, Subic is preparing to become a new 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 added that 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 also stressed that the Freeport 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 that the free port zone at present has a 116-megawatt 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 goes down.

The SBMA chief further added that working in the Subic Freeport is enjoyable as the agency maintains the best security in the country, enforces traffic discipline which eliminates traffic jams, and promotes a clean and friendly environment that is conducive to good health and happy living.

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 Corporation.

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

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

“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.

Meanwhile, 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. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)