Business

Government OKs extension of WFH setup in IT-BPO in ecozones

Government OKs extension of WFH setup in IT-BPO in ecozones

MANILA, Philippines — The government is extending the work-from-home authorization given to information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) firms in ecozones beyond September this year.

“Got word that FIRB (Fiscal Incentives Review Board) approved the extension of PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) WFH 90 percent scheme (supposed to end by September 2021 co-terminus with the national state of calamity) up to January 2022 and thereafter, WFH 75 percent up to March 2022,” PEZA deputy director general Tereso Panga said in a Viber message.

PEZA director general Charito Plaza said in a forum the PEZA board recommended the extension of the WFH scheme until the end of next year.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, PEZA issued a board resolution in November last year allowing IT enterprises in ecozones to implement WFH equivalent to up to 90 percent of total revenues until Sept. 12 this year.

Under the implementing rules and regulations of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, an investment promotion agency may implement measures approved by the FIRB to help registered business enterprises recover from a pandemic, national emergencies, and major disasters.

Earlier this year, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines chair Benedict Hernandez said the industry wants to continue implementing WFH arrangements even after Sept.12.

As the industry is looking at a hybrid work model or having their employees work remotely and on-site in the long term to remain competitive.

Even with the implementation of the WFH scheme, Hernandez said the industry saw its productivity increase.

Aside from endorsing the extension of the WFH arrangement, Plaza said PEZA has also appealed to President Duterte to lift the moratorium on new ecozone developments in Metro Manila to support the IT-BPO industry.

“We believe this will provide recovery measures for developers and support industries that are still reeling from the effects of this pandemic. Furthermore, this kind of consideration will most likely boost the confidence of our enterprises like the IT-BPO companies to locate and expand in the Philippines,” she said.

In June 2019, the Office of the President issued Administrative Order 18 which imposed a ban on the processing and approval of new ecozones in Metro Manila to spur development in the countryside.

Last year, the country’s IT-BPO industry generated $26.7 billion worth of revenues and directly employed 1.32 million people.