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Bicol Region emerging as another call-center hub

NAGA CITY—The entry of Global Process Services (GPS), International Business Machines (IBM) business process outsourcing unit (BPO), into this city may mean the Bicol region’s emergence as a new call-center hub in the country, Naga City Mayor John G. Bongat told the BusinessMirror in an interview on June 2.

“Between 3,000 and 5,000 additional jobs will be created by IBM,” Bongat said. “The talents will be sourced not only from Naga City and the province of Camarines Sur, but also from the entire Bicol region.”

The mayor said Naga City is well prepared to provide IBM with qualified individuals from its pool of young talents. The city has a number of reputable universities and colleges.

IBM has already started constructing its facility, a two-story building and a five-story structure.

“One is a BPO complex,” he said. “It is the first IBM BPO center outside Metro Manila.”

IBM’s GPS is currently doing business in Makati City, Pasig City and Quezon City.

IBM will be spending between P40 million and P50 million every month if it employs 3,000 people, he said. The figure is for the salaries of employees alone.  This represents an average monthly salary of P13,000 per employee, a relatively comfortable income level in the province.

The entry of IBM’s BPO business will boost the city’s economy, Bongat said, adding that it will mean additional income for restaurants and other industries in the city.

The IBM business in Naga City complements the 1,000 jobs generated by the existing Sutherland BPO in nearby Pili, a chartered city and the provincial capital of Camarines Sur.

IBM said the investment in Naga City is a confirmation of its pledge to help tap local talents.

“The expansion in Naga affirms IBM’s continued commitment to help develop talent in the Philippines’s next-wave cities,” IBM Philippines President and Country General Manager Mariels Almeda Winhoffer said in a statement. “This is consistent with our vision to make IBM an essential innovation and technology partner that will enable the country’s expansion and transformation through IBM’s Smarter Planet agenda.”

IBM said Naga City has attractive resources of talents.

"By locating our global operations in emerging growth cities such as Naga City, IBM is able to bring world-class career opportunities closer to more Filipinos and enhance the country’s competitiveness in the continuously thriving BPO industry," said Global Process Services Delivery Country Leader Cassandra Soto. 

The construction of the IBM facility started on April 22, Technology Builders and Management Corp. Project Engineer Arnel Martinez said. IBM’s BPO facility will occupy about 3,000 square meters, with the second story occupied by the call center and the ground floor available for rent or lease.

Completion of the construction is targeted in September this year, he said.

In Photo: Inside the construction site of IBM facility in Barangay Triangulo in Naga City. (Oliver Samson)






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