PESO managers hear BPO executives say sector needs applicants

The information technology and business process outsourcing sector (IT-BPO) is in need of more workers and Filipino job seekers should take advantage of this need.

This is the message delivered by Ma. Lourdes Sison of SITEL, Inc. and Judelyn Cruz of Sutherland when they appeared recently before 70 managers of Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) in Region 1.

"The IT-BPO sector is growing by leaps and bounds, said Misses Sison and Cruz, echoing projections that the IT-BPO sector is poised to achieve its growth target of topping the 960,000 IT-BPO jobs in 2013 and revenues of US$16 billion.

The IT and Business Process Association in the Philippines (IBPAP) had projected that the IT-BPO sector is likely to exceed its target of raking in US$25 billion in revenues by 2016 due to the faster year-on-year growth of 19 percent that it has been experiencing.

Baldoz, who had recently met with officials of the IBPAP, confirmed that the IT-BPO sector needs a lot of workers.

"Officials of the IBPAP sought out the DOLE's help on how to fill-up hard-to-fill jobs in the IT-BPO sector because apparently it is not attracting that many jobseekers," said Baldoz, who lauded the DOLE Regional Office No. 1 led by Regional Director Grace Ursua for bringing in IT-BPO sector representatives to orient the region's PESO managers about the sector.

"Bringing in IT-BPO representatives in the communities to attract rural job applicants is a good strategy," Baldoz said, citing the observation of the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that the biggest challenge of the IT-BPO industry is to allow those in the provinces to benefit from the industry.

"The IBPAP and the DOST are working with the with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to augment skills supply in the 10 identified new wave cities for the IT-BPO sector to bring to 60-40 the ratio of IT-BPO operations in the country. Currently, 75 percent of IT-BPO companies are located in Metro Manila.

Ursua reported to the Secretary that the regional PESO Year-end Performance Assessment served to further enhance the capacities of PESO managers and to recognize last year's best performers.

"We assessed the PESOs' performance in DOLE key employment programs, such as referral and placement, job fairs, Labor Market Information, Skills Registry System, Special Program for the Employment of Students, and livelihood. The assessment helped in identifying best practices, strengths, weaknesses, problems and opportunities for the PESOs and in determining which of them contributed the most to the DOLE's employment facilitation programs," Ursua reported.

She also said the DOLE regional office oriented the PESO managers on their role in the Kasambahay Law implementation; new Labor Law Compliance System; Government Internship Program; Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa mga Disadvantaged Workers; DOLE-DOST Convergence Program; and the 2014 budget for SPES and DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program.

At the PESO recognition ceremony, Pangasinan PESOs clinched the most number of awards with 10, while La Union and Ilocos Norte tied with seven citations each.

Alex Ferrer, manager of PESO Pangasinan, bagged the Best PESO for the provincial level; Mylene Isabel Pascual of Laoag City won the Best PESO for city category; while Roel Sabado of Rosales, Pangasinan, Gloria Fernandez of Balungao, Pangasinan and Benita Sabado of Dumalneg, Ilocos Norte led other PESOs in the 1st-2nd class municipalities, 3rd-4th class municipalities and 5th-6th class municipalities, respectively.

The winners received certificates of recognition and cash incentives. A special award was also conferred to Ferrer for having the highest accomplishment in the job fair program; Eric Pascua of PESO Ilocos Norte for the Special Program for the Employment of Students; and Marvin Subala of Bauang, La Union for the livelihood program.

At the end of the year-end assessment, the PESO managers submitted their action plans to RD Ursua, who said: "We have gained from our long-time partnership. I look forward to even more fruitful years with you in facilitating employment and in ensuring decent work and life for our people."

Last year, PESOs in the region helped facilitate the placement of 61,750 jobseekers.

Created by virtue of Republic Act 8759, or the PESO Act of 1999, PESOs are non-fee charging facilities based in provinces, cities, municipalities, non-government organizations, and schools and are tasked to provide prompt, timely, and effective employment facilitation services, and to promote DOLE programs at the grassroots levels. They are linked with the Department of Labor and Employment for program coordination and supervision.

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