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BPOs in Davao City checked for compliance with DTI rules

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A 2018 file photo of a call center in Davao City. -- BW FILE PHOTO

DAVAO CITY — Business process outsourcing (BPO) companies here are being checked by a joint team from the city government and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for compliance with guidelines on continued operations.

“You only have two options based on the DTI memo: skeletal workforce provided they observe social distancing and employees should have a temporary accommodation within the vicinity of the workplace with shuttle service; and work from home arrangement. If they cannot comply they must close down,” Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said over the state-run Davao City Disaster Radio.

Under the national government’s state of health emergency policy, BPOs are among the sectors allowed to continue operations.

DTI issued a memorandum circular outlining the rules that must be observed by outsourcing firms while the Davao City government also released localized guidelines last Monday.

Samuel R. Matunog, president of ICT-Davao, Inc., the industry council for the Davao region’s information and communications technology sector, said they have reminded members not to waste this concession from the government.

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“Government is providing a way to maintain the operation and for us not to lose our clients along the way and provide employment to our workers. To that extent, BPOs will be able to comply and we hope they will be able to follow guidelines,” Mr. Matunog said in a telephone interview.

As of Monday, 26 BPOs have been inspected, according to the mayor.

One call center, Six Eleven, already has about 40% of its employees on home-based arrangement.

“(It’s) those accounts that can be done from home. We lent them computers and all necessary hardware,” Six Eleven owner Joji Ilagan-Bian said in a text message.

For those still reporting to the office, Ms. Bian said they have set up a foot bath and temperature check in all entrances, and social distancing is observed.

“We enforced that strictly by actually removing the chairs in between so the agents will be disciplined to observe social distancing while at work. We also have our floor sanitized every five days,” she said.

Ms. Bian said accommodations and shuttle service are provided for those who require these.

“We understand that we have to be proactive now and really follow strict protocols from our government. We are also doing our utmost best to protect our people and to ensure their safety,” she said. — Maya M. Padillo

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