THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said workers from the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry will receive aid in upgrading their skills from a P5 billion fund to be set up under the latest tax reform legislation.
Trade Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher-Quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) bill approved by the House provides for a P5 billion annual fund to be allocated to the skills upgrade program of the IT-BPO industry, helping ensure that BPO workers remain competitive in the job market.
Section 312 of House Bill 8083 provides that “the fund shall be used to pay for formal academic or training programs of accredited private or public schools and training centers.”
The structural adjustment fund will be distributed within five years after the law is implemented.
“Workers are worried they might be displaced. This fund will address those fears with training,” Mr. Rodolfo told reporters last week in Makati City.
The bulk of the BPO firms in the Philippines are registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), and moves to rationalize investment incentives are thought to make the Philippines less attractive as an investment destination.
Of the 380 PEZA-registered locators, 263 are in the IT-BPO sector and are currently enjoying the perpetual 5% gross income earned tax incentive.
The IT-BPO industry has said the removal of this incentive under the second package of the tax reform policy overhaul would lessen the competitiveness of the Philippines in the global market.
Under the 2022 road map of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (ITBPAP), the sector aims to create 1.8 million direct jobs by that year. This is in addition to the 7.6 million Filipinos employed either directly or indirectly by the industry.
ITBPAP companies also target $40 billion in revenue by 2022. — Janina C. Lim