(Photo courtesy of Petr Macháček via Unsplash)

Three business process outsourcing (BPOs) companies are planning to set up operations in Puerto Princesa City, according to a city official.

The Local Economic Development and Investment Promotions Office (LEDIPO) said these groups began scouting for potential locations in the city as early as 2019, in anticipation of last year’s expiration of Sitel’s exclusivity agreement with the city government.

Sitel Philippines’ exclusivity agreement began in 2016 and lapsed in 2021. While this agreement was in place, the city had been barred from allowing the entry of other BPO players.

LEDIPO chief Lorraine Banzuelo said the potential new locators include a US-based company and two European firms.

“’Yong isa, 2019 pa, [pero] nag-pandemic. ‘Yong isa naman, ngayon lang. Nag-cocoordinate din sila ngayon sa amin. Ang isang company umikot na rito sa SM, sa Robinson’s,” she said.

She added that these investors have expressed a strong interest in coming to Puerto Princesa while being aware of the city’s struggles with frequent blackouts and internet connection problems.

“Sinasabi namin sa kanila, dito laging may brownout. Sinasabi naming ang mga weaknesses namin dito, pero they are still interested,” Banzuelo said.

Also, because Puerto Princesa is also included in the list of digital cities, a list compiled by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to promote investment in the BPO industry, it is time that the city government started welcoming more BPO players.

“It’s high time na mag-open na tayo sa other BPO companies. And aside from that, ‘yong Puerto Princesa ay isa sa mga Digital Cities ng DICT. Nakita ng DICT na sa MIMAROPA region, Puerto Princesa lang ang ready [to accept BPOs]. Pino-promote tayo ng DICT, nationwide,” she added.

Sitel’s vice president for operations and Palawan cluster lead, Eden Gutierrez, said that the company does not object to the possibility and even welcomes their entry.

“Sitel is welcoming other players in the region, and we are confident in our performance and how we take care of our employees. Anyone who can bring in new jobs is actually good for the local economy,” Gutierrez said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.