Martial law affecting Davao’s bid as premier destination for new BPO investors

Published August 21, 2018, 5:57 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – A top executive of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Davao City hopes President Rodrigo Duterte will lift the martial law in Mindanao because it is affecting the city’s bid as a next premiere destination for new investors in the business process outsourcing (BPO).

(Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)
(Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)

“We hope at some point the whole martial law issuance can be lifted because our peace situation has improved,” ICT Davao president Samuel Matunog said on Monday.

He said there were fewer inquiries from prospective locators after Duterte placed the whole island of Mindanao under Martial Law, following the clash between government forces and Islamic State-inspired militants on May 23, 2017.

He said they had weekly briefings with interested investors in the premartial law period but they would barely have one after the declaration of martial law “because they have the opportunity to locate in other places that have no security issues.”

He said it is not BPO operators who have apprehensions about entering the city but it’s their foreign client companies, most especially the major players in the world, who want to be assured that their “risk management requirements,” which includ political stability, good security condition, and infrastructure are met.

“There is nothing we can do about it, we are not complaining because I’m sure there is a reason why martial law is needed but maybe, for our industry, if the situation improves it can help us attract more locators if we reduce these uncertainties especially because we enjoy very good climate here. We can easily use, recommend Davao as disaster resiliency operations for big BPO clients,” he said.

He added that existing locators appeared to be unaffected by the martial law because they are fast expanding their operations in the city.

He said the council targets to increase the number of BPO workforce in the city from 50,000 to 70,000 by 2022.

The Philippines ranked 3rd in the Tholons Service Global Index 2017, a research report and ranking of Top 50 “Digital Nations” and Top 100 “Super Cities”, next to India which ranked 1st and China 2nd