MANILA, Sept 21 (Mabuhay) –The government’s decision to allow business process outsourcing (BPOs) to transfer to the Board of Investments from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority in order to continue remote work arrangements is “significant progress” for the sector, an industry group said Wednesday.

Through the transfer, IT-Business Process Management firms, which include BPOs, can implement work-from-home arrangement with no cap, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines President Jack Madrid said.

Previously, firms under PEZA were only allowed to implement remote work for up to 30 percent of their employees. They are now being asked to go back to the ecozones or else lose their incentives.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s announcement allowing the transfer to BOI resolves the return-to-office issue, Madrid said. This measure, which does not need a law to be passed to take effect, will usher in new growth and assure investors, he said.

“The announcement by Secretary Diokno was indeed historic and significant progress for the IT-BPM industry. It’s very significant because it reduces finally the overhang of uncertainty that many of our locators and investors were concerned about…Tax incentives are critical to attract and retain investors in any industry,” Madrid said.

“It will certainly unleash the next step for growth of the IT-BPM industry,” he added.

Although the implementing rules are yet to be finalized, Madrid said the government has communicated that the shift would be “paper transfer”, which means the companies do not need to physically relocate their headquarters.

Firms just need to submit a Letter of Intent to PEZA, which will then be submitted to the BOI, he said.

Madrid said the industry is eyeing the creation of additional 1.1 million jobs by 2028 on top of the existing 1.4 million positions today.

So far, there are 2,000 IT-BPM firms registered with PEZA. (MNS)