BPO sector pushes for passage of key bills

Published by rudy Date posted on March 30, 2009

CLARK Field, Pampanga: The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is calling on the government to fast track the passage of bills aimed at advancing the interests of the sector amid a global economic slowdown.

Oscar Sañez, Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) president, told reporters gathered for an annual seminar here that the government should enact the said legislative measures, which are seen to further improve the local business environment and entice more BPO investors.

Among the pieces of legislation BPAP is pushing for include the Data Privacy bill, the proposal creating the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), the Cyber Crime bill, amendments to the Labor Code and the Fiscal Incentives Rationalization measure.

Sañez said the Department of Trade and Industry’s existing guidelines on data privacy are not enough, thus the need for a new law. “Investors need an assurance that their data are protected not just by guidelines but by regulation,” he said, adding that a law would facilitate the arrest of offenders.

The creation of the DICT would bestow the agency with the mandate of implementing a national plan to improve information technology and the country’s telecommunications structure for the benefit of BPO firms, the BPAP official said. He said the current overseer, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology, is still a small body under the Office of the President.

Sañez said the Cyber Crime bill would impose a stronger regulatory regime necessary to deter crimes committed online, while the amendments to the Labor Code would update certain outdated provisions, such as the need to adjust work-hour boundaries—or allowing workers to render service for more than eight hours—and rules limiting workers with regards to gender and location.

The Fiscal Incentives Rationalization bill likewise would update the current law—Executive Order 226—with a view to helping attract more BPO investors. –Ben Arnold O. De Vera, Reporter, Manila Times

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