55 BPO firms in Davao complying with restrictions related to anti-virus quarantine

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 March) – At least 55 business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in the city have complied with the local government’s order requiring them to either operate with a skeletal staff to maintain unimpeded service or offer work-from-home arrangements while the community quarantine aimed to address the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic remains in effect.

A sign mounted on an overpass in Bangkal, Davao City reminds the public to frequently wash their hands using soap and water. MindaNews photo taken on 26 March 2020 by MANMAN DEJETO

In a report released by the BPO Covid-19 Task Force, it said the compliant firms, including all those operating within the Philippine Economic Zone Authority-accredited facilities, have transitioned their operations to either to either a “work-from-home” scheme or onsite setup with a provision for free accommodation and shuttle services for their employees.

It added 14 BPOs indicated they would suspend operations for the duration of the community quarantine.

“The BPO Covid-19 TF is closely working with the BPO Association of Davao, ICT Davao, and other industry players in ensuring the smooth operations of their establishments during these challenging times. We have also asked that the 55 BPOs who have remained open to submit some details of their Contingency Plans to the TF for guidance and the reference during monitoring,” the task force said.

Based on Executive Order 20 issued on Monday by Mayor Sara Duterte, BPOs may continue to operate provided they would adopt either of the two options offered to them.

Section 17 of EO 20, which adopted provisions of Memorandum Circular 20-08 Series of 2020 of the Department of Trade Industry issued on March 19, provides that BPO/Call Centers must either enforce “skeletal workforce with social distancing and appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements within the vicinity and with shuttle service” or “work from home arrangements.”

EO 20 also warned that non-compliant companies would be immediately closed if their managements would not adhere to either of the two options.

The mayor noted that BPOs “are considered a mass gathering. If one of them gets sick they can infect others because of the character of Covid-19, which is highly contagious.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)