BPO tower opening in Cagayan de Oro to usher 4,000 IT jobs

Pamela Jay F. Orias

AT LEAST 4,000 more information technology (IT) jobs will be available soon with the opening of the eight-floor business process outsourcing (BPO) tower as part of the new SM Cagayan de Oro Downtown Premier set to open this Friday, May 12.

The opening of the tower for business is expected to cement Cagayan de Oro City’s reputation as an IT-BPO hub in the region.

The City Council on Monday, May 8, declared the SM BPO tower, which has eight floors of prime office space, as an operating economic zone of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

Among the conditions stipulated in accrediting the BPO tower is requiring the SM Prime Holdings Inc. and all its IT/BPO locators and lessees to employ 4,000 of their manpower from Cagayan de Oro City residents, in coordination with the Public Employment Services Office (Peso).

Councilor George Goking, chairman of the committee on trade and commerce, said the city could generate over 40,000 jobs from SM's BPO tower.

“We will make sure that Kagay-anons would be prioritized in the employment, that they will benefit from this development firsthand because that's the way it should be,” Goking said

According to the conditions, SM Prime Holdings Inc., will continue to pay the Real Property Tax (RPT) on buildings or spaces that are leased out to commercial establishments, whose activities are not qualified for Peza registration.

These commercial establishments will also continue to pay all local government taxes.

The SM incentive will be limited to the income that will be derived from leasing out spaces to Peza-registered companies, and this particular income shall be subject to the special 5 percent tax on gross income in lieu of the national and local taxes.

About 3 percent of the tax will be remitted to the National Government while another 2 percent will be directly remitted to the City Treasurer's Office.

If in case the SM will not be able to lease out any space to registered Peza IT-BPO company, the condition stated that it cannot also avail the special 5 percent income tax.

To date, there are at least 15 BPO companies operating in Cagayan de Oro and employing some 2,000 agents, according to the Information and Technology Council in the city.

With this, the city has earlier been included in the “next wave cities” or the next hubs for the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector in the country, as it passed the following criteria: talent, infrastructure, cost, and business environment.

The first premier mall development in the city, the 177,743 square meter mall will include 5 floors of retail, dining, and entertainment options, such as a food hall, a cyberzone, bowling center, state-of-the-art cinemas, Sky Park and an 800-seater Sky Hall as an events venue.

The mall also features a rainwater catchment system for flood prevention, which can hold up to 13,650 cubic meters of water.