All it takes is common sense for the government to know that it is actually favorable for the government to continue allowing work-from-home (WFH) arrangements in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, said PROMDI presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao was reacting to the Department of Finance (DoF) through the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) remark that the government should take back the tax perks given to the BPO sector.
Pacquiao insisted that contrary to the DoF’s claim, WFH arrangements have no or little effect on the country’s micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) because BPO workers would still require their services even if they are working in their own homes.
“Our BPO workers are still helping our economy even if they are on WFH because they would still need to eat, spend money to relax, buy clothes, and many other things. They are helping other business sectors instead of spending most of their money on fares and fuel,” he said.
Pacquiao said the government can better help MSMEs by optimizing the use of the Bayanihan 2 Fund that was allocated to provide aid for small business owners. Pacquiao said that there are still at least P4 billion in unused Bayanihan funds that were allotted for MSMEs.
If elected president, Pacquiao said he would prioritize the creation of permanent loan facilities that offer zero-to-minimum interest loans for small businesses and would-be MSMEs.
By providing support for MSMEs, the government will be able to generate millions of jobs even for those who have low educational attainment.
Instead of removing the tax perks, he said the DoF should even encourage the BPO sector, especially in Metro Manila to continue with their WFH arrangements to ease traffic congestion and reduce fuel consumption.
As a compromise, Pacquiao said the DOF can apply its position on WFH arrangements in areas where there are no serious traffic problems.
“It’s common sense. Why would you revoke the tax incentives of these BPOs when you know they are doing a great job in keeping the economy afloat and in providing jobs to a lot of Filipinos? These BPO companies might also move elsewhere soon because the government is not providing proper support,” he said in a statement.
Pacquiao said that with Metro Manila’s monstrous traffic going back to its pre-pandemic days and the skyrocketing cost of fuel because of the war between Russia and Ukraine, WFH arrangements for BPOs should even be encouraged.
“Under the present situation, WFH can help us ease traffic congestion, save on fuel and stabilize fuel prices,” he said.
Pacquiao said that even at the height of the pandemic, the BPO sector has been one of the country’s primary economic engines, contributing at least US$26 billion to the national coffers and employing 1.3 million workers in more than 1,000 firms.