QC, Subic next growth areas for developers, outsourcers

Philippine Daily Inquirer, 01-05-2013

(First of two parts)

Who doesn't want to be in Bonifacio Global City, Makati or Ortigas? With highly developed infrastructure, competitive operational costs and opulent surroundings, these areas have become prime destinations for various local and international firms.

"But slots are filling up fast and if you are a newcomer you have to look elsewhere," said Melo Porciuncula, Capital Markets and Business Operations head of KMC MAG Group, a commercial and residential real estate services provider that furnishes business process outsourcers their own offshore corporate services here; represents tenants wanting to locate in Metro Manila, Bacolod, Cebu, Clark, Iloilo and Davao; provides capital market support as well as extends residential real estate services.

Porciuncula sees Quezon City and Subic as the next growth areas as these places already possess developed infrastructure as well as world-class telecommunications services with redundant international connectivity (submarine fiber optic cable networks complemented by satellite systems).

Road networks, runways

"Apart from the fact that Subic is now under two hours' drive from Metro Manila via the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the place boasts one of the world's finest road networks and runways (Subic Bay International Airport used to serve as an emergency landing site for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's space shuttle) and is now in the process of developing a dedicated BPO district called the Subic BPO City," Porciuncula said.

Subic BPO City is being set up like the Ayala Techno Hub, the 20-hectare information technology center located in Quezon City (but as an added incentive, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority will be providing housing for the information and communications technologies professionals and call center agents who will work in the district).

But aside from the Ayala Techno Hub, Quezon City also has the pioneering 17-hectare Eastwood Cyberpark in Libis, the 12-hectare Eton Centris located at the Quezon City Triangle, the newly revitalized 35-hectare Araneta Center in Cubao (including the 9-hectare Araneta Center Cyber Park), and around 30 more ICT parks registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

"These areas will keep on expanding (including the North and East Triangles, on Commonwealth and on Edsa) as the Philippines already surpassed (previous industry leader) India in the BPO industry. The BPO here in the Philippines is growing about 25 percent annually and is remitting $13 million (P530.5 million) to the economy. Outsourcing in the Philippines has provided more than 700,000 seats for call center agent services and business process services, a trend that will go on for years as our economy improves and financial uncertainties trouble the United States and Europe," Porciuncula observed.

Close to home

He also added that the reason developers and outsourcers are setting up in these locations is to be closer to the ICT professionals who are mostly residing in Quezon City, Marikina City and in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan.

"Moreover, quality graduates continue to swell the ranks every year due to the presence of many tertiary-level schools in Quezon City, including learning institutes that specialize in call center training," Porciuncula said.

Interestingly, he also added that as KMC MAG Group attracts several clients from Australia, New Zealand and those based in Europe, the firm has also set up its own residential team that works closely with their corporate clients to find them housing within the vicinities of their workplaces.

"Our brokers are skilled in reasonably negotiating buying, selling and leasing residential properties on their behalf. Our extensive listings of residential properties ensure that every location and housing option is covered," he said adding that  KMC MAG Group also handles corporate relocation as well as individual needs for condominiums, prestige homes and international properties.

(Next: Growing knowledge process outsourcing market to spur home building)