March 20, 2022

VICE-PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan reiterates his earlier call to scrap the idea of a return to face-to-face work arrangements for business processing outsourcing (BPO) employees, who themselves say they have adjusted to the new normal.

“Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit pababalikin ang mga BPO workers sa face-to-face na pagtratrabaho kung gumagana naman ang work-from-home arrangements,” Pangilinan said.

Jazzel Abitria, a BPO worker since 2007, echoed Pangilinan’s statement, questioning the timing of the government in fixing a system that is working.

“Bakit atat na atat pabalikin sa office kung productive naman at nagagawa naman ang trabaho sa bahay? Sana huwag muna ngayon lalo na at mataas ang presyo ng gasolina at bilihin,” she said.

Danica Mariano also expressed the same sentiments, saying that aside from the additional savings as a result of not working at the office, she is more productive at home.

“Umuwi na ako sa probinsya kasi kaya namang gawin yung trabaho dito. Hindi ko na din kailangang mawalay sa pamilya at anak ko para lang magtrabaho. Sana pakinggan talaga nila ang aming hiling na huwag nang bumalik sa face-to-face work arrangements kasi nakapag-adjust naman na lahat at nakakapag-deliver naman nang maayos sa trabaho,” she said.

According to Pangilinan, it would be a disservice to the Filipino workers if the national government turns a deaf ear to their pleas in the face of another economic crisis due to the oil price spikes.

“The days ahead should not be a return to the past; there is a new and better way forward where our workers are more empowered to shape their working environment, more aware of their well-being, and regarded as the most vital resource of our nation,” he said.

Pangilinan made this statement amid the refusal of the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) to extend the work-from-home arrangements for BPO employees, arguing that the same set-up was put in place temporarily as a response to the national government’s fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) had earlier asked BPO companies to continue with the work-from-home arrangements even after the April 1 deadline, saying this will help BPO workers cut unnecessary expenses such as transportation and gas.

Pangilinan also backs the suggestion for a hybrid working schedule that is discussed and agreed upon by both employees and employers.

“Imbes na mapunta sa pamasahe o pang gasolina, ang lumiliit na budget ay mapupunta sa pagkain, upa sa bahay, pambayad ng kuryente at tubig,” he previous said.

“No one size fits all. Certain types of work are suited at the worksite. But other types have proven as effective and economical even when done from home or remotely – BPOs included,” he added.