Political Columnist and Blogger Mortz C. Ortigoza sat recently with Business Tycoon and Bayambang, Pangasinan Mayor Cezar T. Quiambao who discusses the future of the Information Technology - Business Process Outsourcing (IT- BPO) like the vaunted Call Centers, Knowledge Process Outsourcing, and Back Offices in the province, the expensive minimum wage in Mainland China, the industrialization and urbanization of Pangasinan and her cities for the constructions of an airport and a harbor.
Quiambao through Strategic Development Alliance Corporation (Stradec) is the controlling shareholders of Stradcom Corporation. The Quezon City based Stradcom, according to Bloomberg, owns, and operates information technology infrastructure projects for government under the Build-Operate-Transfer law in Philippines. It also designs websites for insurance companies and private emission testing centers, as well as provides mobile services, including insurance SMS for information on authentication, inquiries, tips, and procedures. EXCERPTS OF THE INTERVIEW:
TYCOON - Business Tycoon and Pangasinan Mayor Cezar T. Quiambao (Left) and Political Columnist Mortz C. Ortigoza in one of the interviews of the latter to the former.
MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA: Sir, you mentioned in your last State of the City Address (SOCA) to catapult your town as the Documents Capital of the Philippines. How about hosting of other sub-sectors of BPO –IT? It’s a P50 billion industry in year 2020. That’s the thrust now of Dagupan City Mayor Belen T. Fernandez after the Philippines Economics Zone Authority (PEZA) approved the inclusion of the growth center of the City.
CEZAR QUIAMBAO: We don’t have enough communication network and higher-speed broadband. They need back up provided by Smarts, Globe, PLDT, others. They need fiber optic technology.
Then you have to coordinate with the executives of these telecommunication providers I surmised you know them?
Yes, but they should have a line here to put fiber optic telecommunication networks.
Kailangan ng telecommunication iyan, kailangan may back up to “transfer large amounts of information at very fast speed” para sa satellites (The telecommunication need that, they need back up to “transfer large amounts of information at very fast speed” for the satellites.
So ano ang mangyayari sa Dagupan City, the investors, they have to talk with the telcos (So what will happen to Dagupan City, the investors, they have to talk with the telecommunication companies)?
Yes they have to convince Smart, PLDT, Globe in Dagupan City.
Sabi kasi ng mga (according to) bigwigs ng mga BPO in the country sa Summit nila sa Dagupan City last year the BPO would be generating five thousand jobs in the City in the next three years. But Mayor Fernandez who read this on my blog told me it could be 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in the three new growth centers in the city.
Puwede naman kung may enough telecommunication networks.
Do we have comparative advantage in terms of the minimum wage in Pangasinan versus those in Manila and other places in the country? Can we draw foreign and local investors to come here because of that?
The minimum wage in Region -1 is P253. We have a huge land. If we have available manpower, infrastructure likes TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Express Way where travel in Manila and Clark shorten) bentahe ka na saka (you have the advantage) and telecommunication networks.
Ang area basta may telecom can become BPO hub basta available ang tao (Area like Pangasinan can become a BPO hub as long as there is effective telecommunication networks and manpower).
Can our P253 a day enough to encourage investors from the IT-BPO to come here in droves?
They don’t subscribe to minimum wage because they offer much higher pay. In Manila they give a worker P20,000 a month, probably here in Pangasinan they could give the employee P18,000 a month.
(A P253 a day multiplied to 24 days work rate in a month is only P6, 072 - Interviewer)
The factors to make this industry possible here are literacy and proficiency to speak in English?
…and skills and manpower.
I was eavesdropping to your conversation earlier with Levin Uy (Executive Director of Quiambao’s benevolent Kasama Kita sa Barangay Foundation (KKBF), you mentioned about the minimum wage in Mainland China now, how much the minimum wage in China?
P1,350 sa mga urbanized cities (P1,350 in urbanized cities there).
I was interested with that topic because there was a time China “annihilated” our garments industry in the 1990s because of the cheap pay there. I know, however, those garment manufacturers relocated in Vietnam and Cambodia because of cheaper labor wage being offered there.
Can the Philippines now siphon other manufacturers in China because Manila offers a low P500 minimum wage a day versus China’s high of P1,350?
… or Pangasinan or any other provinces. Actually, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos offered less like P200 a day.
AIRPORT AND HARBOR
What do we need to make Pangasinan have better economy of scale and comparative advantage?
We need a modern airport and pier.
Is airport feasible to be constructed here in your town Bayambang?
Hindi (No), too small.
Do you think an airport in Alaminos City is too far for us here in Central Pangasinan?
Okay lang iyon at least malapit sa Eastern and Central Pangasinan (That’s okay at least it is near in Eastern and Central Pangasinan).
The problem the government and investors are ambivalent to build an airport there. In Alaminos they constructed a one kilometer airport road there but the construction stop.
Ano ang pupuntahan nila dito (What would the attraction the province can offer to people that would make an airport feasible)?
Naka based ang traffic ng tao sa economics of demand and supply.
Of course! You have (first) to industrialize and urbanized Pangasinan and urbanized cities like Dagupan.