Malaysian firm bullish on Php1.5-B Nueva Ecija IT hub
PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija (Philippines News Agency) — A Malaysian conglomerate which bankrolled the Php1.5-billion government center cum information technology (IT) hub here is bullish over the prospects of a project amid fears it might fail due to its remote location and other constraints.
Alloy MTD expressed belief that the project, which will start operating in January next year, will trigger an economic boom in Nueva Ecija with the thousands of jobs that will be generated even if an earlier call center project in nearby Cabanatuan City – the province’s commercial capital – closed shop.
Rizza Lao, Alloy MTD public relations officer and marketing consultant, said they are upbeat about the project because it is situated in an area away from Metro Manila where competition among business process outsourcing (BPOs) is tight apart from the attendant congestion in the metropolis.
“As you can see now, Metro Manila is heavily congested and BPOs are engaged in cutthroat competition that they are pirating call center agents from each other,” she said, noting that call centers have reached a certain level of saturation point.
Lao made the statement amid concerns that the call centers in this city might not prosper because of manpower problems, geographic isolation and the failure of an earlier BPO firm to succeed in its operations in Cabanatuan City which is booming economically.
Earlier, Lao admitted that the city government led by Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas who is in charge of hiring personnel for the call centers is having difficulty doing so, with only 20 percent of the required 15,000 call center agents so far recruited.
The call centers are also not centrally located unlike Cabanatuan and is considered remote, located some 130 kilometers from Manila.
The government center cum IT in Barangay Singalat houses two world-class BPO buildings and is considered the biggest single Public Private Partnership (PPP) project in Nueva Ecija so far.
Alloy MTD, the Malaysian conglomerate which financed the project, said the two BPOs can together accommodate 5,000 call center agents.
With three shifts, the centers will require 15,000 call center agents. Each call center agent stands to earn a minimum starting salary of Php15,000 a month.
Nueva Ecija Gov. Czarina Umali expressed optimism the project, a brainchild of her husband, former three-term governor Aurelio Umali and Cuevas, would trigger an economic boom in the province.
Alloy MTD, which is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a known infrastructure giant in Asia. It built the facility in an area spanning 37,500 square meters in a joint venture with the provincial and city governments.
The BPO buildings are equipped with state-of-the-art air-conditioning facilities and mechanical systems and high speed Internet connectivity through fiber optic, a major requirement by call center companies.
Governor Umali said at the heart of the project is the government center which will be occupied by national offices that are moving from Cabanatuan to Palayan City, part of efforts to consolidate all services, both national and local, in one location, to provide better service to the people.
The project will also house a 7,500-square meter central plaza to serve as main activity center with a substation connected to the Luzon grid, ensuring stable and sufficient power.
The provincial government has secured a direct connection approval from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). Additionally, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-powered standby generators will be installed as base load support for the power requirements of the multi-story buildings.
Aside from the 15,000 call center agents, another 3,000 jobs will be generated in the operation of the hotel.
Alloy MTD, which operates in 13 countries including the US and China, has been credited with building world-class government centers patterned after Putrajaya, a planned city and federal administrative center 25 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur.
Made up of a network of open spaces and wide boulevards, Putrajaya was constructed in 1995 as the biggest project in Malaysia and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia at a cost of USD8.1 billion.Alloy MTD has invested Php10 billion in the country, having also bankrolled the construction of the Php3.9-billion, 36-kilometer South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the Php2.5-billion Calabarzon Regional Government Center (CRGC), dubbed the “Complete City.” (PNA)