As the official campaign period for national positions in the forthcoming 2022 May elections begins, the Bangon Philippine Outsourcing, Inc. (BPO) Partylist launches its bid for a historic seat in the Congress on the right foot, laying down a comprehensive six-point agenda for online freelancers and the rest of those in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Industry.
A Cebu-based sectoral party, the BPO Partylist (#120 in the official ballot) advocates the promotion, development, sustainability, support, and advancement of Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM), Countryside Development, Startups and Online Filipino Workers in the Philippines.
Once successful in their ground-breaking attempt to represent the BPO sector in the House of Representatives, the BPO Partylist, through its first nominee Mike Cubos, pledged to look after the welfare and work in the best interest of all those in the outsourcing industry.
BPO Partylist President Mike Cubos
As a former online freelancer himself, Cubos firmly believes that the future of work will include freelancing activities especially at this time of pandemic wherein companies all over the world have discovered freelancing as a sustainable way to operate a business.
“Online freelancing is the future of work. Business is now discovering this as a sustainable way to operate a business,” said Cubos during a virtual open forum with BPO Partylist hosted by Grace Locsin, CEO of Surge Freelancing Marketplace.
“The beauty of online freelancing is that there’s a worldwide sharing of talents. The talent is not just limited to a certain area. For a certain a business, they can have the best talents that the world can offer by just outsourcing. It is now a trend and it seems it will continue growing for years to come,” Cubos continued.
Despite its potential in the global market though, Cubos sees a deep need for the government to pay much attention to the BPO circle being one of the biggest contributors of the country’s economic growth and prosperity for the past three decades now.
“I realized that being in the call center industry, as a Filipino owner, there’s a lot of limitations in terms of opportunities, support that is why we needed someone to really represent us there (in the Congress). I see we have a lot of things to really focus on,” said Cubos, an esteemed entrepreneur and industry leader.
“We have so many things that we wanted to change, but I have to say it publicly that the number one priority of the BPO Partylist is the online freelancers,” added the founder of Performance 360 Call Center and BPO Services.
“I saw that the biggest answer to what our country is facing now is really online freelancing. Because of the pandemic, there’s a lot of jobless people, a lot of displaced workers, a lot of new graduates who have difficulty in getting a work because there’s a big chunk of our population who lost their jobs and they are the ones being prioritized by the companies over those with no experience or new graduates.”
With this in mind, Cubos and the BPO Partylist have come up with a six-pronged agenda for the good of online freelancers in particular and the BPO family in general across the nation. These are: 1.Co-Working Hubs in Cities and Towns; 2. Access to Financial Assistance; 3. Access to Training and Education; 4. DREAM Program-Freelancer to Entrepreneur; 5.Digital Workers Center; and 6. Special Government Agency for Freelancers.
Foremost among their list is the creation of co-working hubs in different cities and towns in partnership with the local government units and concerned government agencies.
“It’s very important that there’s a place where our online freelancers can run to when they need to. For example there’s a brownout and they don’t have a generator, they don’t have internet. At least there’s a safe haven for them in each town that they can still continue to work and do their livelihood,” said Cubos. “If this is implemented and instituted by the LGUs and the national government with its own budget, we can have this for free in the LGU itself or there might be a minimal fee just for maintenance of the place.”
The BPO Partylist also yearns to give online freelancers access to financial assistance especially for those who are just starting.
Thirdly, Cubos said they will endeavor for free training and education. “We want the government to sponsor free training for all Filipinos nationwide. The barrier for displaced workers and those who are jobless will no longer be that high because the training is there. All they have to do is to invest their time and do their training and after that, they have a higher chance of getting work.”
Another integral part of the BPO Partylist’s agenda is the ‘DREAM’ program aimed at transforming freelancers into entrepreneurs. DREAM stands for Digital Services Entrepreneurs’ Advancement and Mentoring.
“If you’re already an online freelancer, this DREAM program can help you level up, go to the next level being an entrepreneur. You’re like an agency owner, you’re already a business person,” said Cubos. “This is also the good thing about online freelancing. When we can transition freelancers to become entrepreneurs, they will provide more jobs.”
Furthermore, the BPO Partylist will bat for the establishment of a digital workers center. “It’s a one-stop shop for everything that you need as a freelancer. It’s a center for online freelancers to go to when they need help, when they need support.”
Lastly, Cubos and the PBO Partylist pledged that once given the chance to serve, they will push for the creation of a special government agency for freelancers.
“It’s an agency that controls and governs us. I really believe that online freelancing is the only industry that can provide millions of jobs in the next three years. I’m very confident to say that if we will only have the training and marketing, if we do those two things, we can have one million new freelancers each year. If we have so many freelancers already, it is really right and fair to have a government agency to look after our industry.”
Cubos gamely admitted that all the programs they want to enforce will not happen overnight but with unity and cooperation from all the stakeholders, it is doable and highly achievable.
“We want to build progress and opportunities for Filipinos and we in the BPO Partylist is for online freelancers because our industry can provide millions of jobs, which is something our country really needs,” said Cubos. “We in the BPO, online freelancers are the future and the government should focus in making sure that we institutionalize the training and in the marketing side.”
“These are the things that we really want to push. It might not happen right away but we will strive hard to make all of these a reality once given the opportunity to serve. Actually, we are doing some of the things right now but if you want to make this really big in the national level, this will not happen if we’re not united, if we don’t have one, unified voice,” Cubos ended.