Expressing elation over the adoption by Davao City’s information and communications technology-business process outsourcing industry (ICT-BPO) of a voluntary code of good practices, labor and employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed hope the code will serve as a model for the country’s “next wave cities” to follow and emulate.

In her remarks before tripartite partners and representatives of the ICT-BPO industry in Region 11 during the signing of the code at the Grand Regal Hotel in Davao City, Baldoz said:
“I am really pleased with your adoption of this voluntary code of good practices. It is a pioneering work. It will lead your industry to the path of self-regulation, provide you with a mechanism to address workplace issues and situations, and allow you a built-in flexibility to do your business because you yourself drafted this code based on business reality and your experiences.”
“With this code, you have modeled yourselves for other “Next Wave Cities” to follow,” she added, referring to the country’s urban centers that are striving to become BPO Centers.
These cities are Cagayan de Oro and Davao in Mindanao; Iloilo, Bacolod, and Dumaguete in the Visayas; and Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Bulacan in Luzon.
The Davao ICT-BPO industry is the first in the country to adopt a voluntary code of good practices, a key DOLE reform measure under the 22-point labor and employment agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The reform seeks to move industries away from over dependence on government in addressing industry-specific issues towards industry self-governance.
Signed by Nelly Sia-Agabin, president of the Association of Computer Businesses in Mindanao; Gerardo S. Dumael, president of the Business Process Association of Davao, Inc.; Ray Rubio, president, Davao United Association of Animators; Holden Hao, president, DabaweGNU; Adolfo Solanor, president, Internet Café Association of Davao; Samuel Matunog, president, Davao Software Industry, Inc.; Lizabel Holganza, president, Transcription Alliance of Davao; Eriberto Barriga, president, ICT Davao, Inc.; Virginia Camus, vice-chairman for labor of the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council-Region 11 (RTIPC-ROXI); and Jalilo dela Torre, RTIPC Chairman, the voluntary code of good practices is a document, according to dela Torre  that spells out the aspiration of Davao’s ICT-BPO industry and contains the commitments of the tripartite partners towards enabling the industry to maximize its potentials.
“I expect this code to govern our business conduct. Since it is voluntary, I expect our members and stakeholders to respect it and abide by it,” said Camus.
“This will, hopefully, strengthen tripartism and social dialogue and benefit our industry,” she added.
The signatories to the code commit to pursue reforms which shall promote Davao as a destination for ICT-BPO investors; support the grant of incentives to employer initiatives to improve human resources; practice the principles that promote decent work, employment security, labor rights, rights at work, social protection and dialogue; promote good practices on voluntary basis; and use the industry tripartite council to address labor and employment, economic, and social issues in the industry.
Eriberto Barriga, president of Neutral Tech Inc. and one of the code’s signatories, described the adoption of the Code as “momentous”.
“I am happy to be part of this tripartite exercise. This is a big challenge for us in delivering on our commitments and coming up with improvements in our sector,’ he said.
In her remarks after witnessing the signing of the code, Baldoz issued a challenge to the industry stakeholders by asking them to ensure that the document “lives up to its purpose”.
“You have to imbibe this code. If there are provisions that do not help you in the industry, discard them, but nourish the document because it will guide your day-to-day situation in the BPO industry,” she said.
Stressing the importance of the reform calling for the tripartite approach towards self-regulation, she said that the government wants to prove that it poses no hindrance to the creativity of the ICT-BPO industry.
“Rather, we see ourselves as facilitators making it easy for business to do business,” she explained.
“This is our contribution to you. With this code, you will now be in the best position to promote your industry and protect your workers; to do what suits you and what’s best for you,” she said.
“This code is more than law by itself if you value it and use it. I just hope you can come out with a very good monitoring and evaluation mechanism to measure adherence to the code,” she finally said.