Roxas City is a potential investor hotspot for BPO companies, gearing up towards inclusive growth through local and foreign investments. The city’s 101.96 square kilometer total land area is situated at the Northeast edge of Panay Island. The medium-sized city is composed of 47 barangays with a total population of 156,197 as of the 2010 census. During the period between 2000 and 2010, population grew at an average of 2% per year. Literacy rate is 95.4%. Expanding industries will find Roxas City a strategic place to invest with its sound business environment, low crime rate, and availability of talent.
With no BPO companies currently operating in the city, there is ample opportunity for recruitment, with current and potential employees from different cities trying to find job opportunities. The survey conducted by Pueblo de Panay in Iloilo City (where 10% of the BPO population is from Roxas City) showed that majority of Roxas City residents would prefer to work in Roxas City itself as long as there are enough employment opportunities.
Figure 1: Population (2010 census) of Roxas City vs. Next Wave Cities
Rich Source of Untapped Talent
The number of graduates is quite high, with combined graduates for key areas in Panay Island (excluding Iloilo City) totaling 9,860 graduates in 2013, 31.20% of which is from Roxas City. Comparing the graduate levels of the Next Wave Cities, Roxas City has a higher ratio of graduates relative to population. According to the City Planning and Development Office, human resource comes not only from Roxas City itself but also from neighboring cities such as Masbate and Romblon. They added that call center skills seminars are being facilitated by the city government since 2008.
Six higher education institutions – Capiz State University, Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion, University of the Philippines Visayas – Roxas Extension, Filamer Christian University and Hercor College – produce the graduates in the city.
Figure 2: Graduates in 2013 of Roxas City vs. Next Wave Cities
One of the factors why BPO companies started in the Philippines is low-cost labor. Compared to next wave cities, Roxas City has a low minimum wage at ₱287.00 (non-agriculture), at par with Bacolod City and Iloilo City.
Figure 3: Non-Agricultural Minimum Wage in 2014 of Roxas City vs. Next Wave Cities
Gearing up for Investment
Known as the central business district of Northern Panay, Roxas City has shown competence in enhancing business opportunities through infrastructures. Roxas City Airport has four daily flights to Manila. It is located 2 kilometers away from the City Hall and is very accessible to major business areas (3.6km to Pueblo de Panay & 2.9km to Roxas Avenue). For land transportation, the city is investing ₱704 million into the Roxas City Circumferential Road Project to ease the congestion of traffic.
The province has five telecommunication infrastructure: Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular for mobile phones, while DigiTel and Innove (Globe Telecom) for telephones.
The growing tourism economy has resulted to the establishment of quality accommodations in Roxas City like Urban Manor Hotel, Hotel Veronica, and San Antonio Resort.
Next Business District
Pueblo de Panay, a 400-hectare master-planned, mixed-used community that aims to become a major player in the Philippines’ economic and social advancement, has caught the eye of investors from small- to large-scale industries. Roxas City attracts expanding business ventures because of its stable business environment, availability of competent labor, and its road convenience to nearby municipalities. Its seven-hectare PdP Technopark, is equipped with fiber-optic and wireless connectivity, and is intended for BPOs and IT-enabled services.
Locators in Pueblo de Panay include Robinsons Place Roxas (five-hectare PEZA zone), Urban Manor Hotel, Hotel Valencia, Punta Dulog Plaza, Pueblo Residences, and University of the Philippines in the Visayas. On the other hand, Petra Academy, the lone non-voice outsourcing company in Burgos, Roxas City teaches English to Korean students.
The bubblechart below shows Roxas City’s standing in terms of the proliferation of PEZA I.T. Parks and the number of BPO/call center locators already operating in the city. The size of each bubble represents the number of graduates. Cities that land towards the top and towards the right of the chart represent markets that are relatively more mature, while cities that land toward the bottom and toward the left represent markets that have only started to attract I.T. park developers and BPO locators.
Figure 4: Bubble Chart of Roxas City vs. Next Wave Cities
*Size of bubble represents number of graduates
Source: IBPAP, PEZA, and CHED
Pueblo de Panay is an emerging business hub that has allocated 150 hectares (a third of the site’s total land area) for commercial use in the next five to seven years. With the PdP Technopark specifically designed for IT and BPO companies, emerging businesses will find it easy to acquire human capital, not only in Roxas city but also from neighboring cities for the whole Panay Island. The advantages of being the first IT/BPO company to set-up in Roxas City are enormous, from intimate coordination with the various universities and municipality, to the goodwill and branding that will be established. Hence, investing in Roxas City, specifically in Pueblo de Panay is a sound short-, medium- and long-term business decision.