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Sa-a: Alleged ‘subhuman’ treatment of BPO workers, an isolated case

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Reporter/CDN Digital | April 03,2020 - 07:47 PM
Wilfredo Sa-a Jr., managing director of Cebu ICT-BPM Organization, says the incident involving a BPO company amid the enhanced community quarantine in Cebu City is an isolated case. | CDN Digital file photo

Wilfredo Sa-a Jr., managing director of Cebu ICT-BPM Organization, says the incident involving a BPO company amid the enhanced community quarantine in Cebu City is an isolated case. | CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Information Technology-Business Process Management Organization (IT-BPMO) said the incident of alleged “subhuman treatment” of workers of a BPO company in Cebu City is an isolated case. 

“I would like to believe (that) this is an isolated case. We are not happy about this, and the response of the industry is to do something about it,” said Wilfredo “Jun” Sa-a Jr., managing director of the IT-BPMO in a phone interview with CDN Digital. 

Sa-a said the foreign-owned company being investigated by the government, which provides service to Ring Amazon, will be releasing an official statement soon. 

He said the company itself had been concerned about the reports and had been currently conducting its own investigation on the incident that had reached international attention. 

“They will come up with the side of the story, they promised to make a thorough investigation on the issue,” said Sa-a. 

Read more: BPOs told: Submit contingency plans for employees

Even before the issue of the employees’ “subhuman” accommodations reached the media, Sa-a said this was already raised by Cebu City Councilor Eduardo Rama, Jr., the  council’s chairperson on IT, on March 16, 2020.

The IT-BPMO, the city’s BPO companies, and Rama  conducted a teleconference to discuss the situation of the accomodations of the workers. 

Most BPO companies said they would be willing to allow the agents to work from home, but some companies said their workers had problems with the internet connection. 

Housing them in hotels became the most immediate solution, but with the limited time and overwhelming rise in bookings, some companies could not find hotels or off site accomodations for them. 

This left some BPO companies to choose to house their workers in their offices, since most BPOs have infirmaries for the workers to stay in, although this could not accomodate the entire working force. 

The agreement was to only allow a certain number of workforce to stay in the offices up to 20 percent and to ensure that social distancing was observed. 

Read more: Alleged ‘subhuman conditions’ in BPO to be checked

The reports that a certain BPO company has violated such protocols has worried the IT-BPMO. 

However, Sa-a encouraged the public not to sensationalize the situation as the BPO companies were also doing their best to stay in business as well as provide for their employees. 

“Let us not sensationalize the issue. These (BPO) companies are trying to provide for their workers with their limited capacities. Naglisod pud ni sila. (They are also having difficulties). Let us support them as much as we can,” said Sa-a. 

He also said that the BPO company should be given a chance to give their side in this issue. /dbs

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