When the pandemic broke out in the Philippines, most businesses would shut down overnight. On the 20th of March 2020, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas mandated lockdowns and curfews across the city with the exception of a few service industries which were allowed to continue operating. One such industry was outsourcing.
The outsourcing industry and Iloilo City have an endearing relationship. Call center companies are responsible for the economic boost the city has enjoyed over the past decade, with as many as 23,000 employees.

Alongside other critical services (i.e., manufacturing, food processing, healthcare), the outsourcing industry was granted this exception provided that particular safeguards be kept. In particular, their employees should be provided with on-site accommodations and that social distancing is observed with prescribed preventive measures.

Each company was left to its own discretion as to how to best carry out these preventive measures. Many resorted to housing their employees within company premises. Given the ceasing of transportation, company vehicles were used to transport staff to and from work. Additional hazard pay and work from home setups became commonplace. All call center personnel are exempted from curfews and are granted special lanes when purchasing groceries and other commodities. Similar to priority services like healthcare, call centers were allowed to operate past the 8 PM curfew.

With everything happening right now, the city is reliant on call centers to continue functioning. Much of the economic backlash brought about by the pandemic can be mitigated by these industries. The city is doing its best to prevent the spread of the virus while ensuring that its citizens can keep working and providing for their families.

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Rey Palmares

Rey Palmares is a writer for Xilium and at the same time a student of the law in the Philippines. His work in Xilium is toward his dreams of being a lawyer and also publishing a book someday. While he is relatively new, his informative and entertaining style of writing shows that Xilium has become a home to the very shy writer.
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