Ronnie Ong

Solon urges gov’t to invest in ICT, boost WFH law

April 19, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 265 views

FORMER Rep. Ronnie Ong said Tuesday the country’s policymakers should adapt to the rapid advancements in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and take their cue from modern economies around the world which now encourage “work-from-anywhere” set up in some of their industries to save on energy and increase productivity in their workforce.

According to Ong, the AP party-list nominee said he would push for legislation that would amend and strengthen the Republic Act (RA) 11165, more known as the as “Work-From-Home” (WFH) Law, to institutionalize the provision of tax perks for companies that employ WFH arrangements.

He said that instead of withdrawing their tax perks as determined by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), the government should even increase the incentives for companies that allow off-site employment as they contribute a lot in providing employment even for parents who are forced to stay home to take care of their children, senior citizens, and persons with disability who have difficulties in commuting.

To avert a disastrous commercial property market bust as feared by government economic managers, Ong said the Philippines can adopt a 50-50 rotating on-site and “work-from-anywhere” set up, especially in industries that do not require physical on-site presence such as the Business Outsource Processing (BPO) sector, instead of withdrawing their tax incentives for allowing their employing to work off-site.

“Let us stop living in the antiquities and embrace the gift of technology which can finally allow us to work freely and productively. The performance of our workforce should now be measured not by Bundy clocks but by the quality and quantity of our services and our products,” said Ong as he noted that the “work-from-anywhere” or WFA is a more appropriate term than “work-from-home” of WFH for workers who render services outside of their office spaces which may not necessarily be inside their homes.

“Technology now allows us to work productively while giving full attention to our children or while enjoying the beach in some island resort. We no longer need to suffer the horrendous traffic or the terrible pollution of Metro Manila just to do the amount of work that we can do better and faster in someplace cozy,” Ong said.

Ong said that he understands the apprehension of the country’s economic managers, especially the impact of WFA on the property sector but insisted that under the country’s present work environment, it is more beneficial for the government, businesses, and for the employees to integrate off-site work arrangements if possible.

Ong said that WFA work arrangements could help reduce the traffic problem not only in Metro Manila but in other metropolitan centers as well and reduce fuel consumption which would decrease demand and bring down the cost of petroleum products. It will also help reduce pollution, strengthen family relations and improve the overall well-being of the country’s labor force.

By providing more tax perks for companies with WFA set-up, Ong said that government can attract more investments that would require office spaces.

He said that many companies around the world that have shifted to BPO-style work set-ups could see the potential of the Philippines as a business destination if the government could provide them with more incentives.

“Even if these companies would require lesser floor space for their businesses, more companies will be coming in to invest because we allow off-site work arrangements and provide them attractive investment incentives,” Ong said.