Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental are cashing in on the entry of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies.
Figures last year showed that at least P20 million is being pumped into the local economy every month in new money from salaries of BPO workers alone.
This year, the BPO companies are hoping to employ 2115 employees. At a conservative salary estimate of P15,000 per employee, BPOs will pump in P31.7 million each month.
No doubt, this money will benefit many businesses in Dumaguete and the neighboring towns and cities. Sales of motorcycles will continue to increase, more salesmen will be needed. There will be more customers in restaurants, hopefully giving rise to a demand for more cooks, waiters, and waitresses. More homes will be built, giving more jobs for carpenters, and sales for hardware stores. Department stores will surely sell more stuff, and tricycles will have more passengers. This money could also support many students through school.
More people might be tempted to move to Dumaguete. This would create more pressure on our meager resources. There will be increased garbage to collect, bigger traffic to control, streets to clean more often, street lights to install, roads to be paved, etc.
The sad reality, however, is that none of these supposedly improved economic scenarios find their way to the coffers of the City in taxes. Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria says he is having a hard time trying to apportion the taxes the City receives for all the services that are needed to keep Dumaguete running.
Under the current setup, most business are free to declare any income to the City. This is the basis for determining how much tax they should pay.
It is not surprising to see how salaried employees in public schools and government agencies end up paying more taxes than many other professionals who can afford to drive fancy SUVs, and flaunt their wealth.
We should at least be seeing a reasonable increase in the taxes of businesses that directly benefit from the operation of these BPOs. The ordinary taxpayer should be spared from having to subsidize the taxes of supposedly booming businesses.