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Office demand in MM seen uncertain beyond 2020

06:00 AM October 09, 2019

The future of office space demand in Metro Manila is uncertain beyond 2020, due to a ban on new economic zones that could host business process outsourcing (BPO) firms.

Real estate consultancy firm Santos Knight Frank expects the BPO industry to take up over 400,000 square meters (sq m) of demand at the end of the year, keeping the same level up to 2020.

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Company senior director Morgan McGilvray said in a recent briefing that this was well within the usual BPO office takeup in previous years, which ranged from 300,000 sq m to 700,000 sq m.

But it is still unclear for the company how the market would react once the available office space registered under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) becomes fully occupied.

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Malacañang issued Administrative Order No. 18, which banned since June the accreditation of new economic zones that would have given tax incentives to Peza-registered BPOs.

The indefinite ban, which came as a surprise to the industry, had cast a shadow of uncertainty over the fate of BPO companies, which find it more strategic to first set up in Metro Manila before branching out to the provinces.

“We’re still going to see Peza takeup or BPO takeup as a whole, most of which is Peza[-registered], reach more than 400,000 sq m, which is quite good,” he said. —ROY C. CANIVEL

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