Jittery BPOs knock on Duterte’s door
The IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) is seeking audience with President Rodrigo Duterte after his latest pronouncements on the country’s relations with the United States sent a new wave of jitters among IT and business process management firms.
Duterte’s latest controversial remark on the country’s “separation” from the US has created uncertainty and apprehension among IT-BPM companies in the Philippines as 77 percent of their business is dependent on American companies and clients.
“We continue to monitor the developments given President Duterte’s pronouncement regarding our military and economic ties with the US. IBPAP has formally reached out to the Office of the President to secure an audience with him and directly discuss our concerns) with the government,” IBPAP said in a statement on Friday.
Investors in and stakeholders of the IT-BPM industry—whose contribution to the economy has already surpassed that of the remittances of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)—have also raised concerns about what was perceived to be a growing instability under the Duterte administration.
Remarks against the US, European Union and the United Nations—historically among the country’s biggest economic and development partners—were feared to have eroded the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination.
The IBPAP further noted that like what it had been doing in the past, it had “sought clarity on the government’s position on the matter and secured an official statement (on Oct. 21) from the Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo A. Salalima.”
Salalima was quoted as saying that “all business investments, contracts and commitments, local and international, in the country will be honored by the Philippine government, consistent with the nonimpairment and due process clauses in the Philippine Constitution and existing laws of the land.”
The DICT chief further assured the IT-BPM firms that “this pledge that has been made by the President is sincere … and he will be true to his words.”
The group is likewise pinning its hope on what Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said last week that “in terms of economic [ties], we are not stopping trade, investment with America … The President specifically mentioned his desire to strengthen further the ties with China and the Asean region which we have trading with for centuries. But we definitely won’t stop the trade and investment activities with the West, specifically the US.”
Just last month, IBPAP sent a letter to its member firms to pacify foreign outsourcing companies, as it stressed that “despite all the noise, there is no real threat to businesses.”
The IT-BPM expects to generate $25 billion in revenue and employ 1.3 million this year. Over the next six years up to 2022, the industry is looking to double these numbers on the back of sustained government support and strong economic growth, as well as the continued availability of skilled workers to meet the industry’s requirements.
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