'Better English' of Cebuanos seen as edge in outsourcing
() - August 12, 2006 - 12:00am
Ambassador Roberto Romulo said the Cebuanos' ability to speak "better English" than others from other provinces serves as their competitiveness edge in developing Cebu as a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) hub.

This as one of the thrusts of the APEC Business Advisory Council is the continued development of BPO sector, and which was discussed during the opening of the three-day ABAC meeting held at Shangri-La Mactan yesterday.

Romulo, who is also the chairman of ABAC and the presidential adviser on competitiveness, said that development of BPO sector in the country is really impressive considering that there are now more than 100 call centers employing around 200,000 employees as against the meager four call centers and approximately 1,000 or 2,000 employees when the country first engaged in the BPO sector in 2004.

Although India is taking the lead in the BPO sector, Philippines can also offer a good competition by developing BPO not only in the call center industry but also in party logistics, supply chain management and knowledge management, such as in medical tourism.

In line with this, Cebu is going to be developed as the BPO hub in the country.

"There's one key here which I'm scared to say because Manila will get mad at me. You speak English here. And you speak better English here than any other provinces in the country. So I think that's a big plus as far as BPO is concerned," Romulo said in a press briefing yesterday morning.

In relation to this, Romulo said the private sector task force has been tapped by President Gloria Arroyo to formulate a master plan on how we can be internationally competitive in the BPO sector.

The president delivered her opening and keynote address during the 3rd ABAC meeting and 10th ABAC anniversary conference yesterday morning.

"The private sector will take the lead and the government will enable," he said.

In addition, Romulo said the airline connections here in Cebu "is fantastic".

He said he was impressed to find out that Cebu, which he said "is second to none", has direct flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Malaysia.

"And by the way, your airport and processing is something to be emulated by other airports in the Philippines, and particularly Manila," he said.

ABAC also tackled two issues; one dealing on APEC's relevance today and if it is still responsive to the needs of the Asia-Pacific Region and to the business needs, and the other on the suspension of the World Trade Organizations negotiations.

Romulo said the business group was frustrated with this matter considering that it will substantially affect them because instead of the economy turning the world around it is politics doing so.

He said the suspension of WTO negotiations "is a very difficult situation" for the whole world, especially for developing countries, such as the Philippines. - Cristina C. Birondo

ALTHOUGH INDIA AMBASSADOR ROBERTO ROMULO ASIA-PACIFIC REGION BPO BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING CEBU CRISTINA C HONG KONG ROMULO
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