‘Focus on what we do best’ BPOs to thrive despite Trump rule
THE EAR - Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - January 23, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines will continue to thrive amidst the “Buy American. Hire American” rule of the new president of the United States.

"We just have to focus on what we do best. We do have the talent," said IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) vice chairman Lito Tayag on US President Donald J. Trump's strong advocacy to discourage American companies to outsource jobs outside of American shores.

In his inaugural speech on Friday, the 45th US President emphasized on his serious stance for protectionism, heralding his "America first" policy, which is believed to be his "winning piece" during the campaign trail.

The "Buy American, Hire American," policy, now an official rule as Trump was sworn into office, may put the dollar-earning industries in the Philippines, including BPO in ambiguous position.

But Tayag maintains that if the Philippines will be able to step up its skills competence, the BPO sector will continue to thrive despite this looming challenge.

Nearly three fourths of BPO earnings come from the country's oldest ally – America, while it continues to be ranked among the top five export destinations and import sources.

Government data also shows that the US accounts for around a third of annual overseas remittances with more than 3.5 million Filipinos living and working there.

It also cornered 68.2 percent or $580.48 million of last year's equity foreign direct investments valued at $840.58 million.

Tayag, who also sits as director of Accenture Philippines, one of the largest outsourcing companies operating in the country, said that while the sector is faced with this inclusive American rule, one way of fighting this is to leverage on people.

The positive nuisance of Filipino culture – friendliness, warmth, and light disposition, is still a strong force to differentiate the Philippines, aside from the availability of highly skilled manpower, he added.

AIM economics professor Emmanuel Leyco said the Philippines’ BPO may suffer an economic headwind from Trump's agenda in bringing back jobs to America.

Now Trump is making this rule official starting with imposing taxes on US companies that outsource jobs abroad, which will have a direct impact on the Philippines, the economist added.

The BPO sector generated 1.2 million jobs and $22 billion in revenue in 2015. (FREEMAN)  

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