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PIA Press Release

RP remakes one of world's most attractive off-shoring destinations despite global economic crisis

Manila (9 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stressed that the Philippines remains one of the most attractive off-shoring investment destinations in the world today despite the present global economic meltdown.

In her message at the 9th e-services Global Sourcing Conference and Exhibition today (Feb. 9) at the SMX convention center, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, the President, who was introduced by Trade Secretary Peter Favila as the "original ICT (information and communication technology) brand manager," spelled out to some 2,000 participants from all over the world the reasons why the Philippines still ranks among the most-favored destinations of business process outsourcing (BPO) in the world.

"Our BPO industry continues to boom as global cost-cutting is sent to outsourcing. The Philippines is ranked among the most attractive off-shoring destinations in the world because of cost competitiveness and more importantly the country's highly trainable, English proficient, IT-enabled quality manpower," the President said.

The President said the number of workers in the BPO sector has ballooned from only 4,000 in 2001 to 400,000 today, mainly due to government's rational and strategic act to foster a digital culture that maximized the benefits of ICT.

She added that the government concentrated on three areas, namely, building of physical infrastructure that included telecommunications and network infrastructure; ensuring an appropriate policy and legal environment so as to create an environment to grow ICT; and, development of human capital to close the digital divide.

She said that the Cyber Corridor in her super regions economic development plan has been "lengthened" from Metro Manila, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu and Davao to include Baguio, Dagupan Tarlac, Pampanga, Metro Bulacan, Metro Rizal, Metro Cavite, Metro Laguna, Metro Batanagas, Dumaguete and Cagayan de Oro.

"BPO and e-services are key drivers of the economy, generating investments and jobs, alleviating poverty and improving the lives of the people. We are proud to be among the world's leaders in these fields," the President said.

Moreover, the President said the Philippines is in a better position to weather the current financial crisis because of the "rebooting" of the economy several years before there was a hint of a financial crisis.

She expressed confidence that with the reforms in revenue collection and generation, fiscal controls and banking now in place, she initiated, "we remain cautiously optimistic that our resources and plans will allow us to manage our way through this time."

"The Philippines has been compared to an island of stability amidst the raging economic storm. That's not just coming from me. Standard and Poor's said it. Reasonably healthy, Fitch said it. Macroeconomic risks the lowest-Credit Suisse. Inherently strong, a potential beneficiary of the world's financial woes-JP Morgan said," the President said.

She added that the package of reforms has held the country in good stead" with an 8 percent growth in its gross national product (GNP) in 2007 and 6 percent in 2008, when almost a third of the world went into recession.

Add to that the government's focus on reducing debt -to- GDP ratio and putting in place a program to cushion the impact of the global crisis on the poor, she said

The President thanked existing investors "for being part of the country's sustainable growth" as she told would-be investors that the Philippines remains "among the best (investment destinations) in the world."

Organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the conference was aimed at discussing the emerging issues and trends in Information and Communication Technology and the growing needs of corporations all over the world for solid IT skills and infrastructure.

E-Services is recognized as a high-profile meeting place in the Asia Pacific that attracts the brightest minds and the best players in the world of ICT and BPO.

Early this year, the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP), the biggest organization of outsourcing providers in the Philippines, said it was expecting a "cautious" growth of 35 percent for 2009. By 2010, the organization said the outsourcing industry should earn about $12 billion to $13 billion.

Let us join hands vs global crisis - PGMA

Manila (9 February) -- Manila (PNA) (9 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday underscored the need for the government, business and labor sectors to work together in order to weather the adverse impact of the global economic crisis.

In her speech during the Multi-Sectoral Jobs Summit at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang, President Arroyo said this is a time for the three sectors to join hands by not neglecting those who feel the hardships of the global downturn, especially firms under strain and workers facing layoffs.

In response to the concerns raised during the tripartite meeting two weeks ago, the President laid out some specific measures and actions to help and assist displaced/retrenched workers as well as companies affected by the global economic meltdown.

These include:

  • the condonation of the Social Security System (SSS) on penalties and surcharges on loans of affected workers;
  • the establishment of stand-by fund by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for displaced seafarers and land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs);
  • the implementation of training programs, training interventions specifically targeted for workers displaced as a result of the global financial crisis at the community level;
  • reduction on the cost of doing business by providing fuel subsidy to firms operating in the export processing zones, lowering the costs of business licenses and permits and standardization of the city business registration and permit process in Metro Manila;
  • having the government financial institutions provide loan facilities such as working capital to creditworthy firms;
  • stimulate domestic production and product demand and consumption by addressing smuggling;
  • study the possibility of imposing a moratorium on wages and other economic benefits for a limited period;
  • mainstream and expand training partnerships between government and private companies; and
  • sharing of information between the government and industries on industry employment, number of companies affected, number of workers affected either through retrenchment or flexible work arrangements, and other related information in order to come up with an accurate and reliable picture of the actual impact of the global financial crisis on employment and business and allow both government and industry to develop appropriate responses and interventions.

Likewise, the President emphasized on what government, business and labor are doing to save and generate jobs.

She said even before the tripartite consultation started, the government has already been put together the Economic Resiliency Plan.

"Under this Economic Resiliency Plan which is our stimulus program, we will continue our unprecedented investments. I direct key agencies to show solid progress in bidding out and/or implementing major infra and social projects under the P300 billion stimulus plan. We consider this the most important government initiative this year," she said.

The Chief Executive also said part of the resiliency plan is the putting of all budget-funded energy-independence and environment jobs in one box called "Green Collar Jobs."

Truly if anything, she said, "a tight economy should prompt people to yearn for greater stability and harmony and working together not working apart".

"So, let us all pull together to make sure the country puts jobs and the economy ahead of political and costly conflicts. Let us focus on "Joining Hands Against the Global Crisis," she added. (PIA) [top]

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