MANILA, Philippines – About 1.2 million Filipinos may lose their jobs if American business process outsourcing (BPO) operations pull out of the Philippines.
But Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is confident that this would not happen, saying it would be to the best interest of American businessmen to keep their BPO operations in the country.
Andanar cited the call of US President Barack Obama who, when still a senator in 2008, urged American businessmen to bring the BPO jobs back to their homeland. But the call did not get a positive response.
“Why? Because American businessmen know that they (would) save more here. The salaries in the US are (paid) per hour, ours are per day. So, their businesses are more viable here,” Andanar said, referring to cheaper labor cost in the Philippines.
Andanar said that threats of American BPO investors are unfounded.
He even used the opportunity to criticize US President Barack Obama who, before getting hold of the White House, used to mouth to pull out all American BPO investments outside the US to return to US.
Moreover, the Palace official said that if Americans do flee their BPO investments in the Philippines, it will be strategically disadvantageous to the Americans.
Aside from generating jobs for Filipinos – although the wages are relatively cheaper here than in the US – the BPO industry has been significant in the increase of dollar inflows in the Philippines.
He also noted the capability of Filipino BPO workers to speak English in American, British and Australian accents.
Andanar made the comment after President Duterte declared a Philippine “separation” from the United States after the US criticized the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war marked by allegations of summary killings.
But upon arrival from his state visit to China, Duterte clarified that he was not severing diplomatic ties with the US.
At the Davao International Airport, Duterte was asked if Filipinos have something to worry about the possibility of losing their jobs. He did not answer the question directly.
“Well, how about the Americans working here also in the Philippines? If I should worry about the Filipinos, this is also about the Americans here and their investments and all,” he said.