The IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) is concerned for the future of the local BPO sector. The group seeks some clarification from the president.
President Duterte said that there will be a “separation” from the US during his state visit in China. This statement spiraled controversy especially among the BPO executives, employees and US investors.
“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.
A Philstar editorial says that US is our third biggest trading partner with $18 billion worth of trade in 2015 alone. OFW remittances and the BPO sector altogether account for 16% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). These two sectors are mainly coming from the United States.
Moreover, 77% of all the BPO firms here in the Philippines are from the US. These BPO firms employ over 1.2 million Filipinos with more jobs to be generated in the coming years.
Despite the controversies, undersecretaries and other key presidential personnel kept matters simple.
IBPAP sought for clarity through the Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima. His statement assured that trade will continue.
“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.”
~DICT Secretary, Rodolfo Salalima
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar says he is confident that there exists no threat. He says that it would to the best of American businessmen to keep operations here. “Their businesses are more viable here”, he adds referring to the cheaper labor in the Philippines.
Moreover, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also said that the Philippines is not stopping trade and investment with America. The President is perhaps strengthening ties with China and the ASEAN region but trade and investment activities with the West will continue.
Arriving in the Philippines, the President told reportes that he meant a “separation of a foreign policy” and not a parting of ways.
Furthermore, Duterte’s Spokesperson Ernesto Abella assurred that the Philippines will continue to respect deals and treaties that have been agreed upon. It was only exploring new alliances.
“This is not an intent to renege on our treaties and agreements with our established allies but an assertion that we are an independent and sovereign nation, now finding common ground with friendly neighbors with shared aspirations in the spirit of mutual respect, support and cooperation,” Abella said.