DOLE keeps close eye on US BPO firms in PH

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 05 2012 07:14 AM | Updated as of Jan 05 2012 06:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is closely watching over the possible slowdown in the operations of American-owned business process outsourcing (BPO) firms in the country.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said she would ask the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Washington to monitor developments and impact of the proposed bill before US Congress that seeks to discourage US BPOs from outsourcing their operations.

“At this time we still cannot tell the effect since it still a bill, but I will ask our labor attaché in Washington to give me a briefing on this bill and possible impact assessment to our companies,” Baldoz said.

A House Bill (HB) 3596 titled “Call Center and Consumers Protection Bill” which aims to discourage US companies from outsourcing their operations has been filed before the US Congress.

Under the proposed measure, US  call center  firms would be required to answer calls and identify their location in order to give  American callers the option of choosing a local operator.

The measure also proposed to  penalize US companies $10,000 a day if they fail to report their relocation to the US Department of Labor within 60 days.

Philippine legislators have already called on the Aquino administration to take measures to  protect and promote the local  BPO industry, which is now the largest in the whole world after overtaking India in voice Information Technology-BPO.

Baldoz said the passage of the US bill could adversely affect the operations of local BPOs as well as the employment  Filipino workers.

“Definitely it would impact on local BPO industry dahil maraming outsourcing companies ang US dito sa Pilipinas,”  Baldoz explained.

Baldoz estimated that BPO industry employs half a million workers.

As this developed, Baldoz ordered all DOLE offices and attached agencies to implement reforms in order to provide faster services to the public.

“This means reduce process cycle, eliminate all forms of red tape that would make it easier and faster for our clients to transact  official business with the department,”  Baldoz said.