Arroyo: RP still top offshoring site amid global crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 09 2009 05:54 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2009 01:54 AM

President Arroyo on Monday said the Philippines remains one of the most attractive off-shoring investment destinations in the world today amid the present global economic meltdown.

In her message at the 9th e-services Global Sourcing Conference and Exhibition, Mrs. Arroyo said competitive labor costs and English proficiency of Filipino workers are just two of the reasons why the Philippines is one of the most favored offshoring destinations for global companies.

“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 in a speech at the SMX convention center, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

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.

Mrs. Arroyo said the government has 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.

“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.

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.