The President of the Philippines stressed that outsourcing Philippines remains one of the most attractive off-shore investment destinations in the world today despite the present global economic meltdown.
In her message at the e-services Global Sourcing Conference and Exhibition, 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. Outsourcing 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.
BPO Sector Booming
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 outsourcing Philippines 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."
Island of Stability
"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 outsourcing Philippines 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 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 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.