THE information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry is urging the government to be more aggressive in wooing investors in order to offset the negative impact of the current security concerns in the country.
“We hope that more investors will be coming in the second half, despite security concerns in the Philippines right now,” IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President and Chief Executive Officer Rey Untal told reporters.
“I think we also need to be more aggressive . . . like we have a trade mission in Japan, and Australia in May. Also late this year, we will have a trade mission to Canada. We need to go out and sell more of the Philippines,” Untal added.
He said that concerns over the country’s security have become the new normal for foreign investors looking at the IT-BPM field, whereas previously, uncertainties in government policies were the utmost concern of foreign investors in this sector.
“It has become a question and a normal part of my day-to-day meetings. Every week I host two to three investors or investor analysts, and they come to ask me all of these things, and the recent topic that they asked me is the security. It cannot be avoided in the conversations and it’s really unfortunate that that has happened,” Untal said, referring to the crisis in Marawi which started last May 23.
“I hope we can get over that quickly and we can go back to just doing business and all of those noises go away,” he said.
The clashes in Marawi City between government troops and Islamist militants led President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao. There was also the Resorts World Manila attack by a lone gunman last June 2 that resulted in the deaths of at least 37 people.
Untal said these unfortunate incidents have again brought anxiety to investors, who were already starting to move on from the earlier setbacks caused by President Duterte’s rhetorics and US President Donald Trump’s “America first” pronouncements.