AMERICAN-owned business processing outsourcing (BPO) companies won’t pull out of the Philippines despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a separation from the United States in terms of foreign policy, the Palace said Sunday.
Palace Communications chief Martin Andanar made the statement two days after Duterte told a crowd of Filipino and Chinese businessmen that he was severing the Philippines’ military and economic ties with US.
Andanar recalled that US President Barack Obama had appealed to American BPO firms to conduct their operations in US soil instead of outsourcing, but the call fell on deaf ears.
“These BPO companies are not leaving out country because they know that it is cost-efficient for them to invest in the Philippines. In the US, workers are paid per hour. Here, workers are paid per day. It is undeniable that it is more viable to do business here,” Andanar said.
“Besides, our workers have better skills, get the job done fast. Filipinos can have an American, British, or even Australian accent. There’s flexibility. To come up with a contingency plan [in case the American BPOs leave]is to respond to something merely speculative,” Andanar added.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda shared Andanar’s sentiments, noting that the BPO industry is worth $10 billion in the country for a reason: because Filipinos are highly competent for the job.
“We won’t lose the BPO sector because we have the neutral accent and we deeply understand American culture. We also have a caring nature. It’s [just]easy to be apocalyptic about it,” Salceda, an economist, said in a separate radio interview.
Andanar and Salceda also argued that what the President wanted was not to cut the ties with the United States, but for Manila to break free from adopting the foreign, military and economic policies of Washington.
“We are separating in terms of policies. A state is a territory with a government, free from external control … freedom from external sovereignty. The President is just stating the fact that we have long ceased to be an American colony, but our practice is that we still follow their policies,” Andanar said.
“The President is just correcting the foreign policy of mendicancy,” Salceda said.