Europe-PH News

Cebu Eyes BPO Investments from the Eurozone

January 16, 2012

Ehda M. Dagooc

Europe-PH News

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Investment and Promotions Center (CIPC) has partnered with the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) to attract outsourcing investments from the European zone.

CIPC managing director Joel Mari S. Yu said that although the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) now feels threatened by the proposed anti-outsourcing bill in the United States, which aims to keep its outsourcing companies within their country, Cebu is now preparing to market itself into other areas outside of the USA.

The partnership started last year, when ECCP and CIPC mounted a program that promoted Cebu as an outsourcing destination in the United Kingdom.

Although, US is still the largest client for the BPO sector in the Philippines, Yu said outsourcing is a global phenomenon, and that other companies outside the US are also looking at the Philippines as its preferred outsourcing destination.

While Yu remains positive that it would still take a long time before this proposed bill will be passed into law, he said the Philippines has the potential to attract outsourcing jobs outside the US.

He said that if the US bill gets through, the BPO sector in the Philippines will be much affected, but if as early as now it will start exploring outsourcing prospects outside the US, the local BPO sector will continue to thrive by servicing clients from other continents.

House Bill (HB) No. 3596, the “Call Center and Consumers Protection Bill” was filed by Representatives Tim Bishop (Democrat, New York), David McKinley (Republican, West Virginia) and Mike Michaud (Democrat, Texas) last December 7.

Under the bill, companies that have call centers overseas would be ineligible for grants and guaranteed loans from the federal government. It also proposes a $10,000 a day penalty on US call centers that fail to report its relocation to an offshore location within 60 days to the Labor department.

Also under the bill, call center operators will be required to identify their location. Callers will also be allowed to choose an operator who is based in the US.

Many American companies have been outsourcing their call center services to the Philippines and India in recent years, since wages here are much lower than in the US. The monthly salary of an entry-level call center worker is about P14,000-P20,000 ($325-$465).

Some Americans blame outsourcing for the lack of job opportunities in the US, which continues to grapple with high unemployment. This has prompted lawmakers in the US Congress to draft a bill that aims to protect jobs of American call center agents.

Last year alone, Yu said there were 14 new BPO companies that came to Cebu that sought the services for CIPC. "These were only those that we assisted. But, there were also new investors that did not pass through us."

At present, close to 70,000 people are employed in the BPO sector in Cebu. About 40 thousand of whom are working in the voiceservice or call center jobs.

 

Source: Philippine Star (www.philstar.com); News; 11 January 2012

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