PH still 'interesting market' for ITBPO firms: IBPAP

By Kris Crismundo

October 9, 2018, 3:52 pm

MANILA -- The Philippines continues to be an interesting market for information technology and business process outsourcing (ITBPO) companies, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President Rey Untal said.

Untal said in a briefing Tuesday that there are incoming locators in the Philippines, proving that investors still see what the country’s ITBPO industry has to offer. “I think from an interest standpoint, we continue to be interesting for locators,” said Untal.

Aside from new locators, Untal added that existing investors continue to grow in the Philippines.

He explained that in the last two years, protectionist statements by the U.S. government and jitters about the Philippines' tax reform program have affected the decision of ITBPO investors to enter or expand their local operations. However, uncertainties created by these anticipated policy shifts have since been put to rest, the IBPAP chief said.

With the slower pace of investment activities in the past years, Untal expects the industry’s job generation and revenue to fall short of its targets at end-2018.

But he mentioned that the country’s pool of talents remain to be its competitive advantage, and the industry continues to develop the workforce skill sets to meet evolving demand from the global market. “One of our mandates is to really cultivate talent for the jobs now and the jobs of the future,” he noted.

This was also stressed by Philippine Software Industry Association President Jonathan de Luzuriaga, noting that the Filipino workforce has evolved to meet the different demands of its sub-sectors. “Even you look at the history of the entire BPO sector of the Philippines, it safe to say that it is heavily anchored from the availability of talented Filipinos. And that still remains an attraction point especially for multinational companies,” he said.

Healthcare Information Management Association of the Philippines (HIMAP) Chairman Jeff Williams pointed out that the industry’s priority has gone from looking for low-cost labor to getting the right talents.

Technology has also helped the local ITBPO industry get involved in value-added services, Williams said. “What we are doing really, among different sectors, are mid- to higher value services, no longer we’re doing the basic ones,” Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) President Jojo Uligan echoed.

Meantime, Untal also mentioned that in order for the local business environment to remain attractive to new ITBPO locators, the industry group must help government shape favorable policies. (PNA)