The Call centers industry in the Philippines is stable according to the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last July 2007. Mrs. Arroyo, clad in a red terno expressed the significant on how call center industry is helping the country in terms of providing jobs to the Filipino people especially to the fresh graduates.

This industry is distinct from information technology (IT) outsourcing, which focuses on hiring a third-party company or service provider to do IT-related activities, such as application management and application development, data center operations, or testing and quality assurance.

Mrs. Arroyo is taking cognizance of the importance of call center industry because of the ability of the Filipinos to speak fluently in English. She even said in her speech: “The Philippines ranks among top off-shoring hubs in the world because of cost competitiveness and more importantly our highly trainable, English proficient, IT-enabled management and manpower”

It only shows that call center industry in the Philippines has been called the “New India” as the country offers an abundance of inexpensive, English speaking labor. This was according to the 2003 Philippines Call Centre Industry Benchmark Study conducted by call centres net. Our country is very viable alternative to other locations in the Asia Pacific and hence many local and multinational organizations have set up contact centers. This trend is set to continue as numerous companies progressively seek an Asian presence to service customers both regionally and globally.

“Information technology will help the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) bring in more taxes in the coming months,” she stressed.

It means to say that more investments are likely to happen in the following years because of the presence of this industry. The country has approximately 200 call centers and 20,000 seats. It is estimated that 80% of these seats are operated by call center outsourcing bureaus.

She further said: “While our strength in contact centers is well-established, we are now focused on growing the higher value-added services, including accounting, legal, human resources and administrative services.”

She stressed: “The business services sector has become the fastest growing in the economy providing 400,000 jobs compared to 8,000 in 2000. By 2010 the forecast is one million jobs earning $12 billion, the same amount remitted by our overseas Filipinos today.”

If the government will unite and continue to promote the country as an investor-friendly in Asia many foreign multinational firms will choose Philippines to put up their contact centers here. The political bickering will not help the country in stabilizing the economy. If political noise continue to exist especially most of the newly elect senators and solons are from the opposition parties. Let’s hope and pray that the last election should serve as lesson to the entire nation.

Many factors should be prioritized if the government is serious in keeping this industry. First, is to focus on education. Knowledge is the greatest creator of wealth. Without knowledge we cannot move on and do the things we want. With this development, the President said that the nation is investing more for education: PhP150 billion, PhP29 billion more than last year. In 2006, the government and private sector built 15,000 classrooms instead of the usual 6,000. Since call center industry wants their employees to be computer literate. The government reported that one third of the public high schools now have Internet access, with private sector support.

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