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DOLE welcomes defeat of US anti-outsourcing bill


The Department of Labor and Employment on Saturday welcomed the defeat of an anti-outsourcing bill in the United States, saying it would benefit the Philippine business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry. DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the BPO remains the strongest key employment generator in the country, and is seen to be more robust in the coming years. "This (defeat of the bill) means that more BPO companies can expand their businesses in the Philippines and generate the much needed employment for our local workforce," Baldoz said. She added that while the DOLE had been vigilant and proactive in implementing measures that could mitigate the impact of the bill had it become law, "the US Senate decision is very much welcome news." Had it been passed into law, the proposed “United States Call Center Worker and Protection Act” would prohibit American companies from setting up call centers in foreign countries, including the Philippines. The DOLE said the Republican party-sponsored bill is believed to attract and keep good jobs in the US by rewarding companies who moves its operations back to America. But the bill was officially defeated last July 19 by a vote of 56-42. In the US senate, at least 60 votes are required for the bill to be enacted into a law. US business groups have opposed the measure, arguing that it could have a negative effect on their competitiveness and overall standing in the global trade, the DOLE said. It added US businesses believe the bill could cost companies a percentage of their profit with the penalties that go with pursuing off-shoring operations. Baldoz cited Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) president Benedict Hernandez, who said outsourcing business services to the Philippines helps make American companies more competitive and profitable. The Philippines is considered the top destination for businesses that are looking for call center services. In 2011, the country’s IT-BPO industry generated more than $11 billion in revenue and employed almost 640,000 Filipinos. The industry roadmap projects that by 2016, it would to grow to $25 billion in annual revenue and employ 1.3 million. “Indeed, the BPO Industry, as one of the identified key employment generators under the DOLE’s JobsFit study is facing a very bright prospect. This is why we must vigorously pursue the training of more BPO workers to make them more competitive, efficient, and attuned to the demands of the times,” Baldoz said. Baldoz also said knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), which provides diverse options and opportunities for jobseekers, such as nurses, is being touted as the next growth area in the BPO industry. She noted US-based HCCA Health Connections is soon opening its second office at the Mega World’s Science Hub 2. Baldoz said workers in KPO or CPO are not common "headset with microphone" agents or workers, but those who process and analyze knowledge, information, and technical data. Meanwhile, Baldoz said the contingency plans put in place before the defeat of the bill will still be undertaken. She said this includes the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority's expanded training to BPO-related skills. Baldoz said TESDA will also pursue on developing new training programs in emerging areas such as finance and accounting, human resources, banking operations, health information management, and information technology outsourcing services. — LBG, GMA News
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