Benigno S. Aquino III, Speech at Convergys San Lazaro 2010

12 Oct

Speech of His Excellency
Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
Occasion of the Public Dedication of Convergys San Lazaro

[September 3, 2010, Convergys San Lazaro, Sta Cruz, Manila]

Good morning.

The BPO industry in the Philippines plays a stellar role in our national economy. Eighty percent of the total outsourcing business in the country consists of the call center industry, which provides jobs for 557,000 Filipinos, and which continues to attract investments from overseas. With its dependable workforce, your industry can look forward to another remarkable year, with forecasts of $9.1B in revenue for 2010. The duties and taxes you contribute to the national account redound to more funds the government can use to build more schools and in providing basic health care to our people. As other nations reeled from the effects of recession during the global financial crisis, our nation viewed the BPO industry as a beacon of opportunity in grim economic times.

And yet, if you are to continue growing, your call center industry has to break the barriers to expansion. Investors will invest more if we address factors like the expensive cost of power and bandwidth problems. To remedy this, I have tasked our CICT Chairman Ivan Uy to ensure that telecommunication companies upgrade the technology they provide, while ensuring that these investments do not result in prohibitive data costs. Our administration has also committed to shortening the amount of time and paperwork necessary to start a business, sparing our investors from agonizing lines and costly red tape in securing government permits.

Our neighbors, such as Malaysia and Singapore, which enjoy advantages in infrastructure, are trying to close the gap in terms of human resources. They are focusing on providing the same quality of service we have been providing our investors. To make our manpower more competitive, TESDA has been offering short courses to enhance the English proficiency of near-hires, and develop the skills they need to successfully qualify for employment. Our investment in the development of human capital, making them world-class workers will be the key to providing a pool of talent attractive to investments and expansion.

Convergys is instrumental in making this growth possible. As the largest private employer in the country, you have significantly contributed to the creation of jobs at home, eradicating the notion that we are a country that treats its manpower as an export commodity. In seven years, your company has grown from hiring a handful of agents, to becoming 21,000 strong, earning numerous BPO awards, both here and abroad, and being elevated to the PEZA Hall of Fame as Employer and Exporter of the Year in 2009.

Convergys is an exemplar of high standards, and the opening of your new site today is another testament to your commitment to excellence. Strategically located at the heart of Manila’s University Belt, the opening of Convergys San Lazaro offers opportunities for students to be financially independent, and able to support their own education. This is a reflection of your dedication, not just to providing service to your clients, but in opening up opportunities for young Filipinos. Whether they decide to further advance in the BPO industry or pursue other careers in life, the training and experience your employees will gain in your company will be instrumental in making them productive members of society, and who enjoy social mobility.

The BPO industry is an increasingly vital factor in our economy. As one of the most globally-attractive locations in setting up call centers, we need to take advantage of the opportunities the industry has given us, and utilize them in generating jobs and investments, reducing poverty, and improving the lives of the people. As we embrace the challenges of a technology-driven world, may we further harness the partnership between government agencies and private entities, not just for the immediate growth of the economy, but for the creation of a new generation of entrepreneurs that will ensure lasting progress and prosperity of our country.

Thank you.

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