Help sought for 889 laid-off BPO workers

MANILA, Philippines—A moderate workers group called on the Department of Labor and Employment on Wednesday to attend to the nearly 900 workers laid off recently when a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider, Advanced Contact Solutions Inc. (ACS), lost a major US-based client that filed for bankruptcy.

TUCP secretary-general Ernesto Herrera said the DOLE, with the help of industry groups, should find ways to promptly redeploy the displaced employees to other BPO providers that have been enjoying brisk business despite the global financial crunch

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110,000 new jobs on offer in BPO sector

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines may be reeling from job cuts in the manufacturing sector amid a major global downturn, but prospects are bright for business process outsourcing (BPO) and other services sectors.

The local BPO industry is still expected to generate 100,000-110,000 new jobs this year, in addition to the around 400,000 already in place, according to the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP).

ExcelAsia, a full-service human resource solutions company, also reported an increase in workforce demand among its outsourcing clients who seek to fill up 4,000 new outsourcing jobs each month.

Taipan Andrew Tan, chair of publicly listed Alliance Global Group Inc., also announced his company was spending a total of P20 billion for the construction of various projects targeted at the office, residential and hotel markets, expecting to create 50,000 new jobs in the construction sector this year.

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BPAP sizes up China as an outsourcing market

MANILA, Philippines–Is China really worth looking as a business process outsourcing (BPO) market? Could be but not quite yet, according to the head of a local industry group.

The Philippine BPO industry has largely catered to US customers and most of the major players here have been spun out from American companies.

Oscar Sanez, head of the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP), believes the industry remains “Western-centric.”

“There is a lot more opportunity coming from these existing markets,” Sanez said during an e-Services briefing last week.

The BPAP chief, however, does not completely discount China as a market for outsourced services. China itself is looking to become an outsourcing destination, investing in infrastructure necessary for BPO operations.

“From our understanding, the BPO market in China is already [there] but it addresses largely the domestic market,” Sanez said. “But there could be room for support services that require English capability especially as more companies there become global.”

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Arroyo: RP outsourcing still booming

PASAY CITY, Philippines–Despite the current global recession, outsourcing presents a “time of opportunity” for the country, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said at the opening of the eServices conference here.

“BPO (business process outsourcing) continues to boom as global outsourcing is now aimed towards more cost-cutting,” Arroyo said in a keynote speech.

Her speech focused on her administration’s gains in growing the outsourcing industry into a billion-dollar industry.

“In 2001, we recorded 4,000 workers (in BPO). Now we have exceeded 400,000,” she said.

In fostering growth, Arroyo said the country must focus on these areas: encouraging the building of telecom infrastructure to lower cost of connectivity, creating a legal environment in the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) and harnessing human capital to address the sector’s requirements.

She also stressed the need to expand of the “Cyber corridor” project and the creation of more “next wave cities” that target outsourcing investments.

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Nine Tenths of the Law by Amanda Carpo

One sided lease agreements in the Philippines are the rule of thumb and don’t imagine for a second that they are in favor of the lessee. Maybe it is because the lessors are paying the legal fees. Foreigners are often shocked by the commercial and legal terms and conditions used in lease contracts in the Philippines.  They normally require several months post dated checks, sizable security deposits and advanced rentals, contain forfeiture clauses, power of attorney clauses to auction property, padlock premises and other “common commercial practices” which are either obnoxious in other countries and perhaps even downright illegal.

Can you blame the lessor who is stuck with unpaid bills whose premises are trashed at the end of the lease period? Are they just responding to their environments?  The mutual distrust in local lease contracts is reflective of the lack of sophistication of commercial arrangements in the Philippines and the lack of faith in the judicial system.  When your controversies cannot be resolved easily in court or by some arbitrary body, this forces you to lay down the law yourself. It also means that the legal structure and by this I mean-the laws-are not in place to protect both lessor and lessee.

Are the lawyers who draft the contracts to blame? Perhaps. Business is business but at the same time commercial contracts should be entered into in good faith. As officers of the law, lawyers should counsel their clients to be fair and reasonable lest they start a vicious cycle of abusive contracts.

It is extremely difficult to advise foreigners who are lessees to enter into local lease contracts. In the first place, they are forced to lease because of the general prohibition on land ownership. Second, they are used to terms that make business sense. Third, the law in place-the Civil Code- while it contains basic terms and conditions fails to recognize modern commercial practices. Finally, it is hard to find a good lessor. In my view, it’s almost like advising on marriage. Good luck with that.

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Outsourcing to the Philippines: fastest growing in the world

YES YOU read it right. The level of outsourcing to the Philippines is growing faster than in any other country, according to the Global Outsourcing Statistics Report released last December 15 by oDesk, the leading marketplace for online workteams for employers outsourcing technology jobs to certified, freelance developers and programmers.

The report also states that the Philippines remains a popular destination for outsourcing work. Other popular countries include the U.S., India, Pakistan, Canada, Ukraine, and Russia.

The bulk of the outsourcing jobs received by the Philippines is in the Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO) sector. This includes data entry and virtual assistants. India’s largest work category, on the other hand, is in the software and web development field.

The report also divulged that the Philippines’ average feedback rating surpassed the oDesk average for the first time. The U.S. has the highest average feedback rating and the greatest number of providers

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Seat Rentals for Start-ups in the Philippines

Business process outsourcing is one of the most lucrative and fastest growing industries in the Philippines. It is considered to be a strategic management option for companies to decrease the overhead start-up costs.  A major feature of it is seat leasing which gives start up businesses different options when it comes to business growth and development. Instead of shelling out a huge amount of money for operational purposes, a great option is to go for seat leasing. It doesn’t require a lot of capital to avail this kind of service when starting a business in the Philippines.

Seat leasing services usually gives businesses the lowest rates possible when it comes to operational expenses such as equipment for a minimal amount of employees.  Typically seat leasing includes a desk and chair, high-speed internet connection, power for workstation or laptop and common areas such as lunch room and conference room. There are also optional features such as computer and monitor, keyboard/ mouse and VOIP equipment. Seat leasing is a great option especially when setting up outsourcing if you have no experience in the BPO world.

Michael McCullough of ManilaOfficeSpace says, “most of our clients starting in Metro-Manila are now looking towards seat rentals as their prepared office space option.  We are providing our clients with options of either traditional desks or cubicle style in call center or BPO facilities.  These seat leasing options allow them to get up and running very quickly with little captial investment so they can focus on their core business”.

Makati and Ortigas are the most popular cities in the Philippines for seat rentals, as it is the preferred location for start-up BPOs.  It is a top choice for companies who want to have seat leasing because of the abundance of facilities and educated workforce.  Seat rentals have a lot of its advantages aside from the fact that it needs less overhead and operating costs. It can relieve you from traditional expenses that goes with establishing a company. Overall, the main point of seat leasing service is to help in the development of your start-up company.


The average cost for seat rentals is about $250 seat per month. This includes the equipment neccesary for operation process. However, some call centers and BPO offices in Manila may try to charge you the same $250 rates per 8 or 9 hour shift.  It is recommended to ensure that your contract state you have access to the seat for 24/7 regardless of your employees’s shift schedule.

More Dutch firms outsourcing to Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Like many of their counterparts in other parts of the world, companies from the Netherlands are finding the Philippines an attractive outsourcing site, still due mainly to the country’s pool of highly skilled English-speaking workers, a Dutch executive said.

Brian Altman, managing director of Dutch information technology firm IAMD Software Solutions, said the Philippines was generally a good offshore alternative for European companies.

“Services of even the more common business processes will be hard — and expensive — to come by in Europe, and the Philippines is a very good alternative low-cost center for (business process outsourcing),” he said in a statement.

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Bringing BPOs to the countryside

THE GROWTH of business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in the country was estimated at 40-50 percent yearly.

The Philippines has become a popular choice for BPOs because of our highly skilled, educated and English-speaking manpower with high level of customer relations capabilities.

The BPO industry is expanding beyond its traditional coverage and the expansion had into this business myriad of players and stakeholders. The sector, which used to consist mostly of big American and Filipino companies operating thousands of seats, is now seeing the entry of small and mid-sized home grown call centers with less than a hundred seats.

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Supply of IT workers falling short of demand

The Philippines faces a shortage of information technology workers despite a steady 10-percent increase in the talent pool yearly in the past five years, according to the latest study by global think tank XMG Inc.

The Philippine information and communication technology sector is expected to grow by 30-35 percent annually in the next two to three years but the IT labor pool is projected to grow by only three percent, Lauro Vives, chief analyst of the Canada-based research and advisory firm, said in a statement.

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