ICT exec: Firms wait-and-see how Trump victory can affect industry

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 Nov) – An official of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Council here said that Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies operating in the country are on a wait-and-see how the industry will be affected under the leadership of United States president-elect Donald Trump.

Lawyer Samuel Matunog, ICT-Davao president, told a press conference Wednesday that he anticipates that an impact will not be felt immediately after Trump’s win in the US elections last November 8.

He said majority of BPO companies operating in the Philippines are catering to the US market.

But Matunog said that US companies who are present in the country are taking advantage of their presence here by expanding their operations outside the Mega Manila, to prime urban cities in the countryside, hiring efficient workers having the right skills.

The ICT official said that the industry is not only going towards strengthening the voice sector but also the manufacturing side of it, like software development and game development.

Last November 9, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez said that that stock market investors in the country are wary of Trump.

He confessed that he himself was not sure what the effects of a Trump presidency will have.

“We are not sure of a Trump presidency, what policies they will follow. President and candidate are two different people, so we will have to wait and see what policies a Trump presidency will implement,” he said.

Socioeconomic planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said he believes that Trump’s victory will not affect adversely the Philippine economy since US companies who are investing in the country have the freedom where they want to expand their business.

“The US economy is private-sector driven… I do not think Trump can compel where the private investments will go whether it should be in the US or outside. It’s the decision of the firms and not the government, unless there is a way of penalizing them,” he said.

Matunog, however, lauded President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s move to open the country to foreign telecommunications and power investors that will trigger competitive rates in the country, which are essential for the BPO companies. The President said last Nov. 24 after his return from participating in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit..

Duterte said that he saw the need to create competition to make the country move faster by driving its growth by strengthening power and communications.

“I’d like to send this strong message – it’s about time that we share the money of the entire country, and to move faster, make competition open to all kasi pagkaganito with the corrupt government and with limited area to move, you’ll stymy competition and we will always be at the mercy of the corrupt of this planet,” he said.

He added that they are finalizing plans and looking into regulatory requirements and institutional arrangements to hasten the entry of new players in the communication and power sectors.

“Multibillions – multi is the first name, billion is the last name. Bakit ako magdadalawang isip. And I do not owe you anything, that’s precisely the reason why I was avoiding you during the last election,” Duterte said.

He told the companies to bring down the charges and improve the services and he might change his mind on opening up the country.

“The Philippines acknowledged the significant role of more vibrant telecommunications and power industry to be able to participate in the global market with a competitive edge, recognizing the importance of law enforcement, creating an enabling, safe and secure business environment. We are also committed to enhance the capability of our police force,” he said.

Duterte acknowledged that corruption in government is also true to the other members of the international community but added that while they have yet to come out with concrete steps to address it, he could not afford to just wait-and-see. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)

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