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President Aquino: Government to continue supporting business process outsourcing sector

PASIG CITY, Philippines – The government will continue to become a partner of businesses in maximizing the talents of the Filipino people especially on the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, President Aquino said on Tuesday.
In a speech during the inauguration of the Pointwest Digital Center in Pasig City, he said that during the APEC Leaders’ Meeting last week, they talked about technology and its impacts on APEC economies.
For instance, in the US, the advancement in technology also displaced laborers as modern machine and robotics take over manual labor.
“This is the thinking behind our massive investments and reforms in technical education: As innovation expands the realm of opportunities, we need to be certain that our people have the skills to capitalize on those opportunities,” he said.
“Through the Training for Work Scholarship Program, for instance, of TESDA, we have done just that.”
Under the present government, the administration spent more than P1.6 billion on the program just for the IT-BPM sector, training more than 200,000 Filipinos along the way.

The government worked hand-in-hand with the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) to ensure that this money was spent efficiently, and it has resulted in more than 70 percent of the beneficiaries of the TESDA-IBPAP training program in 2012.
Graduates found relevant employment within six months after graduation compared to the 28.5 percent employment rate posted by all TESDA scholars from 2006 to 2008.
“And I am certain that, with our continued cooperation, we can improve this figure even more. Again: Go through the training, within six months find a job. Success for over 70 percent of them.”
The government also launched the Service Management Program two years ago, which is a 21-unit specialization track for students in IT and business schools, the President said.
This year, the government welcomed the first batch of graduates under the program, and as of June, there is an estimate of around 8,000 students enrolling in it across eight State Universities and Colleges in the country.
The government is also using technology to educate more people. The University of the Philippines Open University has been working with IBPAP to convert the courseware of the program to create open distance e-learning courses.
The President reported that as of September this year, 1,200 enrollees have already signed up in these courses, and half of whom are OFWs. He hopes that upon graduation, these OFWs will stay in the country and not work abroad.
The President explained however that the programs are not dole-outs but government investments in people, which it considers the country’s greatest resource.
He further explained that for the TESDA program, government invests around P7,155 per scholar. When a scholar graduates and finds a job in the sector, it is assumed that he or she makes at least P234,000 a year as an entry-level worker.
“This means that, with the maximum tax deduction, his annual income tax will be P7,900, therefore we have made money just graduating one person; that facilitates the next person in line to get the same opportunity,” he said.
In less than a year, the state recoups its investment, he said adding these graduates will be taxpayers until retirement, and will also become empowered consumers that spur local economies.
He said that through active partnership between the government and the private sector, the country would continue to reap unimaginable rewards.
“I am confident that, if we continue our productive engagement, we will not just remain globally competitive; we can also give rise to a Philippines that is seen as a global example of what it takes to enjoy success that is both sustained and inclusive; a Philippines that we can be proud to bequeath to the next generation of Filipinos,” he said.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.