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APBC Pres. Eduard Alcordo

Aus-Phil Business Council Ready to help Call Centre Businesses

The Australia Philippine Business Council (APBC) stands ready to support Australian business process outsourcing (BPO) firms in Manila embrace long-term remote working strategies.

“APBC’s business is business.  We seek to represent Australian business investment in the Philippines and Philippine businesses here in Australia. We want to be your partner in doing business with the Philippines,” Eduard Alcordo, president of APBC said during a webinar entitled “Navigating the Future of Work” held September 23 via Zoom.

To date, there are over 300 Australian companies in the Philippines employing more than 44,000 Filipinos, said Ma. Hellen De La Vega, Philippine Ambassador to Australia, and the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector is a “strong pillar of the Philippine-Australia economic engagement.”

The information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry is a powerful growth engine of the Philippine economy, with a market share that puts it first in the world in voice-related services and second in non-voice services. In 2020, the IT-BPM sector weathered the pandemic-induced downturn and saw revenues grow 1.4% YoY to USD 26.7 billion and headcount expand to 1.32 million, according to the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, the country’s IT-BPM industry association.

The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) recently allowed IT-BPM companies in special economic zones to adopt 90% remote work setups until March 31, 2022.

Although it wasn’t without its share of challenges, Australian BPO companies Probe Group, Tallant Asia, and Remote Staff were able to navigate the transition to remote work arrangements and sustain their customer service operations. 

“The APBC is here for you in Australia…We at the APBC also look at the issues that are preventing Australian small to medium sized companies [from] outsourcing to the Philippines. For example, the payments system, how to resolve disputes, how to make sure that the company that says they have 90 seats actually have the proper 90 seats, such things,” Alcordo added.

“[For] 46 years now and counting in connecting individuals and businesses and providing access for resources and opportunities to help your business grow,” said Rene Cabrera, incoming president of the APBC and managing director of San Miguel Yamamura.

“Remote work is now recognised as a manageable, sustainable, productive and cost saving alternative…If you think about it, outsourcing is just WFH with over 30 years more experience – and you can turn it on and off as needed,” Cabrera added.

In 2020, Australia ranked as the country’s 15th major trading partner, 20th export market, and 15th import supplier, said Department of Trade and Secretary Ramon Lopez. On the investment front, it is the Philippines’ 13th source of approved investments.

The webinar was jointly organized by the APBC and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Sydney. The APBC will host another webinar by the end of the year to celebrate mateship and bayanihan between the Philippines and Australia as part of an ongoing campaign to mark 75 years of PH-AU diplomatic ties. #