The Philippines isn’t going to lose its global advantage in the BPO-IT sector anytime soon, says eminent Filipino economist Bernardo M. Villegas. But the country now needs to train its workers, so they can migrate to high value knowledge process outsourcing services.

At an open forum after the latest CRC International Investor Roadshow, Dr. Villegas was asked whether the COVID-19 crisis would be an advantage for countries nearer to the US, like Mexico, when it came to offshoring operations. Dr. Villegas responded that the Philippines still has a natural advantage in the sector, but then furthered that artificial intelligence and robotization presented greater risks to the country’s BPO IT sector than COVID-19 does.

“That’s why we are able to compete with India.”
Right now, India and the Philippines are still on top of the priorities of companies of showing offshoring their BPO and IT services,” Dr. Villegas says. He explains that both the Philippines and India have the advantage of an English-speaking population.

But Dr. Villegas then adds that “even Indian companies are coming to invest here, because they see that our population has some kind of advantage in soft skills in servicing their customers.

That is why we are able to compete with India,” he says. “India has a population many, many times our population, but we are able to compete with India and this BPO -IT.

AS a result, even during the COVID Pandemic, he concludes by saying “I don’t think Mexico and the other countries post a serious uh threat to our BPO-IT [sector].

“What we have to do in BPO”
Instead, Dr. Villegas points to a different set of pressing concerns.

What we have to do in BPO[…] is to foresee that voice oriented BPO enterprises will be threatened by artificial intelligence and robotization. It’s very easy to replace voice oriented BPO,” he furthers.

So we have to retrain a lot of these workers so that they can migrate to high value knowledge process outsourcing services. Call centers will not disappear but they will be less important in the future. So we have to move towards the more knowledge based types of services.

He notes, for example that “Filipinos are very much in the forefront of animation.

He then concluded by saying “Filipinos are very creative, so those areas should be given emphasis rather than call centers.

Dr. Villegas serves as Research Director for the Center for Research and Communication, a research and consultancy organization that specializes in linking corporations and organizations around the world to business opportunities in the Philippines. His briefing on “The Philippine Economy as a Top Emerging Market” was part of the latest CRC International Investor Roadshow, the video for which was recently released by the CRC. • | RE de LEon | CRC ||

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