The Outsourcing Week in Review: Wednesday, August 26, 2020

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Welcome to Inside Outsourcing: The Outsourcing Week in Review

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

The Philippines is poised for a “strong recovery”, and is “unlike many countries,” as it has “ample monetary and fiscal space to draw on to fuel recovery, as well as a young, well-educated and mostly English-speaking population”, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor, Benjamin Diokno.

In an opinion column for Singapore’s South China Morning Post, Diokno went on to say that the central bank has prioritized necessities, which has enabled businesses to stay open, wages to be paid, and families put food on the table. Despite the drop in the gross domestic product (GDP), he said the country is “poised to recover quickly as public health efforts bear fruit.”

In line with this optimism, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is revising the government’s medium-term development targets under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 to consider the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and allow for the “new normal”. The updated PDP promises to include a wider adoption of digitalization, more inclusive and job-generating programs, and a better healthcare system.

Japanese investment firm, S Division Holdings, is again looking to invest in Philippine BPOs to add to their strategic portfolio of companies. The company is looking to be a significant investor as well as an active partner in prospective BPOs, and aims to complete the transaction quickly so that the BPO can continue to focus on the job in hand and pursue growth. S Division’s CEO is optimistic when it comes to investing in the Philippines long-term, and in particular, outsourcing, as he believes it “will become the main industry in the future”. Read more on this.

The country’s re-easing of the lockdown to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) was criticised by some health-minded experts as “premature”, however, the Department of Health (DOH) has defended the move saying that the country “cannot remain in lockdown forever”. DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that if the Philippines continues in lockdown people will go hungry and diseases will proliferate.  She said that the government “has to balance between health and economics because economics also has health impacts.”

In attempts to establish a new normal, Malacañang Palace has indicated that a stricter GCQ will be maintained in the National Capital Region (NCR) (Metro Manila) and eased off in the lower-density provinces. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has placed a unified curfew of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. across the entire NCR and adding that the government will start an “aggressive” implementation of localized and granular lockdowns.

The economy is slowly reopening, but Department of Trade (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez reminded establishments to comply with the enhanced health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. On August 17, DTI released a follow-up joint advisory along with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), clarifying that priority workers identified in the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) 20-04-A are not required to be tested, only encouraged. The clarification and slight easing of testing requirements was in response to public concern that the testing requirements of the prior JMC (20-04) were overly onerous and too costly.  It noted that workers and employees in manufacturing companies and public service providers in economic zones located in special concerns areas may be tested every three months.

In a bid to modernise the promotion and delivery Philippine healthcare, lawmaker Joey Salceda filed House Bill No. 7422 or the Philippine E-Health and Telemedicine Development Act of 2020. When passed, the bill would enable the telemedicine and electronic health (eHealth) industry to expand in the country and provide more services to underserved communities.  This can help the community as well as open the doors for the Philippine’s world-class Healthcare Information Management Services (HIMS) sector to bring world-class services to its own people. While digitization is generally seen as beneficial for all, a recent study conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) has shown that more than 18 million Filipino workers have been adversely affected by the dual destructive impact of recent fast-evolving digitalization in part as a result of the COVID-19 disruption.

The pandemic is continuing to disrupt Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms across the country. In Cebu City, the local government is now monitoring 50 workplaces, excluding hospitals, after it was found that people contracted COVID at the locations.  One BPO building is undergoing a 14-day ‘granular lockdown’ which is completed on August 27. In Clark, Pampanga, IQor Philippines has temporarily shut down one of its four offices, after two of its employees tested positive for the disease.

Further information is emerging about the gossip-laden PHP60m ($1.2m) fraud case from the Cebu IT Park location of Sykes Philippines. Inside Outsourcing first reported on the incident last week, as social media chatter began leaking news of the event since early August.  The incident involved a Google account where reportedly three employees were caught siphoning off money by converting Google gift cards into bitcoin. Google has responded to the incident by pulling out of Sykes, a prominent US-headquartered BPO, saying that they have “decided to shift this business to another vendor in the Philippines”.  Social media posts have said that 300 staff have lost jobs as a result, although Sykes has denied this, saying that the employees would be reassigned to other programs.

IT solutions and services organization NIIT Technologies has announced its re-branding, as it will now be operating under the new name Coforge Limited. In a statement, Coforge said that the rebranding initiative reflects both the evolution of the company as well as its vision for the future.  IT giant Wipro has recently announced its move into blockchain, with the implementation of a blockchain-based small-scale liquefied natural gas (ssLNG) trading platform for Uniper Global Commodities SE. The companies collaborated to build the trading platform, which helps traders save costs and brings in more efficiency in the market.

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

NEWS THIS WEEK

 

25 August 2020

  • Wipro collaborates with Uniper to build blockchain trading platform – read article…
  • Thirteen government agencies and organizations now PEZA’s investment partner – read article…
  • BPO firm shuts down office as two employees test positive for COVID-19 – read article…

24 August 2020

20 August 2020

19 August 2020

  • COVID-19, digitalization ‘double whammy’ for Filipino workers – read article…
  • Policy gaps worsen COVID-19 infections in BPOs – group – read article…
  • PH can’t remain in lockdown forever – DOH – read article…
  • Lawmaker pushes for telemedicine and e-health development – read article…

Read more Inside Outsourcing Newsletters here:

  1. The Outsourcing Week in Review: August 19, 2020
  2. The Outsourcing Week in Review: September 2, 2020

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