The Outsourcing Week in Review: Wednesday, January 6, 2021

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Welcome to Inside Outsourcing: The Outsourcing Week in Review


The end of 2020 doesn’t mean the end of the coronavirus. Before the year ended, a new and more contagious COVID-19 strain was identified in the United Kingdom, causing the Philippines to ban foreign entry from 21 countries, from January 3 until at least January 15. Additional restrictions were also implemented, as President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila and nine other areas will be placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for the whole month of January.

Inside Outsourcing has seen offers for BPOs to get early access to the British-developed AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as a part of the Go Negosyo initiative to have private sector cushion the costs of the government vaccination campaign. BPOs – whose employees may get higher priority access as they are ‘essential workers’ – have been asked to put in advanced orders, with doses being priced at USD5 each. No delivery date was established.

In spite of COVID, Outsource Accelerator celebrated a record year in 2020, generating over 475,000 visitors and 1,500 ‘hot’ outsourcing inquiries – all benefiting the Philippine outsourcing industry. 2020 was a tough year for many businesses – not least the outsourcing sector, however, Outsource Accelerator’s traffic and leads contributed to the revival and resurgence of the battle-weary BPOs.  See the full analysis of the traffic and leads here.

The Japan-Philippines business relationship is looking forward to stronger ties this year. Recently, Duterte and the new Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga reaffirmed their shared commitment to strengthen the countries’ ties across various areas of cooperation. Newly designated Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko supported the dialogue saying that Japanese firms are exploring ways of realigning their supply chains to countries like the Philippines – which he added was in part due to the recent Senate approval of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill.

For this year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is focusing on enhancing its economic relations with the United States by possibly signing up for yet another multilateral trade deal – this time the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). As stated by Trade Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty, this move is expected to further boost the Philippines’ US trade activities which would help exporters bounce back from the ill effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CPTPP membership comes hot on the heels of the recently-joined Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which the country is hoping to fully ratify this year.

According to real estate agency JLL Philippines, the Philippines lagged behind its ASEAN neighbors in logistics development and investments as it concentrated in the services sector. However, the firm noted optimistically that a possible rebound is set to take place in 2021. This view was support, in general, by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), with lead economist Emilio Neri Jr. projecting the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow by seven per cent this year.

Pundits are expecting 2021 to be a great year for countryside development also. Lawmaker and House and Ways Committee Chair Joey Salceda believes that the tax incentives and major infrastructure projects (like the completion of the South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 and its further extension to connect Quezon and Bicol) will spur rural economies. Salceda added that provinces like Marinduque, Leyte, and Albay “need tax incentives that meaningfully differ in length from Metro Manila incentives.” While in the topic of provinces, Iloilo City has overtaken Cebu City and Clark, Pampanga in office space sales. Data presented by real estate services company Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) CEO David Leechiu revealed that IloIlo “transacted 50,000 square meters of office space, overtaking Cebu and Clark, Pampanga for the first time… With 144,000 square meters total current supply, vacancy stands at 10 per cent,”

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is currently working on a three-year national recovery employment plan to generate jobs for millions of workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal of finishing it by the end of January 2021. Further, in its efforts to create more jobs and cushion the blow of the POGO exodus, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) is paving the way for the country’s conventional casinos and integrated resorts to start taking online bets, including accepting bets from locals. PAGCOR Chair and CEO Andrea Domingo said Bloomberry Resorts’ $1.2 billion Solaire Casino and one other smaller casino have already been given permission to provide online betting. Two other multibillion-dollar casinos, City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila, have sought approval to do the same.

In other news, global technology firm Cisco launched the ‘UGNAYAN 2030’, a program anticipated to commence several key digitization initiatives aimed to help boost the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP), create jobs, and build digitization. UGNAYAN 2030 is part of its Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, which is a collaboration framework with government leaders, industry, and academia.

Finally, the 2020 Global Microscope on Financial Inclusion of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – the research arm of the Economist Group – named the Philippines as one of the top leaders in financial inclusion. The country ranked second in Asia, next to India, and eighth worldwide, tied with Brazil. The study rated 55 countries across five categories: Government and Policy; Stability and Integrity; Products and Outlets; Consumer Protection; and Infrastructure.

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, January 6, 2021



5 January 2021

4 January 2021

29 December 2020

28 December 2020

23 December 2020

Read more Inside Outsourcing Newsletters here:

  1. The Outsourcing Week in Review: December 16, 2020
  2. The Outsourcing Week in Review: January 20, 2021

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.