The Outsourcing Week in Review: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Welcome to Inside Outsourcing: The Outsourcing Week in Review

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

More claims have emerged of unethical call center conditions during COVID citing the Philippines and India as the primary culprits, with Amazon Ring as the client. A recent report by America’s NBC News revealed that call center workers in the Philippines who are contractors for Amazon Ring’s home security division have been required to report to the office for work, and are made to sleep there. The report has surfaced six months after the original complaints were made and contractor Teleperformance promised to make changes. Four workers detailed their work experience at Amazon’s call center in Cebu City saying that conditions “have only gotten worse”.

In India, an alleged call center racket that had been targeting elderly Americans for nine years has recently been busted by Indian and US investigators. The raids led to the recovery of digital evidence of fraud, incriminating documents, details of several bank accounts and fixed deposits worth Rs 190 crore (US$26M), as well as Rs 25 lakh (US$34,000) in cash and gold worth Rs 55 lakh (US$75,000), according to a statement released by India’s Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI).

Back to the Philippines, the country is looking good in the eyes of European entrepreneurs, as it ranked fourth as a potential location for EU businesses among countries in ASEAN. According to the 2020 EU-ASEAN Business Sentiment Survey, 56 per cent of EU businesses said they are expanding in the Philippines, and 35 per cent of respondents indicated uncertainty or maintenance of existing. Of equal interest, the Philippines is now also looking to Europe as an alternative market for overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that they are opening new markets to employ OFWs.

The Department of Finance (DOF) is confident of investors’ favorable long-term prospects for the Philippines. The country’s foreign direct investments (FDI) have had a quick recovery following the strict lockdowns, as recent data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that the FDI grew for three consecutive months with 39.1 per cent growth in May, 7.1 per cent in June and 35.1 per cent in July. BSP data revealed that the July infusions came mostly from Japan, China and the United States.

Given the decline in imports due to weakened domestic demand, the Monetary Board of the BSP is expecting higher dollar inflows this year than earlier expected. In a statement, the central bank said it revised its balance of payments (BOP) position to an $8.1 billion surplus this year, equivalent to 2.2% of the gross domestic product. In May, the BSP forecasted the payments position to post a $0.6 billion surplus or 0.2% of the GDP. Despite the general confidence, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) year-on-year investments dipped by over a fifth in September. Data released by the agency showed that approved investments by PEZA amounted to P68.5 billion for September 2020, down 22.41% from P88.3 billion recorded a year ago.

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In updates regarding the proposed tax reforms of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, Senate Committee on Economic Affairs chair Imee Marcos sought for the “outright deferment” of some provisions of the bill that would reduce incentives given to several businesses to protect investors. The senator also noted that Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies will also be hit by the rationalization of incentives proposed under CREATE. “While the BPO sector appears unaffected on the surface, with its workforce still intact, this sector has incurred enormous new expenses affecting work-from-home arrangements, mandatory shuttle services, health protocols and on-site accommodation for hundreds of their personnel”, she said.

Records obtained from the Department of Labor and Employment Bureau of Local Employment (DOLE-BLE) revealed that the number of foreign workers issued with an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) industry decreased by 50% this year. In part because of this trend, the country’s property sector is bracing for the continuing exodus of POGOs and their service providers. Property advisor David Leechiu said that almost 300,000 square meters or 17 per cent of total office space will be vacant by year-end, which is tough for landlords but can benefit BPO companies.

The digitalization of Philippine small and medium businesses (SMBs) can help the country’s journey to post-COVID-19 recovery. According to Cisco-commissioned 2020 Asia Pacific SMB Digital Maturity Study of the International Data Corporation (IDC), digitalization could add 1.17 to P1.36 trillion ($26 to $28 billion) to the country’s economy by 2024 – as digitally mature SMBs enjoy higher benefits in revenue and increased productivity, contributing to their growth and overall economic recovery.

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

NEWS THIS WEEK

 

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20 October 2020

19 October 2020

  • Philippine economy to suffer worst drop in Southeast Asia – IMF – read article…
  • Call center fraud targeting elderly Americans busted in India – read article…
  • PH long-term prospects remain positive – DOF – read article…

16 October 2020

  • Digitalizing PH SMBs could add P1.36 T to economy – Cisco – read article…
  • Teleperformance PH’s recruitment bot wins APAC and Stevie awards – read article…
  • DOLE eyes Europe as potential new market for displaced OFWs – read article…
  • Amazon Ring Filipino call center workers’ situation “have only gotten worse” – read article…

15 October 2020

  • Personiv VP of Marketing & Communications wins Gold Stevie® Mentor of the Year Award – read article…
  • Number of foreign workers in POGOs decreased this year – read article…
  • PEZA inflows drop with jobs as agency steps up CREATE fight – read article…
  • Infosys employees increased to 240K in third quarter – read article…

14 October 2020

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