November 22, 2017, 3:03 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07222 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.23697 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.035 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34334 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02609 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.035 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03933 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.63992 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03265 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00741 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 34.27689 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01967 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02668 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13491 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06405 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01967 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.28171 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20626 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 393.707 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03929 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0252 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01953 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 12.51721 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13055 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 59.27237 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 11.06096 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01967 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.84798 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42782 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.47748 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12472 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.93215 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.25679 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26216 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34612 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.53196 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01676 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0411 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01485 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01485 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.09043 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.92566 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 176.89283 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14439 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 4.01731 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15359 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46264 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12608 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.21691 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.23442 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 266.33236 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06904 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.28012 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.94985 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 692.86138 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03638 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.46903 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01391 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.2151 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03441 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.37082 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 78.99705 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 8.32547 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.69912 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 21.59685 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00593 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01613 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.50443 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 163.16618 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 29.60669 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 3.02262 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.44897 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2763 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05995 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0122 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02689 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18578 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34307 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.02635 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 26.80433 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 47.94494 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15822 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.90266 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.6647 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.30619 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 14.0885 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37348 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08155 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.27622 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 7.00098 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60177 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16317 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03638 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02891 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00756 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01967 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06359 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06374 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.06568 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07087 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 110.87513 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07473 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07785 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.16841 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.36755 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07374 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15449 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26735 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13097 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16686 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0267 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01486 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.4367 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 149.85251 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.99312 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 410.64307 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17207 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 10.12743 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.27624 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.64562 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04905 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04547 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07723 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13037 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59133 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.93314 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51976 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 71.28811 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01967 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57699 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 158.89873 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19617 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 446.39136 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.10089 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05108 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.98368 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0531 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.988 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98682 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.91504 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2763 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 102.05507 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 7.11701 Zimbabwe dollar

The bearish blight of BPOs

Foreign investments in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, once the brightest among the sunrise sectors of the Philippine economy, seem to have momentarily fallen behind a dark cloud under the Duterte administration. BPO investors have recently turned bearish.

Since we continue to trail in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI) relative to the successes of our Asian neighbors and peers who’ve forged far ahead, a blight in BPO investments, however slight or temporary behooves an analysis.

The BPO industry, after labor exports, has long been cited as the singular domestic industry keeping the economy afloat along several socio-economic aspects all critical to a bureaucracy that has failed to provide sustained employment. 
BPO was the quick fix.

For one, the start-up capital and ease of entry requirements for BPO investors are relatively less demanding than those for capital-intensive industries. At low to medium capital investments, inordinate profits are earned by investors albeit often unlinked to GDP growth. BPO investments were at periods of either low or moderate GDP as the former surpassed the latter surging by over 2.5 percent against GDP’s best growth figures.

For another, the infrastructure required, at least in our major urban centers, is available, albeit moderately provided as telecommunications, transportation and power facilities could still stand improvement.

A third aspect, the diversity of BPO variants -- from directory assistance to telemarketing and order-taking telephony for pizza deliveries, to medical and legal transcription -- offers the domestic job market and the decidedly overqualified Filipino college graduate fallback options that ensure contractual employment at the very least. 

Note the contribution to gross domestic productivity of the services sector in which the BPO industry is tucked under. While it does not help in our industrialization endeavor, the industry provides the otherwise underemployed college graduate some disposable income that leads to consumerism and household consumption -- both critical addends of the GDP expense formula. 

Global developments and domestic variables, both political and economic, however compel us to seriously review the BPO data as international investors in the industry seem to be slackening off.

There are three kinds of data of varying degrees of credibility to chew on.

The Philippine Statistics Authority measured a dramatic 34.07 percent fall in investment pledges in information and communications technology of which the BPO sector is an integral component. Comparing first quarter data between 2017 and 2016 the decline in peso terms amounts to over P2.16 billion.

While their data includes both the first and second quarters of 2017 arrayed against similar benchmarks in 2016, a major daily, quoting from unnamed sources, reported a 34.96 percent fall in investments in the broad information technology-business process management sector from January to May of 2017. Not only does this zero-in on the BPO sector but it mirrors the official data for the first quarter and shows a deepening of the bearish sentiments.

The third substantiates the first two and is perhaps the most incisive as it stems from informed analysis.

The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines fears that a toxic chemistry of predatory fiscal proposals which include reneging on investment incentives while slapping prohibitive taxes on the industry would “ impact, in an irreversible way, decisions to remain, expand or set up new companies in the country.” For investors facing a politically temperamental dispensation, given the superior incentives granted elsewhere and the downsides of heavy-handed taxation that eat into thinning profits, these could indeed be game changers.

In seeking causes for the drastic 35 percent decline in investor interest it would be tempting to blame political realities posed by American BPO contractors who account for 64.7 percent given the thrust of the United States to repatriate jobs and reduce their dependence and vulnerability to volatile external providers. 

Where volatility is critical for the US BPO contractor, our current foreign policy pronouncements, in a hypocritical drive to ingratiate ourselves with those who would violate our territorial rights, does little to assure longtime partners and our principal source of FDIs that our highest officials are steadfast, stable or, at the very least, predictably sane. 

The manic depressive mix of acerbic aversion for American capital against allegiant blabber favoring an expansionist communist and characteristically military juggernaut is not reassuring. In fact the flow of capital between the Philippines and a bullying China has worsened.

The feared “America First” policies of the Trump administration cannot be the immediate impetus behind the bearish mood of BPO investors. Not yet at least. The economic priorities of the Trump administration are healthcare, tax reform and an encompassing focus on American jobs of the industrial and sustainable kind. The virtual repatriation of overseas BPO jobs was neither a campaign theme nor is it likely to be on a priority “To Do” list.

The ominous shadows cast on the Philippine BPO industry are homegrown. Bearishness stems from fears of prohibitive tax costs attributable to the myopic view of a Keynesian dispensation that thinks high taxes stimulate an economy. Unfortunately in the case of BPOs inordinate taxes may inadvertently slaughter the goose that lays the golden eggs.
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