February 24, 2018, 12:24 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07045 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04297 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03415 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.38059 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02443 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03415 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03837 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.59409 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0304 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00723 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.58872 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02533 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13159 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06235 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.2325 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18295 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 384.03989 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03832 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02429 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.018 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 11.42605 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12152 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 54.88202 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.87186 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.71801 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.39493 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.3921 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11601 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.94226 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.17652 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24369 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33858 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52177 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01557 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03825 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01371 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01377 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08533 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.89967 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 172.74122 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14073 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.9296 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15011 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45024 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11584 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.216 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 4.85824 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 261.23153 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06714 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.24329 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.71245 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 713.12103 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.9248 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.40936 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01359 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0619 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.9413 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.3061 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 77.09572 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.62709 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.26453 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.55496 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00575 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01573 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.12565 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 158.52676 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.96605 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.97621 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.45904 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22463 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05848 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0119 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02544 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17647 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31853 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.95396 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 25.47477 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.90946 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15451 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.71398 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.62536 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29868 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.76098 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35911 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07494 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22327 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.88663 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59477 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15035 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98703 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02611 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00738 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06229 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0629 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11989 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06472 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.82716 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06982 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07256 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.0862 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.12737 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07193 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14866 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2582 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34501 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15536 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02534 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01372 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42597 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 146.36485 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.78074 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 381.75523 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16785 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.87876 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22325 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60368 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04586 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0428 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07262 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12717 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.55966 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.06541 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51746 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 69.67197 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.54556 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 156.62766 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 478.3426 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 435.71839 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98465 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04817 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.20986 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05179 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.20986 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.85248 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.79474 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.22325 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 99.5492 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.94226 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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