July 23, 2017, 8:47 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07443 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.4017 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03628 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.32436 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02723 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03626 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04054 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.63579 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03534 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00763 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 34.60377 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02797 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13904 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06579 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30624 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20692 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 405.75598 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04049 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02733 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01952 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 13.57175 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13799 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 58.59343 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 11.43535 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.98075 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.47231 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.59951 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13357 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.95278 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.19181 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.28109 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.36583 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46433 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01797 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04244 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01573 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01572 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08685 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.91021 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 182.75233 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1491 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 4.14512 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15784 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.47422 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13229 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.24625 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.54195 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 269.57844 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07211 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30521 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 23.93595 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 657.62059 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.9771 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.6139 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01433 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.23666 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0906 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.38113 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 81.57681 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 9.12404 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 18.24078 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 22.6366 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00614 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01662 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.364 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 166.08836 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 30.51277 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 3.08877 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 1.84435 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25922 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06179 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01258 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02821 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19642 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.36735 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.09972 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 27.52331 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 48.27726 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16258 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 7.25578 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.70024 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31394 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 14.54094 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37863 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08672 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2604 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.52615 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59972 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17055 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.08654 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02835 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00779 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06622 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06654 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11897 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0753 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 112.82935 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0738 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08196 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.14766 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.61897 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.076 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16004 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26836 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13498 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17451 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02797 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01573 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45006 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 152.00649 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 11.08634 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 435.85326 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17678 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 10.43737 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26014 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.6897 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04917 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04647 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0711 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13537 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.61011 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 45.17633 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.53223 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 72.78071 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02027 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57377 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 77.82732 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20216 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 459.54601 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.18241 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05201 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 11.77483 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05472 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 11.82205 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 2.13174 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 5.06546 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25921 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 105.17835 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 7.33482 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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