Trump trouble in PH seen

Bases Conversion Developent Authority (BCDA) president and chief executive officer Vince Dizon has yet to seriously assess US President Donald Trump’s impact on economic zones under his authority. At a recent forum of the Pampanga Press Club, Dizon had no immediate figures on American firms and their employees in Clark, Subic, etc under BCDA.

In Clark, there are American firms. Sutherland BPO’s chief is of Indian descent, but is very American who lives in New York with Hollywood celebrities for neighbors. Sutherland alone has hundreds, if not thousands of employees.

There’s a concern yet in the realm of possibility if not probability, and it’s something government officials should prepare for, as should the thousands of those employed by Americans not only in economic zonez, but in the entire country.

During the US presidential campaigns, we’ve known Trump’s promises which he is now fulfilling. American first, by bringing back overseas US investments so the jobless American can find jobs keep the US dollar in within US territory. Also by keeping the US dollar within American shores through more taxes on dollars being brought out.

We’ve always taken pride in being a preferred site for foreign investors because more Filipinos speak and write acceptable English, a factor cited like mantra to explain why US BPO’s are all over our islands. This is on top of our being less paid which is an economic plus for the Americans.

But with Trump in the White House declaring unprecedented protectionism if not nationalism, there is reason to be worried that Filipinos answering phones in American BPO facilities might just find themselves calling on phones for job inquiries. It seems that up to now, the Philippine government has not moved a step for possible options for these employees.

The London-based economic research firm Capital Economics has warned that Trump’s policies would impact on the Philippines’ BPO industry and foreign remittances income.

Not so much on trade, the firm said, noting that trade with the US adds only about three percent to the Philippine economy.

In its report titled “Trump’s ‘America first’ policy poses threat to Philippines,” the firm noted that “the Philippines also stands out as one of the most vulnerable emerging economies to any moves by the US toward protectionism.”

“A number of outsourcing companies in the Philippines have put expansion plans on hold, while some are reportedly already drawing up precautionary plans to relocate some operations back to the US,” Capital Economics noted.

It also noted that most BPO facilities in the country are American and employ about one million Filipinos.

Then, there’s the problem on US dollar remittances from US-based Pinoys, as their remittances are estimated to comprise three percent of the Philippine economy. With Trump wanting to heavily tax dollars exiting from American domain, Filipinos would feel discouraged to remit as they used to.