Speech of President Aquino during he inauguration of IBM facilities in the UP-Ayala Technohub

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
During the inauguration of IBM facilities in the UP-Ayala Technohub
[December 01, 2010, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City]
First of all, congratulations to IBM for achieving another milestone in your ever-growing business venture in the Philippines. The opening of IBM’s three new facilities, namely the Business Process Delivery, the Application Management Services Delivery, and the IBM Innovation Center, is symbolic not only of your long-standing tradition of excellence and commitment to business, but also your continued trust and confidence in the Filipino people, and I thank you.

I am pleased to be here to personally thank IBM Philippines for being of service to the country since 1937. For years, you have been the country’s leading Information Technology partner, and your extensive IT services network has provided IT and business solutions to the government, financial institutions, telecommunications, and the retail & distribution sectors, among others. I am certain that these three new facilities will set up more developments for your company and, at the same time, help the government greatly in its job generation initiatives for Filipinos.
In the past decade, the BPO industry in the country has been nothing short of exceptional. From a virtual non-entity in 2001, this sector has earned the sunshine industry status by generating over 9 billion dollars in revenues, and employing close to 550,000 full-time individuals in 2009 alone. You have contributed 10.2% of the growth of the Service sector, which comprises about 49.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the second quarter of 2010, you have already contributed 3.2% to the GDP growth of the country.
Moreover, the forecast for your sector is highly encouraging. We expect your industry to generate even greater revenues in the coming years. The government predicts around 12 to 13 billion dollars in revenues by 2011. By 2020, your profits are expected to rise to as much as 100 billion dollars, comprising 20% of the market share in the global industry.
Given this, I assure you that we are doing our part. Recognizing your significant contribution to the national economy, we will help develop your industry further, as we have already allocated a 62-million peso fund to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) through theCommission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT). They have agreed to work together to implement activities promoting the IT-BPO industry. Some of our programs include the BPAP Talent Caravans; the Pilot Run for National Competency Assessment Test for Entry-Level BPO Talent; Expanded Learning on IT Services or ELITES Teacher Training; and the Capacity Building for the Health Information Management Outsourcing Industry. The plans for the development of the industry, along with further studies and reports, are also ongoing. An example of this is the study of the Service Science Management and Engineering which will help ensure that a trained workforce will always be ready for employment in the BPO and the emerging Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) industry. We are confident that these projects will solidify the growth and competitiveness of your sector and will achieve goals of creating more jobs and investment in the country.
We are emerging from a dark chapter in our history, having restored a relationship with our citizens that is transparent and based on trust. But this is only the beginning. We must continue to work toward one sole purpose—and that is the benefit of all our people.
We know that as public servants, we must be quick, efficient, and, most of all, visible in establishing a business environment that allows businesses to thrive; that gives the citizens opportunities to showcase their abilities and to live comfortable lives. For this reason, the Cabinet has pledged to work together to help sectors such as the BPO. We are in a period of daylight now. We have dropped the divisive practices that have characterized the past years and we are eager to serve our bosses: the Filipino people. Our Cabinet is one that works, and we work for your benefit.
As the second largest global delivery location in the world, we are honored by IBM Philippines’ recognition of our country’s potential to provide world-class service to your clients and customers. You have raised the bar, and together, we hope to even surpass it. What is already a tangible sign of success, such as our well-developed and highly supported IT parks and buildings, will become a palpable sign of transformation. Our country prides itself on having one of the best customer-oriented and service-driven English-speaking workforces, enabling us to provide efficient services to clients in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. It must then be transformed into one where future growth can be met by driven, dedicated workers able to meet future needs. In that regard, TESDA is now working with the private sector to further enhance English proficiency and technical capabilities of the Filipino labor force to successfully qualify them for employment.
Job generation will still be at the top of our priorities. It is encouraging to hear that the back-office sector has hired 86,000 individuals, while 35,000 were employed in IT outsourcing in 2010. As your business grows, it opens more opportunities for our people to have stable incomes. This sustainable partnership between the private sector and the government will empower our people to free themselves from the shackles of poverty.
To spur economic growth, the Philippines is now gearing toward the full promotion of public-private partnerships. At the heart of any partnership is mutual respect and honorable behavior among partners. Your active participation in the program will be essential in accelerating the implementation of a mutually beneficial set of activities and programs focused on developing the Philippines as an investment destination for global off-shoring and outsourcing. Your support is crucial to gather more interest from the business sector and facilitate the entry of new investors.
To IBM: I wish you the best in all your endeavors. May the opening of these facilities lead to the further success of your company, as well as the arrival of more sustainable partnerships for our country. It is true, computers help people help people, and IBM has proven this by helping the Filipino people overcome the dark ages and usher in the daylight brought about by the booming global IT industry. It is my fervent hope that more companies will follow your path in choosing the Philippines as a partner in business. We pledge to continue fostering a rational, transparent, and predictable business environment.
Good day and thank you all of you.