DONNIE AND RODDY: Best Friends Forever
For those who haven’t heard, President Duterte recently chatted with President-Elect Donald Trump. The short phone call evidently pleased the Philippines hard-charging president, who now considers The Donald a “kaibigan” (friend).
President Duterte reported that President-Elect Trump wished him victory in his war against illegal drugs, this support coming from a quite different direction than those of many other national leaders and international agencies who have spoken out against the thousands of Filipino citizens who have been killed in the streets in ongoing “salvage” operations.
President-Elect Trump then went on to say that they should try to repair the “bad relations” between the two nations.
“You just did something good here and you’re doing great,” President Duterte said, quoting Trump. “I know your worry about these Americans criticizing you. You are doing good. That’s why I’m very impressed with you.”
When asked by a reporter about the bombastic Philippines president’s policies, President-Elect Trump simply pointed out the realities of the situation. “Well, hey. Look. This is bad stuff. They slice them up. They carve their initials in the girl’s forehead. OK. What are we supposed to do? Be nice about it?”
“ITS (NO LONGER) MORE FUN IN THE PHILIPPINES?”
Don’t forget that as of January 2017 the Philippines will be changing its tourism slogan of “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” The Department of Tourism campaign was launched with much fanfare in 2012 and quickly became popular throughout the nation. Unfortunately, this local enthusiasm did not translate internationally and a Nielsen study found that the slogan did little to actually attract tourism. The new campaign – which will kick off with the Ms. Universe pageant in Manila – will attempt to be more specific as to why foreign tourists should visit the sunny archipelago.
Said a member of the Philippines Department of Tourism, “We would like to reinforce the Philippines brand…and definitely inject more unique Philippine experience with the local cuisine and culture to make it more authentic,” she added.
The Secretary of the DoT also shrugged off a question as to whether alleged extrajudicial killings were impacting tourism. She replied that arrivals are increasing and that tourism revenues generated by millions of visitors increased 10 percent in the past year to 450 million US dollars. She also noted that the majority of the tourists are from Korea and accounted for nearly a third of that revenue.
TRUMP AND BPOs
The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States could have severe repercussions for Philippine call centers. Trade was as key component of this past year’s campaign with Trump repeatedly stating that he would take jobs that have been outsourced to other countries back to the United States. And if The Donald follows through and does indeed repatriate these overseas jobs back to the US, the “onshoring” could impact that massive business process outsourcing companies that operate in the Philippines.
A staggering number of American businesses operate call centers and other BPO’s in the Philippines. A Indeed, 75% of the BPO’s operating are contracted with American companies – Apple, Verizon, AT&T and the like. All told, the BPO industry brought approximately $22 billion US dollars to the Philippines and employed more than 1,000,000 Filipinos. High tariffs (basically fines) for US business contracting for outsource work to the Philippines would be bad enough for the local economy, and if the new US administration actually takes steps to “return” those jobs back to America, the “Tiger of Asia” could find itself bundled up in a canvas sack and shaved down in short order.
In short and even though government and financial officials are downplaying concern, the loss of those jobs would be catastrophic for the economy.