MANILA?The Philippines is expected to solidify its position as global leader in business process outsourcing (BPO) activities once Congress passes a special law securing personal data privacy, House Deputy Majority Leader and Pasig City Representative Roman Romulo said in a news release over the weekend.
"We are absolutely confident that more companies around the world will subcontract their business support jobs to Philippine providers once the proposed Act Protecting Individual Personal Data in Information and Communications Systems is decreed," said Romulo, the bill's author.
Romulo was referring to House Bill 1554, which seeks to regulate and establish fair practices in the gathering and use of an individual's personal details in information-technology (IT) systems.
"We are very hopeful the bill will be passed soon, at least by the House initially," Romulo said.
He said the measure would provide adequate safeguards against the potential misuse or mishandling of personal facts in IT-enabled services such as customer care and electronic data processing.
"This will sharpen the country's competitive edge in BPO activities, besides reinforcing consumer trust and user confidence in electronic commerce," Romulo said.
He pointed out that BPO providers handle a great deal of customer and account master files.
"Naturally, their principals wish to be assured that we have definite, predictable, and enforceable personal data privacy rules," he said.
The principals of Philippine BPO subcontractors include some of the world's largest banks, insurers, stockbrokers, hotel chains, airlines, travel operators, and newspaper publishers, as well as providers of health, telecommunication, Internet, and satellite or cable TV services.
According to IBM's latest Global Locations Trend Annual Report, the Philippines emerged as the world's largest recipient of new outsourcing business in 2009, edging out India.
"We are determined to support our BPO sector, which is remarkably labor-intensive. This is exactly what we need?relatively gainful and stable new jobs for our fresh college graduates and young professionals," Romulo said.
Citing projections by industry groups, he said the country's BPO activities have the potential to produce up to 700,000 additional full-time jobs over the next five years.
At present, the industry already employs some 600,000 workers in customer care; back offices; medical, legal and other data transcription; software development; animation; engineering design; and digital content services.
The industry is projected to generate up to $25 billion in annual revenues by 2015, nearly three times the estimated $9 billion this year, according to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines.