Wednesday, March 14, 2018

MANILA – Artificial intelligence (AI) and taxes were among the threats to the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, according to the Senate science and technology committee.

The committee recently held a second inquiry into the threats to the 1.4 million BPO jobs in the country.

“Hundreds of thousands” of jobs could be lost in three to five years due to A.I., committee chairman Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said, citing experts.

By 2022 a decline of about 43,000 low-skilled jobs in the information technology-BPO industry is expected, according to the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines.

Another threat is “the changing policies of other countries,” Aquino said.

Moreover the government tax reform program is affecting the sector negatively, said the senator.

The effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law led several BPO companies to relocate, abort expansion or re-shore workers, according to Aquino.

The senator said he pushed for the retention of a special tax rate for regional operating headquarters and regional headquarters of BPOs during the TRAIN’s period of amendments. But Malacañang vetoed this provision.

The senator claimed the veto will lead to an increase in the cost of doing business, affecting 5,000 workers and preventing other BPOs from setting up shop in the country.

Isa itong industriya na kailangan pangalagaan, kailangan tulungan, kailangan mas palakihin pa,” said Aquino. “Huwag natin babawasan ang trabaho sa industriyang ito na napakaraming natulungan na.”

The senator encouraged training centers and academic institutions to offer BPO courses that will prepare workers for “higher skilled BPO jobs.”/PN


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