WE VEHEMENTLY REJECT the view that employees of the country’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector should be thankful to presidentiable Mar Roxas for their employment and disposable income. We condemn those who promote this view – primarily Roxas himself and belatedly his social media campaigner Carlos Celdran.

The country became a BPO hub not because of Roxas, but because of the glut in unemployed college graduates who are fluent in English and the chronic unemployment in the country on the one hand and the aggressive drive of foreign companies to offshore accounts and services to generate huge profits out of cheap labor on the other. Offshore companies will race to the Philippines even without a credit-grabber like Roxas because of these conditions.

From a deeper analysis, the BPO sector’s boom reflects the flaws, not the strengths, of the Philippine government and the country’s socio-economic system. The measures taken by the government to further attract BPO investments – poor working conditions for BPO employees and tax incentives for capitalists – imply social costs and should be condemned, not praised.

We call attention to the heavy workload of BPO employees, the low salaries that they are getting, their essentially contractual status, the violation of Occupational Health and Safety standards in their workplaces, among others. We also call attention to the restrictions to employees’ efforts to unionize in the sector. On the other hand, we call attention to the huge profits being pocketed by big foreign capitalists in the BPO sector.

We condemn Celdran and those who chide BPO employees for not being thankful to Roxas. Employees in the BPO sector work very hard but the lion’s share of the value they create goes to big foreign capitalists in the form of superprofits and the government in the form of taxes. If BPO employees should speak out, it is for their demands for higher wages and better working conditions, lesser taxes and better use of their taxes.

Attracting BPO investments and foreign investments in general is not the way forward for the country if we are to attain genuine development. If the government is really serious in creating decent work in the country in a genuinely sustainable way, it would implement genuine land reform and national industrialization. These policies, however, are farthest from the minds of Roxas and other politicians who are big hacienderos and capitalists and serve the interests of big foreign and local capitalists in the country.

Kilusang Mao Uno (KMU)

April 22, 2016

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