GMA TO SELL RP LABOR AT BUSH MEETING

Manila, May 4, 2003 -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is bent on marketing Philippine capabilities in outsourcing when she meets with executives of over two dozen companies, which were awarded projects in the reconstruction and development of Iraq, during her upcoming visit to the United States.

In the same US visit, the President will also grace a business process outsourcing (BPO) roadshow that will promote the Philippines as a global BPO hub.

Secretary Roberto Romulo, head of the task force on the Philippine Public-Private Sector Partnership for the Reconstruction and Development of Iraq, said the President's moves would respond to expectations that the Philippines could be a major beneficiary of major economic opportunities arising in post-war Iraq.

Romulo, who is reportedly set to go today to Kuwait to meet with contractors for reconstruction projects in post-war Iraq, said the primary contractors would fill an average of 30 percent of the manpower needs and outsource the balance.

The outsourced manpower would preferably be given to coalition partners of the US in its campaign in Iraq, to include the Philippines, he said.

Romulo, named to head the task force by virtue of Executive Order 194 issued by President Macapagal-Arroyo last April 14, earlier made initial contacts with US government and business leaders.

Apart from public works and energy industry projects in which the Philippines has traditionally been strong, non-core activities like information technology, finance and accounting, catering and logistics also offer huge BPO opportunities, he said.

"The best opportunity is for experienced Philippine companies and skilled workers because the primary contractors have first-hand experience with Philippine companies and skilled labor," he added.

The primary contractors, who have the potential to get contracts worth some $1.7 billion, are free to bid out sub-contracts but will give preference to coalition partners, he noted.

"Our strength is our membership in the US-led coalition in Iraq and our track record in the Middle East. But we have to be realistic in our expectations. At the height of Iraq's prosperity in the 1970's, we had about 35,000 workers in Iraq," he said. (Malacanang News Release)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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