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26/04/2013: Philippines Becoming More Attractive to Investors Due to Stable Industrial Peace

26 April 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The crippling labor unrest that sent foreign investors packing many years ago is now a thing of the past, Manila’s pointman in the United States said as he urged American companies to invest in the Philippines and take advantage of the unprecedented peace in the country’s labor front.

“Now is the best time for foreign investors to put their money in the Philippines,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said on the sides of the 2nd Investment Roadshow that was organized by the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Consulates General in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

“US companies, especially those who were forced to leave the Philippines due to labor strikes in the 1990s, should take advantage of the stable industrial peace that is now prevailing in the country,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he cited statistics from the Department of Labor and Employment that placed the number of strikes nationwide at only three in 2012.

“The reason for the stable industrial peace is the success of alternative dispute resolution such as conciliation-mediation,” Ambassador Cuisia said.  “As you would see, the Secretary of Labor barely needed to use her power to assume jurisdiction or the power to certify a labor dispute for compulsory arbitration.”

Ambassador Cuisia’s statement was echoed by Jesus Zulueta, Jr., Chairman of ZMG Ward Howell, who was a member of the business delegation from Manila that met with American corporate and government executives and Filipino-American businessmen in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.

“Unlike other countries in the region, labor unrest is very low in the Philippines with only two strikes reported in 2011,” said Zulueta.  “Employer-employee relations have never been so good.”

Aside from the prevailing industrial peace in the country, Zulueta said investors can also count on the wealth of talent that the Philippines has to offer as well as the country’s cost competitiveness, excellent infrastructure; government support; and Public-Private Partnership.

“The advantages of Filipino talent are education; adaptability, multicultural exposure; language; low-cost; and good labor-employer relations,” he said, adding that investors can tap on the ready pool of 500,000 new graduates the country produces per year and as many as 3.2 million professionals in various fields.

Citing statistics from the Commission on Higher Education, Zulueta said the Philippines will produce the following number of graduates the period 2011 to 2016: Medical and Allied Disciplines, 952,157; Business Administration and Related Disciplines, 727,443; Information Technology and Related Disciplines 340,851; and Engineering and Technology, 338,740.

In terms of median salaries by job, Zulueta said investors will find the Philippines cost competitive in Asia for Software Engineer; Senior Software Developers and Programmer; Human Resources Manager; and Finance and Accounting Transactional Outsourcing. ###