Diamond in the Rough – Workers in the Philippines
Filipino Perseverance Amidst Challenging Times
Having one of the highest poverty rates in Asia, the Philippines has a 26.5% poverty incidence says the 2009 National Statistics Coordination Board (NCSB) report. What’s worse is that most of its people live under a dollar per day. One can easily assume that this densely populated country (312.78 people per-square-km according to a World Bank study) would suffer from lack of education and sub nominal literacy. However, believe it or not, the Philippines has an impressive 93.4% literacy rate and has produced more than 500,000 college graduates in 2012 alone.
Filipinos have always believed that finishing their studies is the key to a better future. Which is why many go through great lengths just to finish their education. More than half of the population aim to go abroad in search of greener pastures and make the ultimate sacrifice of leaving their loved ones behind in the promise of a better life for the whole family. This way of thinking encourages them to learn about foreign cultures (especially the American culture) to prepare themselves should they given the chance to realize their goal. Ironically, as Filipinos go to the United States to look for work, most companies in the US go to the Philippines looking for people to work for them.
The BPO boom is a dream-come-true for the majority of Filipinos who want a piece of the American dream without having to leave their loved ones behind. Likewise, the companies that set up shop in the Philippines took advantage of having well-educated and highly-trained workers while lowering their operational costs. It is said that a company can get as much as three Filipino workers for the price of one American with the same credentials.
The country itself benefitted from the influx of BPO firms, lowering its unemployment rate from 7.3% in 2010 to 6.9% in 2011. The Philippine government even took it a step further by introducing legislations that gave these companies many incentives including tax holidays which attracted yet more companies to invest.