US heart Gloria

A call center in each province. This is Gloria Arroyo’s vision for the country as told in her speech before the League of Municipalities in the Philippines in Manila Hotel last week.

“Gusto natin magkaroon ng maraming call center sa bansa, hindi natin kayang maglagay sa lahat ng inyong bayan, pero sana naman, lahat ng inyong probinsya [We want many call centers in the country. We can’t put up call centers in every town, but we hope, in every province],” she said in a speech before the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) at the Manila Hotel on Wednesday.

“So I instructed the commission on ICT to make a technical study on the resources needed to transform every province in the country into an ICT enabler,” she said.

So “pleased” was Arroyo with the booming Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in the country that she unceremoniously came to the defense of one call center company who was reported recently to have laid-off 900 of its employees due to the biting financial crisis.

Arroyo said she was “very alarmed” at the reported layoffs in Advanced Contact Solutions Inc. (ACS), and had it checked.

“So we checked with that center, ACS, and they totally denied it,” Arroyo said in a speech before she switched on the University of the Philippines-Ayala Land Techno Hub in Quezon City on Friday.

“In fact, they are looking for more workers and they were even telling us the story that other call centers like Teletech and others read the news, they called up ACS and said, where are the workers you are laying off? We want to absorb them right away, but ACS said they were not laying off anyone: ‘We’re looking for more,’” she said.

Looks like Arroyo is really determined to transform the entire country into a nation of graveyard shift “zombies”, or as Misunderstood puts it, “sleep deprived, nicotine inhaling, cab riding new breed of Filipinos.”

Glamorous, you think? Hold on, she explains:

We are just like the rest of the working class, overworked and underpaid. We are forced to defend the big banks, superstores, telecoms or any account that we are handling. Just like any proletariat, we are alienated from these giants that we work for. We apologize for things that we do not have anything to do with. We fix problems that to start with, we did not create. We are the cheap, apologetic and docile answering machines on the other end of the line. The receiving end of the ire and rants of shortchanged customers.

So, now that we’ve seen Arroyo’s dream for the country, lets move on to how she intends to make this dream a reality, and fast: Executive Order 758.

The EO allows “qualified foreigners who are granted the SVEG (Special Visa for Employment Generation) shall be considered special non-immigrants with multiple-entry privileges and conditional extended stay, without need of prior departure from the Philippines.”

Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan is self-assured that this presidential directive would create 100,000 new jobs in the country.

Libanan said the new SVEG is timely with the expected slowdown in the global economy next year, and will put the Philippines ahead of other countries in Asia in inviting more foreign capital.

“We are looking forward to the time when less Filipinos would seek employment abroad because we are already bringing the investors and the jobs their investments will create here in our country,” he said.

Guess what type of “jobs” Libanan and his boss are referring to? B. P. O. Arroyo wants to have call centers in every province, remember?

But for Migrante International, Arroyo’s order validates the “semicolonial set-up” we have in the country.

“…foreign corporations are given free reign to plunder and exploit our resources indefinitely, while our workers are nailed to deplorable working conditions and slave-like wages,” Garry Martinez, Migrante Chairperson said.

Martinez said that this would “step up the labor export program of the Arroyo government and the hegemony of big foreign corporations and businesses in the country.”

The long and short of it.. We have a tuta (puppet) for a president and here’s the proof.

Never mind if the people are transformed into overworked and underpaid “zombies”, so long as she remains the “US’ best friend”.


Click here to see why call centers, even in each of the country’s provinces, can’t stem the massive migration of Filipino workers abroad.