Public-private collaboration to sustain PHL-US economic relations

By Raymond Batac / Philippine Trade and Investment Center, Washington, D.C.

Part One

THE United States has always been one of the top economic partners of the Philippines; we have an enduring alliance with the US that is based on deep historical and cultural ties—robust, dynamic and strategic.

Our economic relations with the US are equally strong. In 2015 our total bilateral trade with the US reached over $16 billion and total equity from the US amounted to $731 million, making it the top contributor of net investment flows to the country for that year.

With the changes in administrations in both the US and the Philippines, and the holding of the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference in Orlando, Florida, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado headed a 33-member Philippine Healthcare and Business Process Offshoring Roadshow to the US, covering the cities of New York, Washington, D.C., Houston and San Francisco.

The industry delegation was composed of representatives from Philippine companies and organizations that included Globe Telecoms, Pointwest Technologies, SPI Global, KMC Solutions, Dynaquest, ADEC, Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, Contact Center Association of the Philippines, Health Information Management Association of the Philippines, Advanced World Solutions Inc., eData Services Philippines, Edulynx Corp., Personiv, Prople Inc., Teledevelopment and Seven Seven Softwares Inc.

The forums and business meetings organized in these cities provided an opportunity for the Philippine government and industry to highlight our robust economic growth in the last seven years, and the dramatic rise in competitiveness of the country as a destination for foreign investments, particularly in the health-care information management and the information  technology-business process management services landscape. Philippine companies highlighted our competencies, particularly in the fields of healthcare information revenue-cycle management, pharmaceutical and life science, health-information technology and data analytics, and health care-customer service.

According to Everest Global Inc. (EGI), the global health-care business-process outsourcing (BPO) market is expected to grow between 8 percent and 10 percent from 2015 to 2018, reaching around $7 billion in revenues in 2018, and will require a global work force of 48,000 to 50,000 full-time employees. During the forum in New York, EGI highlighted the fact that the Philippines is today the preferred offshore location for clinical health-care business-process services in the world, edging out other country providers due to the overwhelming availability of local medical talent. They also underscored the Philippines’s continuing value proposition for off-shore health-care services, our high competency in the English language, a credible choice for non-voice services, and a viable alternative to other offshoring locations.

Terrado also met with a number of US companies in New York, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  These meetings included discussions with influencers of a major US Fortune 500 company for a potential health-care information management Global In-House Center investment in the Philippines and a $68-million expansion in Iloilo by Shearwater Health, a US global health-care solutions provider.

In the West Coast we expect around 6,000 jobs to be generated from technology and health-information management companies, such as Axis Point, Medcor, Pomeroy and Unicom Global, from now to 2019 through their expansion or entry in the Philippines. Unicom Global, an IT company based in Mission Hills, California, also intends to establish a research and development center in the Philippines to train students and young professionals on Technology and Innovation Programs. To be continued