Filipino IT professionals are being pirated by Asian companies, and it can spell disaster for the Philippines’ telecommunications infrastructure.
It seems that professionals in the country, including those practising Information Technology (IT) are being hired by companies abroad such as Singapore, Malaysia, and other East Asian countries despite being employed in foreign-owned companies situated in Metro Manila.
At first, these IT professionals somehow worked to maintain websites of both private and government institutions against hacking and malfunctioning in order to have smooth flow of transactions, and also worked in order to improve internet speed in telecommunications companies such as PLDT and Globe.
These practitioners may had done well in their respective field of interest, but with other countries offering much bigger pay and really secured tenure, most IT professionals, especially those affected by everyday crisis such as contractualization and insufficient pay, have no choice but to accept opportunities from abroad that are greater than those offered at home.
According to the Office of the Press Secretary last 2008, there were 12,000 Filipino IT practitioners working in Singapore, and most of them were appraised for their skills and talents in their work.
In addition, there are probably more in the Philippines choosing to leave the country for Singapore or any other country in search of much greener pastures.
The Philippines is starting to feel the effects of this recent brain drain. We are left with less competent IT workers who are incapable of securing local networks in case a security breach happens.
Consequently, government websites are often hacked, while people often complain about slower internet speed as compared to those of the neighboring countries.
Groups like the Computer Professionals Union have urged government officials not just to tax-exempt IT professionals, but to create an environment for these practitioners in testing and implementing innovative ideas with government support, as science and technology professionals are vital for national development.
The Philippines’ IT-BPO industry has total revenues that rose from $12.1 billion to US$ 13.5 billion last 2012, and employment that rose to 769,932 from 679,494, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) figures.
Yet these figures may possibly change in the following years, as IT professionals are being promised bigger pay and security of tenure by companies abroad.
There is enough possibility that both revenues and employment would decrease in IT industries in the Philippines.
There is steep competition as local IT professionals find it more difficult to work in the country, given the inadequate infrastructure and wrong government priorities.
President Noynoy Aquino, in his address citing the Philippines’ amicable relations with Singapore, stated that “Singapore and the Philippines will continue to work together on the expansion of cooperation in the fields of infrastructure and construction, tourism facilities, information technology-business process management, shipbuilding, logistics services, and agribusiness”.
In spite of the country losing its best IT workers, the government continues to brag about development, cooperating with countries that are ironically becoming the working destinations for Filipino IT professionals.