Despite the depressing economic outlook around the world, most Filipinos that I've talked to still view the Philippines as a safe harbor from the "perfect storm of crises" currently engulfing the financial sector. A common comment here is that the Philippines didn't crash or isn't suffering as much as the developed economies because it didn't fly as high.
Admittedly, these are comforting words to hear. I, for one, is glad that the public is keeping an upbeat mood in these tough times. A negative attitude, after all, would only bring, well, negative results.
However, beneath this veneer of optimism is the sad fact that the Philippines is not totally immune from the conflagration affecting the globe. While the local BPO (business process outsourcing) industry seems to be cruising and adjusting well, job cuts are starting to distress other businesses, particularly the electronics sector.
Just a few days ago, Intel made the headlines here after formally announcing it was closing down its only chip testing plant in Cavite province this year. The shutdown of the facility, the first multinational semiconductor factory to be established in the Philippines, will affect about 1,800 employees.
And if the press statement of former senator Ernesto Herrera, who is now the secretary-general of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), is correct, a few thousands more are said to have been rendered jobless in a nearby technology park.
Last week, Microsoft revealed that it is shedding some 5,000 employees worldwide as a result of the ailing global economy. The company's subsidiary, however, said the local office is not affected by the move.
But, I know of some executives in the industry who may have been directly or indirectly hit by the financial crunch. Let me attempt to cite a few of them:
-- Antonio Pio de Roda, former country manager of Nortel Philippines. The company's parent firm in Canada filed for bankruptcy protection recently. No reported employment yet.
-- Jino Alvarez, former manager at Epson Philippines, Samsung Philippines, and Neo Computers. No reported employment yet.
-- Luichi Robles, former country manager of Cisco Philippines. No reported employment yet.
-- Teresa Pacis, former communications manager of Intel Technology Philippines. As indicated above, the factory announced it is closing down this year after 35 years of operations. Now with IPO Philippines.
-- Raymond Huang, former country manager of Cisco Philippines. Last reported employer was Alcatel-Lucent Philippines.
This list could be longer, but I hope it won't get too long.