Businessman and commentator/columnist Valeriano “Bobit” Avila shares his views on the fact that though the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is booming, there is a shortage of people filling in thousands of BPO jobs simply because they lack sufficient English skills.

Mr. Avila calls for a re-evaluation of the Philippines’ obsolete language policies to address this current and pressing need.

Though I completely agree with Mr. Avila, that there is a drop in the English literacy and proficiency among the Filipino people compared to years past and that action is needed to improve the teaching and mastery of English among students and professionals, I feel it’s somewhat short-sighted if the focus will just be primarily on English.

I think, continuous success in BPO means focus in more Languages skills.

As analysts and industry watchers note through articles in Business Week and Time, now that North America and Europe has weakened from the recession– Asia is the stronger major world economy with rising markets in many of the nations in the region.

I think it would be in the best future interests of BPOs based in the Philippines, because of its strategic location and good connections with other nations, to place new focus on mastering languages like Chinese, Korean, Hindi, and go even further learning to speak Arabic as well.

It would be even an advantage for BPO firms to tap into the local Philippine market for customer contact services, by delivering services in the local languages (Tagalog, Visayan); Think quality services from home straight to the heart.

With learning the languages of these economies, one can also learn their culture, particularly their business culture and needs– such knowledge can best fine-tune the machinery of trade and commerce towards positive gain.

One thing I can say generally about the Filipino people is that they have an open ear and a flexible tongue, making them excellent communicators. Though English is a globally recognized language, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other languages– including the Philippines’ domestic Tagalog and Visayan– should be not given due importance and diligence in mastery.


Avila, Valeriano. “Success in BPO means focus in English skills.” 9 February 2010. Accessed 9 February 2010. Link Here

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