Trump victory to affect BPO industry, OFWs – PH lawmakers

Mara Cepeda

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Trump victory to affect BPO industry, OFWs – PH lawmakers
(UPDATED) Several congressmen say US President-elect Donald Trump might take BPO jobs back to America, as well as have illegal Filipino migrants deported

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Members of the Philippine House of Representatives are divided over the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 United States presidential elections. 

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles congratulated Trump, and expressed optimism for a renewed relationship between the Philippines and US. (READ: With Trump win, ‘clean slate’ for PH-US ties – Pimentel)

Cibac Representative Sherwin Tugna called Trump’s victory America’s “protest vote” against traditional politicians.

Several congressmen said the presidency of the real estate business magnet and reality television star may weaken the Philippines’ business processing output (BPO) industry as well as the fate of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based in the US.

Trump had promised to ban migrants from the US because they supposedly take jobs away from Americans. (READ: FilAms rip Trump for ‘hateful’ statements)

President Rodrigo Duterte, who counts a majority of congressmen as his allies, extended his “warm congratulations” to Trump.

Duterte said he is hoping for an improved relationship with the Trump administration, despite making several anti-US statements in the past weeks.

Read congressmen’s full statements on the Trump presidency below:


House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Davao del Norte 1st District

“I congratulate Republican Party candidate Donald Trump for his election as the new President of the United States.

“It is my hope that, under a Trump administration, longstanding Philippine-American relations will continue to prosper on the basis of mutual trust and respect, mutual benefit, common adherence to democratic principles, and shared commitment to freedom, equality, justice, and peace.”


Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo, Marikina City 2nd District

“For the first time, the US finally gets a chance to vote for a woman only to be defeated by an admitted misogynist. How ironic. Talk about punching yourself out. Take that, America.”


Gary Alejano, Magdalo

“Let us see in the coming days how the foreign policy of US will change with Trump’s presidency, assuming he will make good on his campaign speeches, [wherein he said] he will impose tight control in their immigration policy, more work for Americans, more inward looking policies rather than global intervention, and aid which [drains] US treasury. These would impact the Philippine economy, especially the BPO industry and OFWs as a whole.”


Teddy Baguilat Jr, Ifugao

“Well. This year seems to be the era of the shocking and unexpected. Brexit! Duterte! Trump!

“Initially, though, we must be worried of possible protectionist policies of a Trump administration. Like limiting outsourcing because the promise of Trump is to bring back American business to America…. Also stricter immigration policies – affected tayo diyan especially since Trump named [the] Philippines as a terrorist state.”


Rodel Batocabe, AKO Bicol

Dahil sa pagkahalal ni Donald Trump, ang mangyayari dito ay magbabago ang diksyunaryo ng diplomasya. Hindi na paligoy-ligoy kundi direktahan na, direktahan na kung ano ang gustong sabihin. Makikita na ‘di sinasabi ni President Duterte and President-elect Trump na ‘We are concerned…’ kundi ‘We do not want…’ ‘I do not like…’ ‘Yun ay diretsuhan na, so iyan po ang pagbabago.”

(Because of Donald Trump’s election, the dictionary of diplomacy will change. No more beating around the bush; things will be directly said now. President Duterte and President-elect Trump don’t say ‘We are concerned…’ but they say ‘We do not want…’ or ‘I do not like…’ That’s being direct, that’s the change.)


John Bertiz, ACTS-OFW

Sa akin, nangangamba kasi ‘yung sektor namin eh. Alam niyo naman ‘yung mga binitawan during the campaign ni President-elect Trump na mas uunahin niya or ipe-penalize niya ‘yung mga American companies na gumagamit ng mga outsourcing. Alam naman natin na meron tayong 1.2 million na BPO workers at the moment, which is malaki rin ‘yung contribution nila – almost $8 billion ang kino-contribute ng ating mga BPO. So at isa pa, ang pinapangamba natin is ‘yung mga pronuncement na ating imigrant siya, na he will make America great, claiming na America, out of illegal immigrants na sa ngayon, between 3.5 million to 4 million na Pilipino dun.

(For me, our sector is worried. You know the words that President-elect Trump said during the campaign that he would penalize American companies outsourcing jobs. We know that there are 1.2 million BPO workers at the moment and their contribution is big – P8 billion. Trump also said that he will make America great but he claims that America is suffering because of immigrants. There are 3.5 million to 4 million Filipinos there now.)

So anong epekto nitong pagkapanalo? Although ‘di naman porket sinabi na campaign statement mo ‘yun, it will become your policy, ‘di ba? Kung matatandaan niyo rin, isa ang Pilipinas sa mga binanggit niyang mga 9 na terrorist country na nagte-train against America. So napabilang dito ang Pilipinas. Pero we have to wait and see na rin. Ang sa akin lang, paghandaan na natin, ang ating gobyerno… Dapat maging proactive tayo instead of reactive sa mga darating na panahon, lalong-lalo na sa maraming nurses na ‘di naman sila immigrant status na hanggang sa ngayon ay contract workers ang status nila sa Amerika.”

(So what’s the effect of his victory? A campaign statement does not necessarily mean it will become your policy, right? If you remember, the Philippines was among the 9 countries he tagged as a terrorist nation. But we have to wait and see. For me, the government should already prepare… We should be proactive and not reactive in the coming months, especially since there are a lot of nurses there who are still contract workers who are not holding an immigrant status yet.)


Anthony Bravo, COOP-NATCCO

“Occupying the White House is not as important as how he handles our foreign policy. The final responsibility of the US president, regardless of his party, is to commit to the interests of his constituency. And oftentimes, these are inconsistent with [the needs] of the Filipino people. The challenge now is for our government to pursue a foreign policy that will seek to find a common ground between our people and arrive at a mutual and beneficial agreement that will satisfy the desire of our two countries – for peace, prosperity, and progress.”



Karlo Nograles, Davao City 1st District

“The people of the United States have spoken and their undeniable choice is Republican Donald Trump as their 45th president. While others say there is some degree of uncertainty as to what the future brings under a Trump presidency, I remain optimistic that Filipino-Americans will continue to play a very important role in America’s socio-political affairs.  

“Although I agree with President Duterte’s resolve to chart an independent foreign policy especially via-a-vis the United States, I wish that with newly-elected President Trump, the Philippines and the US will continue to work together as partners in progress and the war against illegal drugs, crime and terrorism. Congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump!”


Joey Salceda, Albay 2nd District

“No need to waste emotions, anyway, probably, Duterte was right in separating from the US after all. I just pray now for the best for the US and the world economy. But, Republicans are bad for Philippine interests. In the case of Trump: first, his protectionism promises to bring jobs back to America. Well American companies still need to optimize our BPO potential. American firms need Filipino talent. We are competitive – 1. neutral accent; 2. socio-cultural predisposed to Western lifestyle; and 3. $300/month – only 2 days in American wages.

“Second, his anti-immigrant posture commits to deport all illegal immigrants – some 360,000 TNTs (‘tago nang tago’ or hiding OFWs) hope he will provide a pathway to citizenship. Third, he believes climate change is a hoax. So, now, who would pay for the storm damages America created?

“Fourth, on a global perspective, the US accounts for 400 of the 900 Nobel Laureates, 80% of the best universities (THE or QS), and being an open society, openness to immigration has helped it acquire the best of the world’s talents. Closing the doors, building walls may undermine this major source of global innovation. Thus, endanger the source of global growth, thus affect the Philippines which has $16 billion trade (surplus of $1.5 billion), 782,000 tourists. Their investments here are doing well, the physical capital stays even if they repatriate. Sadly, trade did not destroy American jobs, technology did. Technology they themselves engendered.”


Sherwin Tugna, Cibac

“It is a year of unorthodox and non-traditional results. Personally, I believe it is a protest vote by the Americans. Stayed and was in the US for a few times in the last 10 years and I saw how down their economy is. They were fed up by big-talking and traditional, old-name politicians. They want a guy who gets the job done, to give jobs to them, regardless of the negative character.”


Tom Villarin, Akbayan

Ginagaya tayo ng US (The US is copying us)! Is that good or bad? I think our future is intertwined and we have to live with each other. We are now in a volatile world with hostile leaders taking over. But hope springs eternal, and this is a wake up call to strengthen democracy, fight inequality with empathy. 

“There would be no major changes with US policy. Most likely Trump will woe back Duterte. But it is still conjecture at this point.”


Carlos Zarate, Bayan Muna

“Trump trumps Clinton, but expect no change in its policy toward the tramps of the world! Its foreign policy will still be for the interest of American big business and its military industrial complex!

“For our best interest, we have to vigorously and genuinely pursue an independent foreign policy, especially now.” –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.