US polls: what’s in it for Pinoys

(via Business Mirror) WHEN 201 million Americans troop to the polls on November 7, how they will vote in the mid-term US congressional elections will impact on the Philippines, former senator and labor leader Ernesto Herrera said at the weekend.

“A Democratic Party victory in the polls will definitely mean more investments and jobs being sent to the Philippines,” said Herrera.

“The Democrats have already vowed they will raise the federal minimum wage once they seize control of Congress. This will drive American companies to accelerate the transfer of more jobs to lower-cost locations such as the Philippines,” Herrera said.

“By this we mean not just technology-enabled service jobs in business process outsourcing, but also in semiconductor and electronics, among other industries,” said Herrera, secretary-general of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

The current federal hourly minimum wage in the US is $5.15; Democrats want this raised to $7.25. This means automatic increases in all but four US states where the hourly floor wage is already $7.25 or higher.

Export-driven chipmakers and outsourcing providers have been key drivers of Philippine economic and employment growth.

The Philippine semiconductor and electronics industry, buoyed by brisk global demand for mobile telephones, high-definition TV sets, computers, game consoles and digital video players, have so far produced 26,167 new jobs this year, mainly from expansion projects.

The industry directly employs over 400,000 Filipinos and generated $27.3 billion in foreign sales in 2005. This accounted for 66 percent of the country’s total exports of $41.2 billion that year.

Industry exports include magnetic heads, hard disk drives, digital signal processors, liquid crystal displays, optical disk drives and broad line of components for consumer and industrial electronic products.

The large US-based chipmakers with rapidly growing Philippine operations include Intel Corp., Texas Instruments Inc., National Semiconductor Corp., Fairchild Semiconductor International Co. and AMIS Holdings Inc.

As for technology-enabled outsourcing services, these are projected to engage up to 1,082,800 Filipinos by 2010, according to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines.

In the November 7 polls, all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and 33 out of 100 seats in the US Senate will be up for election, along with 36 out of 50 state gubernatorial posts.

The Democrats require only net gains of six and 15 seats to command the Senate and the House, respectively.


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