A while back, I remember coming across the cover of a popular magazine that pointed to call centers as an emerging hotbed of HIV and AIDS. I never bothered buying the magazine or even browsing through it, but the idea of call centers being such hotbeds never really surprised me. Color me judgmental if you will, but I had an inkling that unbridled youths in nocturnal settings just didn’t make for a chastity inducing mix.
But rash and unfounded opinions aside, I came across a report of the UP Population Institute’s Findings of how business outsourcing [is] reshaping Philippine society. And well, suffice it to say that economic opportunities aside it does not seem to be reshaping Philippine society in an all too idyllic way.
Now there’s going to be no shortage of philosophical arguments on morality and how the lifestyle changes noted by the Population Institute do not necessarily indicate that something is wrong. Similarly, there won’t be a dearth of ideological denigration for how an impoverished people are abased by an oppressive order. These discussions I leave to the more sophisticated pundits, but for this obscure guy typing on his old PC, there’s something seriously disconcerting about how the much lauded opportunities made possible by BPOs are also opening doors to noxious proclivities.
For the past decade or so, BPOs have been celebrated for the economic opportunities they have created. Fueled by the information technology revolution, BPOs have opened doors that, ten years ago, an archipelago far removed from the world’s reigning economies never even realized existed. But, driven by business prospects and propelled by technological novelties, one crucial aspect seems to have been left by the wayside – the human aspect.
See, there’s a reason why we deplore sweatshops: we know it’s not right for avaricious profiteers to be taking advantage of cheap labor to suit their ends; we know it’s not right for laborers to be locked in factories for days on end just to deliver on targets; we know it’s not right for employers to pump drugs into laborers bodies to keep them awake just so they could properly perform; we know it’s not right for laborers to make prostitutes of themselves for token earnings; we know that work for work’s sake and income for income’s sake is just plain dehumanizing. Now, take a look at the sharply dressed agents trapped in air-conditioned glass boxes and tell me if their situation is really any different.
LUIS JOSE F. GERONIMO
Entry No. 13