If you think the United States is so far away that the Philippines is not affected by the recession, think again.
Tough times have hit home---this early.
My fear is, its going to get worse next year.
One of the hardest hit is the call center industry here.
Marsha, a friend's wife works in a call center.
Her employer laid off call center agents in a snap, when one of its largest U.S. clients pulled out.
In a call center, you can loose your job in a flash.
Fortunately, Marsha was able to jump to another call center job, owing to her experience.
Maureen, a cousin, works in a Japanese-owned forwarding company operating in Cebu and Manila.
She said exports to the U.S. have fallen sharply.
"If you talk about one hundred fifty container vans exported before, now you have only twenty container vans shippped out," she said.
Graphically, that's how steep the fall in exports is, she said.
Home Depot in the U.S. used to order thousands of pots (for plants) from Cebu regularly.
The exports have stopped as Home Depot discontinued ordering Cebu-made pots.
Cebuano pot manufacturing workers, suddenly lost their jobs.
A friend's father works in a casino in Las Vegas.
If the tip in casinos before was US$600, today its US$60, we learned.
This means far lesser dollars remitted to relatives in the Philippines.
Rey, a structural enginner who holds a managerial position in a U.S.-based firm in Manila, said that they had a major client in the U.S. who engaged their building-design services.
The contract with their structural engineering firm was inked already, while the client was awaiting release of the proceeds of a multi-million dollar loan in the U.S. to fund the building construction.
The U.S. loan did not materialize, hence the structural engineering agreement abruptly came to a standstill---no more money.
The U.S. recession indeed, has directly affected, and will continue to affect the Philippine economy.
Manny Pacquiao is the exception.
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