BPOs worried Marawi crisis could hamper growth
MANILA, Philippines – The drawn-out battle between government forces and terrorists in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur may derail the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry's growth projections, according to the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).
IBPAP urged the government to quickly resolve the crisis in Marawi City, saying that it could hurt the industry's growth projections if it drags on further. (READ: Businesses think SC decision on Mindanao martial law 'necessary')
Based on its latest roadmap, IBPAP sees 1.8 million workers and about $40 billion in revenues in the Philippines' BPO sector by end-2022. So far, IBPAP president Rey Untal said the industry remains on track to achieve these goals. It must add 100,000 workers every year to meet its 2022 target.
But Untal noted that there has been a slight slowdown in industry growth in recent quarters, which he attributed to the Duterte administration's anti-United States rhetoric in late 2016, and to the Trump administration being protectionist.
Untal said these resulted in a wait-and-see stance for would-be investors in the Philippine IT and BPO industry.
Growth 'not as fast'
IBPAP had observed in its meetings with investors last April and May that the "tide was changing and growth is happening, though arguably not as fast."
Untal said the Marawi crisis aggravated by the attack on Resorts World Manila last June "are not helping."
"While obviously these are isolated events we want it over soon so [we could] go back to business as usual... The security issue is still fresh... it becomes a question. It's a recent topic that cannot be avoided in the conversation. We hope we get over that so [we could] go back to doing business and [remove all the] noise," Untal said.
He did note that investors are still bullish about the Philippines. (READ: 'Normal working day' for businesses amid martial law in Mindanao)
"We have met with potential investors and there is continued business confidence," he said.
In Mindanao, which has been placed under martial law because of the Marawi crisis, Untal said BPOs located in Cagayan de Oro and Davao are operating as usual.
"The roadmap articulates a number of headwinds ... which we have factored in, like global trends [and] artificial intelligence. But security has not been included. In business [security risks] are not predictable," Untal added.
Since May 23, Marawi has witnessed numerous ground and air assaults, including gunfire exchanges, bomb explosions, and air strikes, leaving large parts of the city destroyed and over 400 people, mostly terrorists, killed so far. – Rappler.com