The head of the Information Technology-Business Processing Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) sees the United States government shutdown as having a “potential effect” on the business processing outsource (BPO) sector in the country.
Jose Mari Mercado, IBPAP chief executive and president, told reporters at the opening of Capital One Financial Corp’s Alabang call center hub that “From the perspective of impact to business, definitely we see potential impact in terms of volumes, so you have less people transacting. There are [a number of]laid off workers—imagine these people wouldn’t able to buy anything, they are not transacting.”
“Primarily, the health care and the contact center are potentially affected. If we just look at it in a logical perspective, there is an impact but as to how much, we don’t know yet,” he said.
He said it was too early to jump to conclusions since the shutdown was only 24 hours old as of Wednesday.
“I think it is too early to tell. As an industry, we are definitely looking at it. We’re going to ensure that we have enough plans to mitigate any negative impact, which I doubt. But we don’t have any plans yet as of the moment,” Mercado said.
“It will be at least another month before you see the impact because fluctuations are so varied. You can’t tell. It’s too early to say and to make any conclusions within the first couple of weeks is premature. There are too many factors that can affect the volume,” he added.
On the upside, business volume for the industry surged 20 percent to 25 percent in November to year end yearly as holidays increase and the Christmas draws near.
“Traditionally, when we get to November time frame, that’s when we usually get an increase in volume because you have succession of holidays that potentially can generate core volumes,” Mercado said.
He is confident the rising business volume beginning November will cover and even surpass the shutdown’s impact.
KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO