In a week dominated by news of the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on global markets, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (iBPAP) has said reassuringly that so far it remains business as usual for the BPO sector.
Within the country, workers are still being hired, contracts still being won, and investments still being made.
The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it has been in talks with South African investors, who may invest in the booming industries in Cebu province, including outsourcing, tourism, furniture, and manufacturing.
However, it is only a matter of time before the stresses on the global economy caused by the coronavirus start to take their toll on the country’s BPO sector. In the Philippines, other industries are already beginning to feel the adverse effects.
The country’s national carrier, Philippine Airlines, announced that it is laying off more than 300 workers, adding to last week’s reported mass layoffs at a number of multinationals’ Philippine operations such as Honda and Wells Fargo. The ESL (English as Second Language) sector, an important economic driver for Cebu, has also slowed down since the outbreak started as foreign students cut down on their foreign travel.
The BPO industry is adapting to the new situation, and already is increasingly using work-from-home schemes in both India and the Philippines, according to a report in India’s Economic Times newspaper. Even with the “community quarantine”, the BPO industry continues to operate like any other industry whether its a business as usual policy or work-from-home strategy.