Security risks give pause to BPO space expansion

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2017 12:50 PM

MANILA - Security risks, including the months-long conflict in Marawi City that prompted the declaration of martial law in the south, has caused business process outsourcing companies to pause their expansion, a property consultant said Monday, citing office space demand.

The BPO industry, a key generator of jobs and dollar earnings, is expected to rebound in the first quarter of 2018 with the economy expected to sustain its growth clip, according to data from Leechiu Property Consultants.

"Many of our clients decided not to grow in 2017 because of country risks issues," said the consulting firm's CEO, David Leechiu.

Fighting between government troops and Islamic State-inspired extremists had raged in Marawi since May and authorities said the conflict could end soon.

A report by Leechiu Property also cited concerns over alleged extra-judicial killings, bird flu cases and an arson attack on Resorts World Manila as among other reasons for the slowdown in BPO expansion.

"I remain confident that the BPO industry will going to expand. This phase will be temporary," he said.

Businesses in the past have weathered similar security concerns, he said.