US crisis to affect Philippine call centers

THE financial meltdown in the United States and general slowdown in the world economy will impact negatively on the Philippines call center industry, a former Budget secretary and IBON Foundation said Friday.

Former Budget Secretary Ben Diokno said the Arroyo government should start preparing for the worst, should American companies that invested in call centers in the Philippines pull out their investments in the industry. About 500,000 are employed in the domestic call center industry.

However, Jonathan de Lezuriagga, the executive director for industry affairs of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines, believes the domestic business process outsourcing industry—which includes call centers—could double or triple by next year.

Diokno said that this early, the government should start looking for alternative jobs for call center agents who might end up unemployed because of the US financial crunch.

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