The proposed House Bill (HB) 3596 or the “Call Center and Consumers Protection Bill” in the US is considered as a protectionist measure and may gravely affect the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry of the Philippines.
Rep. Evardone, who is also the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Information, urged the Aquino government to launch a campaign before the United States Congress to stop this initiative which will likely be approved come election season.
The House Bill states that call center agents are now required to state their location and should ask US callers if they would want to be transferred to a local operator. Also, companies that fail to report their location to the US Department of Labor within 60 days will receive a fine of $10,000 per day. They should likewise be able to report within 120 days prior to their plans of moving work offshore. Lastly, offshore call centers will not be qualified for loans and grants.
Evardone said that if this bill becomes a law, it would affect the BPO industry of the Philippines. He also stated that the government should support the country’s BPO sector as it is currently the leader in voice-based processes globally. Moreover, there is a need to protect the factors that make the country an ideal outsourcing destination - a pool of workers with good English communication skills, as well as advanced telecom infrastructure setup.
He added that the industry earned $100 million in 2001 and has doubled its revenues annually, hitting the $3.3 billion mark in 2006.