Philippines Typhoon Advisory: Minimizing the Impacts of Geo-Political Risks

Written by Lakshmi Nair

Over the past few years, the Philippines have proven to be a world-class outsourcing destination. The BPO industry in the Philippines has grown 46% annually since 2006. In 2013, Manila was ranked third in Tholons’ Top 100 Global Outsourcing Destinations report for the most popular outsourcing destinations in the world. The Philippines offer lower labor costs, a highly skilled and educated work force with high proficiency in spoken English and a strong infrastructure; its financial attractiveness and business environment are strong, making the country a top choice for conducting software outsourcing. However, in spite of these excellent factors the region still falls prey to several risky elements affecting its attractiveness.

The Philippines is the most exposed country in the world to tropical cyclones, also known as typhoons. The region is hit by a minimum of 19 such typhoons in a year leaving the country with severe infrastructural and economic damages. Last week, our Supply Wisdom Alerts solution reported Typhoon Koppu leaving 54 dead and displacing tens and thousands of residents. Koppu is the second largest and strongest typhoon to hit the country this year bringing torrential rainfall that triggered landslides and massive flooding. Typhoon related activity in the Philippines is usually minimal during May, but reaches its peak starting from July through October. With the increasing number of such cyclones in the region, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) was set up to raise public storm signal warnings as deemed necessary.

Although such events send alarming waves throughout the nation, with the right proactive action plan in place, any significant negative impacts on business or operations in the region can be minimized to a large extent.

Here are some proactive measures that can help to minimize the impact of extreme weather:

  • Typhoons bring with them incessant rainfall which triggers landslides and flashfloods. Knowing that such an incident can cause displacement, as a traveler it is important to have yourself enrolled at the local government authority to ensure your presence is recorded by the respective embassies.
  • In order to reduce the impact on business infrastructure and operations, it is vital that you are constantly in touch with local weather authorities for warnings and information.
  • Power outages are also an immediate outcome of these tropical cyclones. Sufficient power supply and backup power through high-end UPS and generators help to ensure smooth flow of operations and eliminate downtime caused by unscheduled outages.
  • To ensure safety of the employees who may face commute difficulties during such heavy rain and storms, you should ensure that your supplier provides alternate options such as work from home on days when weather conditions are extreme or arranges for office transportation such as cars, buses and shuttle services.
  • Should your suppliers need evacuation, they should ensure that first aid kit, candles/flashlight, battery-powered radio, and food are kept on-hand.
  • Also, ensure that they have protective measures in place for live wires or outlets immersed in water to prevent electrocution.

In any location, especially those with a well-documented high risk of natural disasters, it is critical to have proactive, effective measures in place to protect your operations and ensure the safety of your team. A successful and robust disaster recovery and business continuation plan and program, if periodically tested, will contribute to the success of your operations in that location.

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