Monday, 4 February 2008

Philippines proving attractive prospect

By Roel Landingin
Excerpted from Financial Times
Read the rest of the article here.

Foreign and local investors are committing money for Philippines infrastructure projects in amounts unseen since before the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Investments are being made as the $117bn (£59bn, €79bn) south-east Asian economy improves and a sluggish power-sector privatisation programme gains momentum.

Last year, foreign companies such as State Grid Corp of China, France's Suez-Tractabel SA, Iceland's Reykjavik Energy Invest, AES Corp of the US and Norway's SN Power Invest, together with Philippine partners, offered more than $7bn to the government for a number of strategic power and energy sector assets. These include the power grid, the leading geothermal producer and four large electricity generating facilities.

Why did I choose to stay in the Philippines?

By Howard Belton
Excerpts from Philippine Daily Inquirer
Click here for the complete article:

MANILA, Philippines--BECAUSE of Filipinos, that’s the answer.

Filipinos who made us so welcome from day one and have enriched our lives ever since.

It has been almost 10 years since Cristina and I arrived in Manila. In Unilever, I found a spirit of family way above that in other places, and this wonderful family took us to their hearts and made my business career a joy.


So, for Cristina and I, it has become natural to stay here. We stay to enjoy the Philippines in all its variety, to share our lives with our Filipino friends, and, we hope, to give something back to the country which has adopted us.

Déjà Vu: MIAA ends NAIA-3 contract with Japanese firm

By Rainier Allan Ronda
Excerpted from The Philippine Star

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has decided to terminate the services of Japanese firm Takenaka Corp. as contractor of the controversial Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal III.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza, chairman of the MIAA board of directors, said the board, in a meeting last Wednesday, decided to end the contract of Takenaka for the remaining incomplete portion of the airport construction said to be about two percent of the project; and for the structural rehabilitation work on the mothballed facility.

Mendoza revealed that MIAA was already zeroing in on a contractor to replace Takenaka from three or four groups that were eyed.

“There are already negotiations with a (another) contractor. We’re just getting clearance from the Government Procurement Policy Board and we already have an opinion from the SolGen that we can do it via negotiation,” Mendoza told The STAR.

He said the (new) contractor was a Singaporean firm that has a solid track record in international airport construction.

“They have done a lot of airport projects,” Mendoza said, but declined to identify the company.

Koreans in Bacolod call for direct flights to S Korea

Danny Fajardo

BACOLOD CITY — A group of Korean students have asked Mayor Evelio Leonardia to increase police visibility in schools and other areas in the city frequented by the foreigners.

The groups’s request was submitted by Oh Jae Yong, president and chief executive officer of Phil-Korea at the La Salle Language Center; Charlie Sin, general manager for OK Academy; Seong Jin Kang, chief operations officer of Sky 21 English Institute; Deok Jin Jang, principal of Jason English Language School, and Mylene Sison, also of Phil-Korea.

They also asked the mayor to facilitate the scheduling of direct flights from South Korea to Bacolod City, and therefore make the city "foreign-friendly."

They said this would help increase the number of Korean students who would take up English courses in the city and encourage more Korean golfers and tourists to visit Bacolod City.

Koreans visiting the city would also find it convenient to be guided by signages with Korean Hangul translations at the airport, the students said.

The Koreans expressed appreciation for the city government’s immediate response to their request for additional police patrolling the areas of La Salle Avenue and Gallardo Street.

The mayor said the Koreans had earlier sought police assistance because of the series of hold-ups which had victimized Korean students.

Additional streetlights along Lacson Street, 6th Street, and B.S. Aquino Drive had also been requested for security purposes.

Construction starts on $ 500-M coal-fired power plant in Cebu

By James A. Loyola
Manila Bulletin

A consortium led by Global Business Power Corporation has started the construction of a $ 500 million in a 264-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Toledo City, Cebu.

The group, which also Formosa Heavy Industries Corporation, Aboitiz Power Corporation, and Vivant Power Corporation, said this goes to show that they are committed to help solve the inadequate power supply in the province.

Global Power President Jesus Alcordo said that the proposed power plant will also supply power to the Negros and Panay Island.

Cebu has a total power demand of around 460 MW, a nine percent increase from the 2007 figures. At present, Cebu imports power from the geothermal power plant in Leyte through submarine transmission cable.

Due to Cebu’s dependence on the Leyte geothermal power plant, any disruption from the power source or the transmission facility will cause power shortage that will, in turn, result in brownouts in the province.

The new state-of-the-art power plant to be built in Sangi, Toledo will have 3 x 82-MW capacity generators. These power generators will use circulating fluidized bed clean coal technology, which will ensure that sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions will meet World Bank standards.

The project is set to be completed by the first quarter of 2010.

Alcordo said the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid is facing a looming power crisis that will adversely impact on the economy of the three islands if the supply problem will not be addressed.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

PGMA hikes by P350 million allocation for gov’t training program for BPOs


With President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the special guest, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will turn over tomorrow (Monday) P350 million to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) to finance the training of up to 47,000 Filipino workers for the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry.

The allocation, which will come from the PGMA-Training for Work Scholarship Program (PGMA-TWSP), is seen as a major boost to the government’s efforts to train and build a formidable talent pool for the BPO sector until 2010.

TESDA Director General Augusto Syjuco and BPAP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Oscar Sanez will sign the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) binding the two agencies to co-manage the training project in a simple ceremony at the Bahia Room of the Manila Intercontinental Hotel, in Makati City, in the presence of President Arroyo.

During the launching of the "Offshoring and Outsourcing Philippines: Roadmap 2010" BPAP at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel on Nov. 5, 2007, BPAP requested the President for P350 million from the PGMA-TWSP to jumpstart the program to develop a talent pool until 2010 that would be ready to fill 600,000 new jobs from direct employment.

The roadmap identifies key initiatives and actions to meet the government’s goal of attaining a 10 percent share of the global outsourcing market by 2010.

Syjuco said TESDA will turn over the P350 million training fund to BPAP for distribution to its members namely, Animation Council of the Philippines Inc. (ACPI), Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), Medical Transcription Industry Association of the Philippines, Inc. (MTIAPI) and the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA); and non-BPAP companies, training providers and BPOs engaged in training BPO workers.

Since its establishment in 2006, the PGMA-TWSP has provided training and employment opportunities to 26,166 call center agents, medical transcriptionists, animators and software developers.

This year, some 47,000 more Filipinos will benefit from the program following the grant of the P350 million training fund by the President, Syjuco said.

For his part, Sañez said the additional training fund would boost efforts by TESDA-BPAP to build a big talent pool for the offshoring and outsourcing industry in the country.

"We thank President Arroyo for providing the fund that will benefit the country in the long run in terms of developing a substantial pool of skilled manpower for the business process outsourcing industry," Syjuco and Sañez said in a statement.

From May 2006 to Sept. 2007, at least 44,331 call center agents had completed their training program at TESDA. Of the 2006-2007 graduates, 50.66 percent have been employed. Among them were 6,346 medical transcriptionists and 389 software developers.

One of the star performers of the economy, the BPO industry has consistently registered an annual growth rate of 45 percent over the past three years. As of end 2007, BPAP had placed total export revenues of the sector at $4.8 billion, and jobs generated at 320,000.

Manila Bay Ocean Park update photos

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Photos of the New Bacolod Silay Airport

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Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway update photos

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