Cebu, 8th Best Site for BPO

ITS booming business process outsourcing (BPO) sector has again gained Cebu City a place among the world’s best.

Tholons, an advisory company on global outsourcing and investments, included the city in a list of preferred outsourcing destinations in the world.

In its “Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations Report for 2013”, Tholons listed the city in eighth place. This is a notch higher compared to the city’s ranking last year.

Aside from Cebu, six other Philippine destinations were included in the list. Manila is now third, moving up from fourth last year. Davao ranked number 70; Sta. Rosa, Laguna, 84; Iloilo City, 93; Bacolod City, 94; and Baguio City, 99.

Tholons ranked the cities based on the quality, availability and skills of the workers in its BPO industry, cost of operations, infrastructure, cost of living, risk profile and quality of life, among others.

According to the report, the Philippines enjoy a more vibrant Information Technology (IT)-BPO industry than either Indonesia or Malaysia.

“Based on the events of 2012, the Philippines continued to garner interest from large, Western providers, not only as an offshore delivery location, but likewise as a potential rich domestic market for IT services,” Tholons said.

In 2012, 17 new BPO companies opened in Cebu.

The Cebu Investment Promotions Center estimates that there are already about 95,000 people employed in the BPO sector in Cebu.

Upon learning about the city’s recent achievement, Mayor Michael Rama said he welcomed the inclusion of the city in Tholons list.

“That wonderful accolade will be for all of us. It was a great surprise personally for me,” he said in his regular news conference yesterday.

SM group to open upscale Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu

MANILA, Philippines – Expecting a boom in the tourism business, the hotel arm of Henry Sy-led SM Investments Corp. will open an upscale hotel in Cebu by the second half of the year.

“Wholly owned subsidiary SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. is scheduled to open its premier project in the Visayas, the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, by the second half of this year,” the company told the local bourse in a disclosure yesterday.

“It will be positioned as the city’s leading international upper upscale hotel,” said SM Investments, the holding firm of the mall, retail and banking businesses of the Sy family.

The 400-room Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu will be Carlson Hotels’ first Radisson Blu hotel in the Asia Pacific. Carlson Hotels is a global hotel company with more than 1,060 locations in 77 countries.

The hotel will have 10 function rooms; two ballrooms, one of which will be a 1,000-square-meter pillar-less main ballroom; a spa and fitness center; a lobby lounge; an all-day dining restaurant; and a swimming pool.

The new hotel is aiming to attract both business and leisure travelers in Cebu City.

“The upcoming opening of Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu further enhances SM’s range of tourism products and services,” Elizabeth T. Sy, president of SM Hotels and Conventions Corp., said in the statement.

“It is also our timely response to the country’s growing demand for first-rate accommodations for tourists and business travellers,” she added.

Radisson Blu Hotel will be located at Cebu City’s North Reclamation Area, near the city’s international port, and SM City Cebu.

Last year, Cebu attracted more than 1.6 million foreign and domestic travelers.

Shares in SM Investments, whose profits grew by 14% in the first quarter to P4.8 billion, shed P2.50 on Thursday to close at P392.50 apiece.

Pro-life groups in Cebu burn condoms to protest DOH program

Pro-life groups held a condom-burning activity in front of the Department of Health (DOH) office in Cebu province to reiterate their opposition to the use of contraceptives supposedly against Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

Radio dzBB reported on Thursday the condom-burning protest action was held last Tuesday, even as Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral maintained the government will continue to provide condoms to those at risk.

The pro-life demonstrators also called for a total ban on condom advertising to protect children from early exposure to sex.

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PRC: 37,527 new nurses

MANILA, Philippines – The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Sunday that 37,527 out of 94,462 passed the Nurse Licensure Examination given by the Board of Nursing.

The examination was given in the cities of Manila, Baguio, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, La Union, Legazpi, Lucena, Pagadian, Pampanga, Sulu, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga last November 2009.

The results of examination with respect to sixteen (16) examinees were withheld pending final determination of their liabilities under the rules and regulations governing licensure examination.


Press Secretary Cerge Remonde laid to rest in hometown

Cerge Remonde

ARGAO, Cebu, Jan. 24 — The late Press Secretary Cerge Remonde was laid to rest here, in his hometown, thus closing the final chapter of the storied career of a poor country boy who achieved his dreams through hard work, perseverance, and, most of all, faith in God.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo joined Marit Remonde, nee Stinus of Denmark, family members, friends, provincial and town officials, and people of all walks of life in the funereal march to the public cemetery Sunday afternoon.

Interment took place after the 12:30 p.m. mass at the St. Michael Archangel, a church built in the 15th century.

The late Press secretary had been given full military honors and welcomed to the church with the tolling of the bells. He was earlier conferred the rank of lieutenant colonel in the reserve force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Continue reading

6T jobless ‘to be rehired’

CEBU CITY — All 6,000 workers in Cebu’s manufacturing and export firms who recently lost their jobs will soon find employment, with more hotels and export companies rehiring workers, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said.

Citing records of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said there are around 6,000 workers in Cebu’s furniture and manufacturing industries alone who lost their jobs as a result of the economic slowdown.

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Contractor in Cebu lamppost scam cleared

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the graft case against the contractor in the alleged overpricing of lampposts used in the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Cebu two years ago.

In a 10-page resolution, the Sandiganbayan Second Division said the Ombudsman’s admission that it does not have enough evidence to link Isabelo A. Braza to the so-called lamppost scam effectively demolished the government’s case.

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Cebu business survey bares bleak outlook

Still, the same survey showed that 28% of the respondents expected an improvement in economic conditions and 34% expect no change in the situation.

Most respondents expected no change in terms of capacity utilization, average selling prices of goods/services, work force, and investment in buildings, equipment, the advisory group said in a statement.

Geronimo D. Sta. Ana, chairman of the advisory group, said the accomplished survey forms comprised less than 20% of the target 150 respondents.

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Legacy landgrab? Town loses island

A town in Leyte has become the latest entity to go after Celso de los Angeles and his failed Legacy Group of 12 rural banks and three pre-need companies, and this time the complaint is not about questionable financial dealings but alleged land-grabbing.

Officials and residents of the 3rd class municipality of Palompon denounced on Wednesday the alleged illegal transfer of ownership of Kalanggaman Island from that of the town to the Rural Bank of Carmen, one of the banks owned by De los Angeles.

Palompon municipal legal consultant Donna Villa Gapasan said town residents, accompanied by members of the media, braved guards and armed men detailed by De los Angeles at the so-called “Boracay of Leyte” and held a protest rally on the 10-hectare strip of land located 12 kilometers off the municipal shoreline.

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Atlas hikes profits from copper sale

About 5,690 wet metric tons of copper mixed with ore from the company’s Cebu mine were shipped to Qingdao Port in China on Feb. 8 for processing as part of a supply deal with Swiss MRI Trading AG.

The ores have a preliminary grade of 28.73% copper, 2.66 grams of gold per metric ton and 24.33 grams of silver per metric ton.

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