28 January 2015

President Aquino lauds contact center industry for helping spur the economy
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday lauded the contribution of the contact center industry to the country’s economy.

In his speech during the International Contact Center Conference at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, President Aquino praised the industry for its multiplier effect that has been felt by many sectors — from transport providers to owners of small businesses, to convenient stores and restaurants – resulting in more jobs.

“This economic growth is not solely restricted to the National Capital Region. You have also branched out to so many different areas in the country, thereby helping us accelerate the development of the countryside,” he said.

He noted that the industry’s revenues grew from $20 million in 2000 to $11.7 billion in 2014, and its employees increased at an exponential rate from 2,400 to 686,000 over the same period.

“I am told that by 2016, the contact center sector alone is well on pace towards achieving your target of at least P15 billion in revenues and 900,000 employees,” the President said.

To help the contact center industry, he said, the government is improving such programs as the TESDA’s Training for Work Scholarship Program and has initiated the Service Management Program, a 21-unit specialization track that students can take to gain the skills necessary to enter the IT-BPM industry.

The President reported that the government has allocated P125 million to roll out the program in 17 pilot state universities and colleges in Metro Manila and in Next Wave Cities.

More than 600 teachers have been trained for this program, and 8,000 students have enrolled in eight implementing state universities and colleges, he said, adding that the first batch of graduates will be entering the workforce this March.

“As your industry treads the path towards continued growth and innovation, government will walk alongside you. It goes without saying that it is in our mutual interest to reinforce quality, efficiency, and boundless talent as the defining characteristics of the Philippine brand,” he said.

For his part, Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) President Louie Benedict Hernandez said the contact center industry-government partnership is most essential in bringing capital development in their business.

The CCAP, the umbrella organization of the Philippine contract center industry, is a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of the industry and the active exchange of ideas and new technologies needed for the business.

Also present during the event were Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Joel Villanueva. PND (ag)

Maguindanao incident must strengthen resolve to forge enduring peace pact with MILF, says President Aquino
President Aquino rallied the support of the Filipino people Wednesday for the Mindanao peace process despite the deadly Maguindanao incident that left 44 police commandos dead.

In a televised address to the nation Wednesday, the President said both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have invested a lot in building trust to eventually achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.

There are groups or individuals who try to ruin the ongoing deliberations of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress and the mutual trust between the government and the MILF, he said, insisting this should not happen.

“Hindi po dapat mangyari ito. Nakataya sa batas na ito ang buong peace process. Kung mabibigo ang pagpasa ng batas sa lalong madaling panahon, mabibigo ang peace process, mananatili ang status quo,” the President said.
Returning to the status quo would mean continuing injustice, escalation of violence in the region, and more displaced people.

A more chaotic region would favor the terrorists like Abdulbasit Usman and Abu Marwan, the targets of the January 24 Special Action Force operation, the President said.

“Isipin din po natin: Ang mga kasapi ng Special Action Force ay nasawi habang tinutupad ang kanilang tungkuling panatilihin ang kaligtasan,” he said in his address.

“Kung hindi magtatagumpay ang prosesong pangkapayapaan; kung babalik tayo sa status quo, o kung lalala pa ang karahasan, di ba’t ito mismo ang kabaliktaran ng kanilang pinagbuwisan ng buhay?”

Now that the country is facing a stumbling block as a result of the bloody Maguindanao encounter, the President said Filipinos must be more united and push for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, create the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, and fix the flawed political system in the region for the benefit of all.

At the same time, the President said he expects the MILF to show sincerity in being a true government partner in seeking peace in Mindanao and serving justice to the victims of the Maguindanao incidincidents chief executive also asked the public to avoid spreading rumors about the incident.

The SAF operation last Saturday against Marwan and Usman resulted to the deaths of 44 police commandos with 16 injured including three civilians.

Marwan is part of the Central Committee of Jemaah Islamiya, and was involved in the 2002 Bali bombing.

Usman on the other hand, had a hand in nine bomb attacks in Mindanao. He is the primary suspect in the General Santos City bombing in 2002 that killed 15 people and injured 60 others.

The President also brushed off allegations that he gave direct orders during the SAF operation in Maguindanao, noting its not necessary for him to give orders because the two wanted terrorists have longstanding warrants from the courts.

Friday will be declared a national day of mourning for the SAF members who died in the Maguindanao encounter, the President said. PND (as)

President Aquino declares January 30 a National Day of Mourning for fallen Special Action Force members
President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared January 30 a National Day of Mourning for the 44 police commandos killed in an encounter in the town of Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday evening, President Aquino said he was deeply saddened by the loss of lives in the tragic encounter in Maguindanao on January 25, Sunday.

The President said members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were tasked to serve outstanding warrants of arrest to Abdulbasit Usman and Zulkipli Bin Hir, alias Abu Marwan.

“Noong Sabado ng gabi, ika-24 ng Enero, isang grupo ng mga kasapi ng Special Action Force ng ating Philippine National Police ay tumungo sa Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao,” the Chief Executive said.

“Ang kanilang misyon, ipatupad ang mga outstanding warrants of arrest sa dalawang notorious na teroristang matagal nang pinaghahanap ng mga awtoridad: Sina Abdulbasit Usman at Zulkipli Bin Hir, alias Abu Marwan,” he said.

At least 44 SAF members died in the process of fulfilling their duties, while 16 others were injured, including three civilians, based on the recent report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

President Aquino declared January 30, Friday, a National Day of Mourning for the fallen SAF members whom he described as “heroes” to symbolize the sorrow and empathy of the entire country.

“Bilang Pangulo, bilang Ama ng Bayan, napakalungkot pong isipin na kinailangang magbuwis ng buhay ang ating kapulisan sa misyong ito,” the President said.

“At kung mayroon nga pong depinisyon ang bayani, sila na iyon: Silang mga humarap sa panganib upang pigilan ang banta sa ating kaligtasan; silang mga nasugatan; silang naghandog ng buhay sa ngalan ng kapayapaan,” he said.

“Bilang paggalang sa mga ng mga nasawi, magdedeklara tayo ng isang National Day of Mourning bilang sagisag ng pagdadalamhati at pakikiramay ng ating buong bansa,” the Chief Executive added.

President Aquino also extended his sympathy to the families of the SAF members killed in the incident, and assured that the government will provide the maximum assistance it can, within the limits of the laws and rules. PND (co)

Government to extend full assistance to families of Special Action Force members killed in Maguindanao encounter
The government will extend full assistance to the families of 44 Special Action Force members who died in the January 24 encounter in Maguindanao, President Aquino said on Wednesday.

In his televised address to the nation, the President said that he feels the pain of the families of the victims, noting he acknowledges their anxieties after losing family members who serve as breadwinners.

“Sinisiguro ko po sa inyo: Ibibigay ng estado ang sagad na maaari nitong ibigay ayon sa mga batas at patakaran,” the President said, as he asked the public to also contribute to help the families of SAF members who died in the clash.

The Maguindanao encounter must not hinder previous peace efforts and instead it must strengthen everyone’s resolve in passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao, he said.

“Siguruhin nating hindi masasayang ang sakripisyo ng mga nasawing kasapi ng Special Action Force,” he said.

“Mararating natin ang katarungan, harinawa, sa loob ng tamang proseso, at nang hindi bumibitaw sa mga pangarap nating makamtan ang malawakan at pangmatagalang kapayapaan.”

Like the ordinary people, President Aquino said he has also questions in his mind about the incident. He said he expects the board of inquiry, created to investigate the deadly encounter, to provide answers to those questions.

The chief executive also welcomed the separate investigation to be conducted by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, adding he expects the rebel group to continue showing its sincerity to the peace initiatives.

Apparently, there is no coordination between the police and the military during the SAF raid in the area, which is adjacent to the camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups, the President said.

The Saturday’s clash left 44 SAF commandos dead and also injured 16 others including three civilians.

President Aquino is to declare Friday as national day of mourning for those who died in the Maguindanao incident. PND (as)