14 June 2016

President Aquino thanks XVI global solutions for believing in the Filipino talent
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday expressed his gratitude to the business process outsourcing (BPO) companies for believing in the Filipino talent.

In his speech delivered by Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal, Jr. during the launch of VXI Global Solutions, Inc.’s flagship contact center facility at the Mall of Asia, President Aquino said the success of the BPO industry means the success of Filipinos.

With the newest center hub, the company is poised to hire an additional 1,000 people.

“What pleases me even more about VXI’s presence here is that you have not limited yourself to a ‘working’ relationship alone. After Typhoon Yolanda devastated a large portion of the Visayas, VXI and Gawad Kalinga built new homes for families affected by the calamity in Lawaan, Eastern Samar. Today, let me extend my deepest thanks for your commitment to the Filipino people. Whether it’s expanding your business or reaching out to communities, I believe that your actions are driven by the knowledge that we owe our collective success to the Filipino people,” said the President, who was unable to attend the event due to a “sudden, extreme, and urgent situation he has to attend to”, according to Secretary Cristobal.

The President also noted the special character of Filipinos, which Jack Ma of Alibaba described as “the love quotient”.

“We have always known our countrymen are smart, talented, and hardworking. They also have that special characteristic, which Mr. Jack Ma of Alibaba calls ‘the love quotient’ or LQ. There is knowledge and intelligence to be found anywhere in the world—but what he observed was that Filipinos seem to have the LQ: that extra fervor to serve; the true desire to help the client,” he said.

“I for one, agree with him. We knew that our people could fill IT-BPM’s continuous need for new talent. This is why we worked with your industry to make the most of our competitive advantage. Our Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) for IT-BPM has already benefited 232,701 graduates from 2010 to May 2016. Let me emphasize an important point about the TWSP for IT-BPM: the government recoups the cost of training these graduates in the first year of their employment alone. This only means that we have more funds to reinvest in our other countrymen,” he added.

The Chief Executive also cited the partnership between the Commission on Higher Education and Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), which resulted in the Service Management Program (SMP).

“This is a specialization track for business and IT schools that will develop in students the skills needed to enter the IT-BPM (Information Technology – Business Process Management) industry. First introduced in three state universities and colleges (SUCs) in 2013, the SMP program can now boast of 1,407 graduates. Since the academic year of 2015-2016 saw the SMP being implemented in 14 SUCs, we are hopeful that the numbers continue to grow—that more of our academic institutions will offer this program, towards capacitating even more Filipino students to obtain gainful employment in your industry,” said President Aquino.

Noting that the future looks even brighter for the BPO industry, the President credited the industry’s success to hard work.

“For six years now, the Philippines has been the global leader in voice BPO. Metro Manila, Metro Clark, and the cities of Cebu, Davao, Santa Rosa, Bacolod, Iloilo, Dumaguete, and Baguio are all among the 2016 Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations, as reported by Tholons,” he said, pointing out that both revenues and number of employees doubled in a span of five years.

In 2010, he said, direct employment was at 527,000 and revenues at US$8.9 billion, and last year’s estimates put the employment of the industry at 1.2 million individuals and revenues at US$22 billion.

“This year, the industry is expected to reach direct employment of 1.3 million individuals, and generate revenues of 25 billion dollars. Our Central Bank even predicts that, as early as 2017, the IT-BPM industry will be the country’s largest source of income,” the President said. PND (jm)

Palace condemns murder of Canadian hostage
Malacañang has condemned the death of Canadian Robert Hall at the hands of his captors, the Abu Sayyaf group, in Sulu province on Monday.

The 50-year-old Hall was the second Canadian hostage to be beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf after ransom demands were not met. The militant group was asking for a P600 million ransom for Hall and two other hostages to be paid by June 13.

The Abu Sayyaf also executed mining executive John Ridsdel after a ransom deadline expired last April 25.

“We strongly condemn the brutal and senseless murder of Mr. Robert Hall, a Canadian national, after being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu for the past nine months. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to his bereaved family,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“We thank the Canadian government and people for their steadfast support and understanding, which has been extremely helpful in our determined efforts to end this decades-old problem,” Secretary Coloma added.

“We truly regret that our people’s cherished tradition of extending gracious hospitality toward foreign nationals has been marred by a small band of criminals, whose despicable actions have been abetted by the extortion of ransom from their previous victims.”

Coloma said the continuous operations of the military and police “have degraded the capability of our enemies and limited their movements”.

“For the past two months, the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) have waged continuing military and law enforcement operations that have degraded the capability of our enemies and limited their movements. This latest heinous crime serves to strengthen our government’s resolve to put an end to this reign of terror and banditry,” he said.

The two Canadians, Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor, and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf on September 21 last year from a resort on Samal Island. PND (jm)

President Aquino urges Filipinos to sustain the gains of his administration
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday called on the Filipino people to continue supporting the government to ensure that the gains achieved by his administration in the past six years would become permanent.

In his speech during the “Ulat ng TESDA kay Juan at Juana” in Taguig City, the President also urged the public to guard the government’s achievements these past few years.

“Panawagan ko po: Ngayong tinatamasa na natin ang pagbabago, patuloy tayong mag-bantay at maki-ambag upang gawin itong permanente,” he said.

“Lalo nating patibayain ang ating mandato upang makapaghatid pa ng agarang benepisyo sa ating mamamayan.”

Noting that it could well be his last event at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as president, the Chief Executive thanked TESDA officials and personnel for doing their best in pursuing his Daang Matuwid agenda in the past six years.

He also spelled out TESDA’s achievements during his tenure, which include its 10 million course graduates and 72 percent placement rate for its Training for Work Scholarship Program.

The TESDA has also been awarded the nationwide ISO-9001:2008 certification, which signifies its dedication and competence.

“Malinaw po, lahat ng nakamit nating tagumpay ay bahagi lamang nang malawakan nating pagsisikap na tuparin ang ating panatang ang iwan ang ating bansa sa mas magandang sitwasyon kaysa sa ating dinatnan,” the President said.

“Sa Daang Matuwid, ginagawa natin ang tama at makatwiran. Sinasagad ang pagkakataon makapag-lingkod at tinututok ang serbisyo sa kapakanan ng mas nakararami. Kasabay ng paglago ng ekonomiya, pinapa-unlad natin ang imprastraktura, edukasyon, kalusugan at iba pang serbisyong panlipunan para i-angat ang ating mga Boss.”

With the election of former TESDA director general Joel Villanueva to the Senate, the President said he expects him to work even harder to provide Filipinos with more decent jobs.

In her report to President Aquino, TESDA chief Irene Isaac said that as a result of TESDA’s certification process, more than 500 industry associations and companies have partnered with the agency, covering such areas as standards development, training delivery, apprenticeship program, dual training system, and assessment and certification.

The TESDA also continues to implement its major scholarship programs, among them the Training for Work Scholarship Program, Private Education Students Financial Assistance, and Special Training Employment Program.

Isaac said TESDA will continue to use Technical Vocational Education and Training as a tool to give people decent jobs and to align the program with global standards. PND (as)