NEWS

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PSBank relocates two branches

Monday August 14, 2017

Philippine Savings Bank (PSB), the thrift bank arm of the Metrobank Group, has relocated two of its branches to reach more clients. “The relocation of our Cavite-Rosario branch and Cebu-Mango Ave. branch are in line with our goal to reach more customers and provide them easier access to our products and services. With this move, we are able to provide the banking public our simple and reliable banking services,” said PSBank Branch Banking Group Head and Senior Vice President Francis C. Llanera in a statement issued Monday. Cavite-Rosario branch is now located in The Square, Retail 2, Unit 101, Advincula Ave., Lancaster New City, Brgy. Alapan 2, Imus City City, Cavite. Cebu-Mango Ave. Branch is now located at GF, Stall 101, eBlock 4, Jose Maria Del Mar St., Cebu IT Park, Cebu City. PSBank currently has 250 branches and more than 600 ATMs nationwide. (INQUIRER.net)

HOW SAFE ARE CEBU’S BUILDINGS IF AN EARTHQUAKE STRIKES

Monday July 17, 2017

Experts, developers share views on how Cebu’s developments are built While there was no reported damage on structures in Cebu when the recent 6.5-magnitude earthquake rocked the Visayas, one still can’t help but ask the question: Just how safe are the buildings here, particularly condominiums, from tremors in the future? People may have become wary of living in multi-level buildings following the 7.2-magnitude temblor that struck Cebu and Bohol in 2013 as well as the Leyte quake last July 6, fearing that these edifices could not withstand strong seismic activities. Despite this perception, major developers in Cebu assured the public that their properties are safe. “CLI had been very compliant and has always worked with qualified architectural and engineering designers,” Franco Soberano, chief operating officer of publicly-listed Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI), said in a text message. Building, fire codes Soberano said the best way to disaster-proof developments is by strictly adhering to the building and fire codes of the Philippines. The developer said the codes are there to protect the users of a building as these take into consideration the local natural environment and climate. Located within the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippine archipelago is home to many volcanoes and fault lines; and, thus, is prone to earthquakes every now and then. The country also experiences more than 20 typhoons each year, which is also one factor engineers consider when planning for buildings, residential or otherwise. “Another very important requirement is to do regular and routine checking of all integral parts of the building, including structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and fire protection systems,” Soberano said. CLI has more than 30 projects in the metropolitan as well as beyond Cebu with existing and planned projects in Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, Dumaguete, and Bacolod, cutting across the economic segment to the high-end segment of the market. The same assurance was given by Cebu Holdings, Inc. (CHI), a subsidiary of Ayala Land and is the company behind Cebu Business Park in uptown Cebu City. “Developments built by Ayala Land and Cebu Holdings, particularly buildings and facilities that are intended to be occupied or contain vital support functions, are not built on top and do not straddle a known fault line,” CHI said. Technical due diligence As part of the company’s technical due diligence, geotechnical studies and the required EGGA or Engineering Geological and Geo-hazard Assessments are conducted. Furthermore, all projects begin after careful assessment and clearances from applicable government agencies and in-house experts. CHI also continues to explore new technologies in design and construction that advance its communities’ aptitude for disaster resilience. Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. (CPVDC), the firm behind Cebu IT Park, is a joint venture between CHI and the Cebu provincial government. CHI said that in Cebu Business Park and Cebu IT Park, they make sure that building constructions follow all requirements not less than those required by the National Building Code. “We do not allow construction to begin unless plans are reviewed and are issued the required construction permit by the Office of the Building Official,” the company said. National Building Code Engineer Josefa Ylanan, chief of Cebu City’s Office of the Building Official (OBO), said no permitted residential structure within the city was compromised by the tremors last week. “If they have secured a (building) permit, that would mean their engineers complied with the requirements as per the National Building Code,” she said in a phone interview. The National Structural Code of the Philippines, most recently revised in 2010, is based on the National Building Code of the Philippines enacted by Congress in 1972 following the 7.3-magnitude earthquake in Casiguran, Aurora in 1968. Prior to the 2010 revision, critical changes in the code were also made when on July 16, 1990, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Baguio led to the collapse of 28 buildings. The code enumerates a set of requirements that developers and construction companies should adhere to if they intend to keep their buildings from sustaining major structural damage. Primarily designed to protect homeowners and building occupants, among the guidelines included in the code are choosing safe locations as well as the use of high-quality materials for construction. “I would say that structures that are permitted have passed National Building Code requirements. We can be confident that these buildings can withstand earthquakes as strong or even stronger than the last one,” Ylanan said. Magnitude 9 temblors Ylanan pointed out that before the revisions in the code, buildings could withstand only up to magnitude 7 earthquakes, but can now survive up to magnitude 9 temblors. Following the Cebu-Bohol earthquake in 2013, Ylanan said contractors revisited their areas to see whether their buildings no longer meet current standards. “If this is the case, they may recommend retrofitting,” the OBO chief said. She said no building owner would refuse this as retrofitting a structure would cost less than if something unfortunate happens to the building. (CEBU DAILY NEWS)

Cebu remains a KPO hub in PH

Wednesday June 21, 2017

A PROPERTY management and research firm named Cebu still as the “most practical choice” for knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) firms looking for viable locations outside Manila. “We see more Metro Manila-based KPO firms establishing operations in Cebu given the need to have a redundant site that would back up their Metro Manila operations. The influx of KPO firms has propped up office space demand within the Cebu Business Park and Cebu I.T. Park,” said a Colliers International Philippines report released on Tuesday. High-value services KPO are generally higher value outsourcing services that include health information management, software engineering, finance and accounting. Over the years, Colliers said the share of KPO employees in Cebu’s outsourcing workforce has grown from 10 percent in 2008 to nearly 30 percent in 2015. Colliers cited the ample supply of skilled college graduates where 35 percent of the 30,000 graduates yearly from Cebu colleges and universities have a degree in engineering, IT and math, or medical-related degrees. Rapid ubanization The high level of urbanization driven by the development of several townships and public infrastructure projects has also helped position Cebu as a top KPO destination. To date, top KPO firms in Cebu include Accenture, which employs 5,000 workers. The company said it will hire at least 1,000 more employees that can handle SAP, Java, and analytic programming, among others. Another successful KPO firm in Cebu is the Vietnam IT company FPT Software, which has 62 software engineers. It targets to employ about 2,000 people by 2020. “FPT Software officials said that establishing operations in Cebu is an integral part of the company’s Asean expansion strategy,” said Colliers. Aside from IT-related job, medical graduates like nurses and pharmacists also find job opportunities in Cebu with health information management (HIM) firms setting up operations like Medcor and United Health Group, among others. Collier also noted that the public sector is also important in boosting Cebu’s image as a major KPO hub. KPO perks From 2017 to 2019, an anticipated 300,000 square meters of office spaces are expected to go online in Cebu. As a recommendation, Colliers noted that Cebu’s academe must collaborate with local ICT councils in calibrating their academic programs to fit KPO requirement. It also encouraged the local government to grant additional incentives to KPO companies that will provide free training to college students and graduates. (SUN STAR CEBU)

DOVER OPENS OFFICE IN CEBU

Friday June 9, 2017

The shared service unit of global manufacturer Dover has set its foot to Cebu infusing an initial investment of approximately $1 million. The company also formally laucnhed its 56-man facility at Cebu I.T Park in Cebu City last Wednesday. Initially eyeing Manila for its Philippine operations, Dover Business Services (DBS) president Garry Kennon said it chose Cebu because of its strategic location coupled by the readily available talent pool. “Cebu has an established, talented workforce that has experience with the specific functions DBS will execute, and an established pro-business infrastructure to support Dover’s current strategies and future growth in the region,” said Kennon. Support DBS in the Philippines, with office at the TGU tower in Cebu IT Park, will support Dover’s operating companies through the processing of select financial and transactional processes and provides human resource and IT support. As a diversified global manufacturer, Dover produces components, and digital solutions ranging from engineered systems, fluids, and refrigeration and food equipment. “Our vision for DBS service centers is around-the-clock seamless expertise and service. Cebu is key to building our knowledge-based and customer experience model,” added Kennon. Global operations DBS shared service centers operate across the globe in three locations in North America (Cincinnati, Ohio), Scotland, and China (Suzhou). Each center provides customer service around finance, IT infrastructure, and human resource. “We’re here for the long-term (in Cebu) and we will add more people and services,” said Kennon, without disclosing the number of jobs to add in the coming years. (SUN STAR CEBU)

Competition to find new food concepts

Thursday May 4, 2017

The curator of the Sugbo Mercado Food Bazaar is staging another campaign aimed at finding a new breed of food entrepreneurs to introduce new food concepts. Called Foodtrepreneur, the new campaign, which will be in the form of a competition, hopes to introduce new culinary concepts that have huge growth potential. At least 10 aspiring foodtrepenuers will compete this May 13 at the Sugbu Mercado IT Park. Their food offerings, some of which are heirloom recipes, will be judged by the first 100 guests at the bazaar. The organizers will also tap big names in Cebu’s culinary and business industries to serve as judges. The winner gets to take home P20,000 cash plus one month’s free lease at the Sugbu Mercado IT Park and some mentoring sessions. Sugbo Mercado Food Bazaar Inc. (SMFBI) president John Paul Chiongbian said Foodtreprenuer is their way of introducing new concepts in the local culinary scene of Cebu. “The dynamics of a food bazaar should constantly introduce new food concepts, the reason we are holding this competition,” said Chiongbian, adding that mounting this competition would provide a venue for aspiring entrepreneurs to get a market feel for their products before they launch it commercially. SMFBI marketing and communications director Michael Karlo Lim said the competition will also serve as a mentorship platform for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to get serious in the business and who want to see their ventures successfully take off. Lim said the team is still accepting and screening applicants. So far, there are already two mothers, a call center agent/chef and two young brothers joining the competition. “The goal really is to help them set up the business, capacitate them and see them and their businesses grow,” said Lim. Since its three-year operation as a dining lifestyle destination, Lim said they have seen their tenants grow, with a number of them operating stand-alone shops in malls and around the city, while some have penetrated online shopping sites like Zalora and Lazada. “We hope to see more of these business stories in the coming months,” Lim said. Sugbo Mercado was recognized by the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Tourism as an official food market bazaar. The Cebu City Government has also recognized the potential of the activity in terms of creating business for people and engaging young individuals to venture into entrepreneurship. (SUN STAR CEBU)

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