o C t o B E r 2 5 - 3 1, 2 0 1 0
the oly op Pape, We take a sad
Are there hidden hands manipulat-ing the public mind to be distractedrom destruction?Distraction no. 1: the boo-boos o Malacanang like the Executive OrderNo. 2 issue. Distraction no. 2: the ar-rogance o a cabinet member, insulting a solon rom Mindanao. And as many as ve other issues that have entertainedthe public in the last over three months,making everybody busy not to noticemovements in the national economy. We are being distracted rom thereal destruction. That destruction starts where it hurts most every Filipino, hispocket. Opinyon made this clear as itimpacts against the amilies o OFWs.I you look at the numbers, i the dol-lar losses P5.00 in the exchanges, thattranslates to the economy losing thebuying power o OFWs to the tuneo over P100Billion in one year. I oneis to compute the cascading eecto this amount on the economy, it isequivalent, among others, to hundredso thousands o jobs lost. O coursethe government would miss earning all taxes rom the turn-around o thisamount. Taxes missed could easily goup to P30Billion.Because we are distracted by politics we may not see the coming destructionin our economy. The impairment o thebuying power o the OFWs will haveimmediate impact on the OFW amily.Christmas will denitely not be likethat o last year. Local commerce andindustry will slow down. While this is bad or the OFW sec-tor, this is very very bad in the exportsector. Many small export oriented en-terprise will close shop meaning hun-dreds o thousands will lose their jobs.Export marketing is highly competitiveand is done in American dollars. Soevery time the dollar loses value, theexporter suers a corresponding lossin income. When an exporter’s grossmargin is 15 percent and the dollarloses 16 percent, the businessmanloses everything including his houseto pay up bank loans.The rst to go among the exportersare those “packpackers” in the servicesector. These are the BPOs or the callcenters that employ over 500,000 o our young. These call center investorsare likened to backpackers as they havelight capital investments and are ready to go where the currency is stable, costo operations is low, and manpoweravailable. With export industry gasping orbreath, the economy will even moveslower.I am grateul Pres. Noynoy Aquinosaw the light and has assured us thegovernment is getting ready or thecurrency exchange problems. P-Noy’simmediate response tells us he wasnot distracted rom this threatening economic destruction. Right timing or P-Noy and I can not expect lessrom the economics student o ormerPres. GMA.Thank you Mr. President.
Distracted from destructions
By rAy JuniA
B rEA Ann sAntos
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s (SBMA) inusiono new ideas in developing the eco-tourist sites in Subicprovided a classic example o what the industry should doto realize the country’s ulltourism potentials.Because o its unspoiledbeaches and virgin tropicalorests, Subic has positioneditsel as the country’s primenature hub. Aside rom being named by the Departmento Tourism (DOT) as one o the country’s ocial sites orbird-watching, an increasingly popular activity among naturelovers, it has continued todraw more tourists to share itsiconic theme parks and natureadventures. Aside rom catering to localand oreign tourists perect sitesand spots, SBMA employeeshave also gained a number o awards or being instrumentalin their respective rendered ser- vices that aid in the operation o SBMA. Hence, they contributeto SBMA’s tourism by personi-ying what a true public servantshould be.
Take the cue from SBMAdevelopment
Tourisim Secretary AlbertoLim challenged key industry players to ocus on environ-mental protection and sus-tainable development among the actors to maximize theimpact o tourism, even ashe hailed SBMA as an idealtourism town with a balancedtourism thrust.However, Lim said thatstakeholders should be wary o the ill-eects o uncontrolledtourism to host communities,and insisted that develop-ment in this sector should beenvironment-riendly.“The only thing that theDOT would insist on is thatdevelopment should be sus-tainable. So we should notocus much on getting highnumbers [o tourist arrivals],but [on attaining] quality tourism,” said Lim.To make domestic tour-ism sustainable, Lim said theDOT advocates the use o anexhaustive tourism masterplan or identied destinationsin the country. In addition,local government units muststrictly enorce laws relevantto zoning, security, wastemanagement, and sanitation.Lim then cited the SBMA’sbalanced thrust that madeSubic Bay so popular withlocal tourists.“[The Subic Bay Freeport]is an ideal tourism town,”Lim said, pointing out thatthe SBMA has made gooduse o the ree port’s naturalendowments with modest in-rastructure support to makethem accessible to tourists.SBMA Administrator Ar-mand Arreza agreed that thekey to tourism success begins with detailed planning, andimplementing strict environ-mental and zoning laws.“Sustainable developmentand sustainable tourism - thatis something we don’t com-promise about. We are happy too that the entire ree portcommunity has adopted thattype o culture,” said Arreza.
SBMA employees receiveCSC Pagasa awards
Meanwhile, this year’s win-ners, Ranny Magno and Randy Canlas, join two others inSBMA’s roster o “Pagasa”awardees: security ocer Joel Viray (2008) and SBMA Ecology Center sta Edmundde Jesus (2009), whose respec-tive achievements in peaceand order and environmentalprotection gained the nod o the Civil Service Commission(CSC) Honor Awards Programcommittee.Magno and Canlas, em-ployees o the SBMA exempli-ed what a real public servantshould be ater receiving Pagasa awards rom the CSCor exhibiting the agency’score values o ‘Malasakit’,Excellence, and Passion.SBMA Fire and RescueTeam leader Capt. Ranny Magno and printing machineoperator Randy Canlas wereacclaimed during the CSCrecognition rites or regionalnalists held recently at King’sRoyal Hotel and Leisure Parkin Bacolor, Pampanga. Arreza proudly said the twocitations this year were “a rareeat” or the SBMA, in view o the act that the distinction isusually given to a group.“With the awards given outseparately to two SBMA em-ployees, we are doubtly proudor having two more awardeesin our ranks,” he added.Canlas was named the 2009SBMA Employee o the Year ordeveloping and implementing Inormation Technology pro-grams which, i outsourced,could have cost P6.4 million inthe last six years. I these sys-tems were ully implementedin the 52 SBMA departments,the agency’s total savings inIT could reach P25 million yearly.Meanwhile, Magno hasbeen helpul in the unctionso the SBMA Fire and RescueTeam. The same team helpedretrieve trapped miners at level700 o the Goldeld mine inItogon, Benguet in September2008.
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Call centers are vulnerable toa weaker peso because they donot rely on heavy investmentson real estate or machineries.These call centers are heavy on manpower, and can comein just bringing their money,sotware and clients. They willrent oce spaces and hire lotso people, and just as easily asthey can come in to invest, they can easily pack up i the condi-tions become unavorable. What President BenignoSimeon Aquino III had toutedas an economic achievemento his administration has now become a “cause or concern,”as the appreciation o the pesoagainst the dollar threatens notonly the economic power o OFWs but also industries thatrely on a weaker peso to grantcompetitive wages to localFilipino workers.
Mr. President is concerned
In his trip to Isabela last week to distribute relie goodsto the victims o super typhoon“Juan,” Mr. Aquino said theappreciating peso was a causeor concern, although he hadbeen touting the high valueo the peso as an economicachievement two weeks ago.In the previous week’s issue,OpinYon pointed out that thepurchasing power o OFWs istrimmed rom both sides, as theprices o goods are increasing while the purchasing power o their dollars are decreasing.OpinYon came out with warnings that the appreciating peso could spell danger to thecountry’s economy because itrelies on consumer spending,mostly by OFWs who get de-cent wages abroad but get more value or their dollars whenthey bring them back here. With the continued ap-preciation o the peso, the callcenter industry, one o the ew industries that keep the Philip-pine economy afoat, is now at risk o relocating to othercountries.The exchange rate now stands at P43 to a dollar, butsome banks have expressedconcern that the peso couldappreciate to as much as P41against the dollar beore the year ends.
Dollar fetches fewer pesos
Call center companiesmarket their services to clientsbased in the United States, andas such close contracts andreceive payments in dollars.These contracts are closedmonths beore, but etch ewerpesos now to pay the salaries o call center agents.These companies, however,have to pay their highly-skilledFilipino workers in pesos, mostoten at a premium becausethey have to work odd shitsbecause they have to take callsrom the customers o theirUS-based clients.I the peso appreciatesagainst the dollar, then thesecall center companies wouldstill have to pay the same wagesthat they give their employees when the peso was weaker. I they get paid $1 million or anaccount, then they would haveto shed more o that prot or wages so they could keep pay-ing their employees the same wages.
BPO in tight squeeze
With the appreciation o the peso, these call centercompanies could nd them-selves in a tight scal positiono maintaining the salaries o their workers while keeping the prots sustainable. Or they could just pack up and leave.The call centers do not haveto make heavy investmentson real estate or machinery,and thus could easily pack upand leave i they would nd itharder to do business here thanin other places like China orIndia because o the appreciat-ing peso.OpinYon had already beenreceiving reports o big callcenter companies downsizing their operations in the Philip-pines, which would invariably lead to more work or those who would be retained but withoutthe corresponding increases intheir salaries.
Call center collapse
SBMA lauded for its tourism practices
What President Benigno simeonaquino iii had touted as an economicachievement of his administrationhas noW Become a cause for concern.
sBMA emplee rad Cala (le) ad ra Mag (gh) hw he phe adcefcae wg he CsC Pagaa Awad