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Hiring: Skilled BPO Workers this 2012

IT-BPO (information technology-business process outsourcing) in the Philippines will start to recruit workers for higher-value positions for this year. Hiring of qualified individuals is the most important concern as the industry aims higher value services. According to Lauro Vives, founding president and chief analyst of XMG Global, the local BPO industrys expected growth will be flat between 19 percent and 21 percent for 2012. He explained that BPO companies will look for qualified personnel even in other countries just to fill in higher positions that will manage more complex job. The migration of locally skilled IT workers to other Asean countries, particularly Malaysia, will decrease the supply of talents in the country. BPO companies will expect the increase of cost of labor in the country due to insufficient number of knowledgeable workers. Vives further clarified that the labor costs continue to grow between 5 and 12 percent yearly. Their statistics showed that from 2010 to 2012, the cost of labor in the Philippines continues to remain viable in offshoring country. Based from XMGs forecast, by 2015, the number of college-eligible high school graduates would turn down by 1 percent over five years because of high attrition rate among students in the primary and secondary levels. Also, the debt crisis in Europe affects the call center industry in the Philippines. The impact of Europes revenue contribution in the Phils. revenue is nominal. Presently, most of BPO industry clients are in the United States, about 70 percent. In a study, in every 100 applicants, only 5 to 6 are competent to handle difficult BPO jobs. With these problems, BPAP had signed a five-year partnership memorandum of cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd). Their goal is to revise college curricula, provide training programs for teachers, and evaluate student graduates skills. A proposal is included in the memorandum which also aims to include "BPO 101" in the core curriculum. BPAP also partners with TESDA, wherein English teachers will be trained to develop their competencies. Also, a standard examination will be provided to college graduates who want to enter the call center industry through a global competitive test or GCAT. The project, IT-BPO Road Map 2011-2016, expects a joint venture between Everest Group and Outsource2Philippine together with BPAP. They projected revenue of $20 billion or 900,000 jobs by 2016, from the present $9 billion or 500,000 jobs.

Via: Talent problem may make flat IT-BPO growth

Training Scholarship for Schools in Metro Clark

Metro Clark is consisting of places in Clark and nearby towns in Pampanga and Tarlac. BPO companies inside the Metro Clark Information and Communications Technology Council (MCICTC) freeport will employ about 30,000 call center agents. According to George Sorio of the CyberCity Teleservices, P33 million worth of training scholarship will be given to agents in Luzon so that companies may expand their BPO transactions in the Metro Clark area. The project, Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) was established from an agreement between TESDA, the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines. A total of 510 training scholarship vouchers were awarded to four local schools that offer accredited Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) courses in the field of Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). The awardees are Clark International College of Science of Technology, CCIS Educational Foundation, St. Nicholas College and Mabalacat College. The training institution is responsible to facilitate at least 70% employment of scholars. Moreover, schools within Metro Clark and Pampanga with accredited TESDA courses in the ICT fields are still encouraged to avail of the membership with MCICTC in order to qualify for the TWSP vouchers. MCICTC will also conduct major programs that promote Industry-Academe linkages such as hosting the Clark ConEx International ICT Conference in October. This will attract thousands of delegates from business, academe and government.

Via: Clark BPOs need 30,000 employees

DOST introduced Genomics Program

In the launching of the Philippine Genomics Center in Shangri-la Hotel Makati City, Mario G. Montejo, Science and Technology Secretary, said that DOST will be focusing in its genomics program on health, agriculture, livestock, fisheries and biodiversity. DOST introduced Genomics, a flagship program that is considered as a game-changing tool that may offer vast rewards to people. This is concerned with the study of the genomes or the entire set of genes in an organism. Genomics aims to study the cycle of the genome in an organism. This will output some applications in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and bio-processing. Montejo further explained that DOST will provide funds to sustain health researches on diseases likedengue, TB, AH1N1, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes and genomic studies on endemic crops, staples, bio-products fisheries and livestock to notably improve the production in agriculture. Genomics initial plan includes improving the brood stock for the cultured bangus and tilapia, fighting top virus affecting abaca, and addressing the dreaded Panama disease now affecting banana growers in Mindanao. Also, Genome-based research had collaborated with scientific disciplines, public research and development institutions, policy makers, academe and industry sectors. Genomics requires more scientists and experts to develop a sustainable program. With appropriate resources to support the operational and infrastructure demands of research and development, this project will be feasible. DOST implemented Balik Scientist Program, this will bring more Filipino scientists, informatics experts and engineers. These people are now working outside the Philippines to guide domestic scholars and supervise genome-related projects. DOST continues to support genomics research projects through funding from the following councils: Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, Philippine Council on Health Research and Development, and Philippine Council on Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.

Via: DOST genomics program to focus on health, agriculture, biodiversity

The North Face 100 Philippines 2012: In Baguio-Benguet.

Now in the City of Pines, The North Face 100 or TNF100 Philippines on its fifth year is back here at Baguio Benguet. The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the City Government of Baguio organized the launching of the TNF 100 Philippines 2012. The event will happen on April 21 and 22. The panelists were composed of DOT Regional Director Purificacion Molintas, Baguio City Administrator Atty. Carlos Canilao, TNF Division Manager Jundel Llagas and Mr. Levi Nayahangan. Llagas stated that TNF100 is the first Ultra trail running marathon series in the Asia Pacific Region, it was first launch in 2008. Llagas further said that this year they decided to return in BaguioBenguet area, after the city first hosted the event in 2010. The cool weather and the warm hospitality of the people suited the TNF100. For this event, they are expecting about 1,000 participants local and regional as well as participants from about 11 countries. The four categories of the event are 11K solo; 22K Solo; 50K solo and the ultra 100km solo, which all will have a male and female sub-category. The race will start and end inside Camp John Hay passing the trails of Philippine Military Academy, Mt. Santo Tomas and the municipality of Tuba and Itogon, Benguet. The registration for the TNF100 is now open and will be accepting entries until April 8. Registration fee includes TNF jerseys, bibs, hydration, discount coupon, raffle entry, freebies from sponsors is P1,000 for the 11 and 22 km. race and P3,500 for the 50 and 100 Km. Ultra Marathon. Cash and product prizes await the winners. Registration points are the Travel Club SM Baguio, ROX/ResToeRun/Bratpack at the Camp John Hay Techno Hub and Primer booth at the Session Road in Bloom on Feb. 26 to March 4. Interested individuals can also log on to for more queries. DOT Regional Director Molintas explained that the Baguio-Benguet area and the other parts of Cordillera, are now turned to sports sites and adventure tourism events. Also, Molintas cited the Bike Trail Race in Sagada Mt. Province which will coincide with Sagadas Etag Festival. On February 18, there will be an International Skyrunning Race in Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet where participants will race along a 33km.

Via: DOT,city govt launch The North Face 100 Philippines 2012 Baguio-Benguet.

Seaweed farming in Zambales, Bulacan, Aurora and Bataan

Marine products like seaweeds are good sources of protein. Seaweeds are also the source of agar which is used in confectionery, meat and poultry products, desserts, beverages and carrageenan. These are essential in the preparation of salad dressings, sauces, dairy items, baked goods and preservatives in meat and fish. According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Director Remedios Ongtangco, Region 3 is a non-traditional area for seaweed farming. But the agency continues to strengthen its campaign for seaweed culture by conducting free trainings, providing free seedlings to marginal fisher folks and setting up techno-demo farms. For instance, a hectare of farm planted with the Kappaphycus sp. variety of seaweed, the farmer may harvest 7,000 kilos of wet seaweeds after 45 days. The young branches of seaweeds are retained to enable them to grow again. This production hectare will only cost P60,000. In Zambales area, some 21 hectares is now planted with Kappaphycus sp. initiated by three fisher folk associations like the Samahan ng mga Mangingisda sa Kahanawan, Baloganon in barangay Baloganon; the Samahan ng mga Mangingisda sa Togue at Tanguili from barangay Taltal; and the BIGKIS in barangay Baloganon, all in Masinloc town. There are 30 individual farmers from barangay Bamban and three commercial farms owned by the Sideli Internaitonal, Inc. in Sitio Mapait, Bamban, they have involved themselves in seaweed farming. In estimation, Zambales has a potential area of 700 hectares that could produce 56,770 metric tons of seaweeds annually. BFAR maintains three seaweed nurseries in Masinloc which produced 17.7 metric tons last year. The harvest was distributed to farmers to begin their seaweed culture. In Aurora, approximately 150 hectares was identified as probable area for seaweed farming. A seaweed tissue laboratory was already put up in Baler. This serves as a gene-bank for important native species of seaweeds. Kappaphycus sp. cannot resist the drop in salinity brought about by frequent rainfall in the province so BFAR conduct the testing of Gracillaria sp. in Aurora. In Bataan, 10 hectares of land is a feasible habitat of seaweed farming. The locations are Bagac, Mariveles and Morong. Two seaweed nurseries have been established in Barangay Mabayo and in Silangin Bay, both in Morong. Gracillaria sp. will grow plentifully in the province from December to May. About 300 metric tons is being harvested annually in Bataan. In Bulacan, Gracillaria sp. grows naturally. The province can produce 420 metric tons of dry seaweeds annually. This year, 60 units of seaweeds drier will be given to seaweed gatherers in the towns of Bulacan and Paombong and Malolos City.

To sum it up, Central Luzon may yield a total of 65,880 metric tons of seaweed for the year.

Via: The potential of seaweed farming in Central Luzon