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Archive for the ‘Pinoy Business’ Category

Filipinos In Brunei Warned

A re-occuring story in the Philippines are the many problems faced by overseas Filipino workers. This past week Philippine Foreign Secretary Delia Albert stated 9,000 workers have failed (32,000 have) to take advantage of an amnesty program and now face deportation.

This week another warning was issued. Philippines Labour and Employment Acting Secretary, Manuel Imson, warned Filipino nationals working in the sultanate to not use their tourist visas to work and he also prompted the Labour Attache to Brunei, Carmelina Velasquez, to post notices in Filipino, English, Yakan, and Tausug in Mindanao ports and airports to make transients aware of the tough immigration laws in the country. Not a good sign:

With the enforcement of the new Immigration Order this year which came into force on February 12, stating that any immigration offender detained and prosecuted in court after June 12, would be liable to be caned under a whipping sentence and it could be dangerous if anyone broke the law.

In addition under Chapter 6 (1), any foreigner who enters and stays in the country without any proper Immigration Pass can be given a heavier jail sentence of up to two years and also three strokes of the cane, if found guilty.

You would think the Philppine Government would consistently be on the side of the overseas Filipino. Common sense dictates that. Common sense isn’t very common:

Hong Kong: Filipino maids protest hike in contract fee

The South China Morning Post reports today [January 26, 2004] that, “Dozens of Filipino domestic helpers yesterday formed a human chain around the building that houses the Philippine consulate in Admiralty to protest against their government’s policies on overseas workers. The group was rallying against an increase in processing fees for their employment contracts – from $85 to $297.50 [other sources stated the rise was to $287.50] – as well as omnibus policies brought into force by the Philippines government.”

A 300% hike in fees collected is just a wee bit more than inflation I would say. Wonder how many campaign debts will be paid off with the windfall?

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Aussie junior Lafayette Mining [ASX:LAF] has dared where few other Aussies have gone and is getting closer to achieving what has seemed impossible: getting a mine off the ground in the Philippines.

The Melbourne-based company today (Tuesday) confirmed it had obtained project equity funding and subordinated debt commitments (totalling US$10 million) from two foreign investors, South Korean-based LG International Corp (LG) and the resources investment arm of the S.Korean Government, KORES. Together they now own 26 percent of the proposed US$42-$45 million Rapu Rapu polymetallic project, which Lafayette (who holds the remaining 74 percent) hopes to commission in late calendar 2004/early 2005.

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UK banking giant HSBC is to set up a call centre in the Philippines to handle customer service and backroom operations, company officials say.
The bank will initially hire 500 people for the operation, to be based on the outskirts of Manila.

HSBC said last year that it was cutting 4,000 jobs at its UK call centres over the next three years.

“The jobs in Manila are included in that amount,” an HSBC spokeswoman told BBC News Online.

As most things, there seems to be bad news to go with the good.

The Philippines is rated among the world’s top 10 most dangerous countries to do business, according to statistics published this week by insurance broker Aon.

Source: BBC Asia

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Friday Was Not a Good Day

Despite the puffed chests and flowery language that was apparent as Pres. Arroyo met with the Philippine/Chinese business community, Friday was not a red letter day for the Philippines.
First there is word that the Peso hit an all time low of 55.75 to the dollar, then more was added to the mix by the Japanese Government airing their dissatisfation with the current business climate here, warning of a possible pullouts of business and investments.

Akio Egawa, Japanese consul general in the Philippines cited concerns over security issues and the current legal battle between the government and Fraport’s Philippine partner, the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco).

Not the type of news the Admistration wants to here four months from the Presidential elections.

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The Perils of Plastic

The Unlawyer has provided the inspiration with a post that included quotes from a Chicago Tribune (reg. req’d) article:

“The biggest obstacle credit card marketers had to overcome in Hungary was fear of fraud. But consumer concerns about the safety of their cards have led to an important security innovation made possible by the explosive growth of mobile phones in Hungary.

“Each time a card is used, the cardholder immediately gets a text message on his or her cell phone confirming the transaction and notifying the cardholder of the balance. Initially developed in Hungary, the messaging system is used widely in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is now being introduced in Western Europe.”

A simple, brilliant idea that would certainly be easy to implement in the Philippines.

But their are pitfalls to the “credit card society.” as outlined below.
(more…)

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A Titan Cometh

Despite all the Political shenanigans, resignations, and threats from all sorts of rebel groups there is good business news to report.
Titan Industries announced its entry into the Philippines for the distibution of their line of wristwatches.

The decision to foray into Philippines was prompted by Titan’s success in neighbouring countries like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and also by the fact that the Philippines watch industry was developed and offered the right platform for Titan products. Titan watches are now available in about 70 stores across the Philippines and the company plans to expand the distribution network to 150 outlets covering the watch stores, departmental stores and kiosks in big shopping malls. An exclusive Titan store to showcase the entire range of watches is also part of the future plans.

Every little bit helps. The story is quoted from The Hindu India’s National Newspaper.

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I.T. Congrats are in Order

I bet these guys started out jammed into a closet sized “internet cafe” playing games, and now they are getting international recognition for programing their own products.

A FILIPINO-developed personal computer game has been chosen as one of the top 10 finalists in an international competition held every year in San Jose, California, INQ7.net learned Monday.

Anito: Defend a Land Enraged,” a PC game made by Filipino startup Anino Entertainment, joined other top computer games from all over the world vying for top prizes and cash in the 6th Independent Games Festival Neil Dagondon, president of Anino Entertainment, told INQ7.net.

Founded by seven young Filipino gamers, Anino Entertainment is the first local company to have bagged licensing deals outside of the country.

Best of luck to the company and its founding members. The competition will be held in March ’04.

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The BBC tells the story of San Kolap who needs a crutch to walk with a heavy limp.
When she was one-year-old, she was permanently maimed by a rocket that hit her [Cambodian] family’s home.

“[When I was younger] I thought I didn’t want to live in the world,” said Ms Kolap, now 23. “When I went outside I was afraid of people.”

Today she has a different outlook. After a local organisation gave her some basic computer skills training, Ms Kolap got a job at the non-profit Digital Divide Data (DDD) in July 2002.

She is now also studying English literature at a local university, and plans to become a teacher at a private school.

“Now at DDD, I think my life is very important. I can get a job and go to university and do something good,” she said.

You would think something like this would cause great joy in the hearts of American liberals. But as usual they are screaming their pathetic little voices about a contract that DDD is working with. One of its first contracts is archiving back issues of the Harvard Crimson, the Harvard University newspaper.

The student newspaper, which advocates a living wage for workers on its university campus, was accused in a Boston Globe article of hypocrisy for hiring low-cost Asian typists.

In Phnom Penh, DDD general director Nhev Sith Sophary said the reality was that if the contract had not gone to Cambodia, it would have gone to India or the Philippines.

This has been a constant complaint in recent years, the famous (or infamous) clamor over Nike outsourcing its shoe production to Indonesia is the most visable case. The liberal media jumped all over Nike for being “slave masters”. In reporting the story almost no mention was made that these jobs were coveted by the Indonesian workers. So valued in fact, the rights to hold a Nike job were being legally pasted on to reletives thru wills. The same scenario seems to be playing out.

“People here got very angry with the Boston Globe because they thought it was trying to make them lose their jobs,” said Mr Sophary.

Work at DDD does seem more desirable than the alternative. For a highly prized job at a garment factory, Cambodians work for up to $45 a month. Typists at DDD earn up to $65 per month, plus benefits, for about 80 fewer hours.

Globalisation certainly has its problems, but this isn’t one of them. Harvard University is one of the most prestigious and expensive in the states. These “lost” American jobs would only be filled by Harvard students looking to kill time, or more likely had a special interest in helping the paper in archiving the its history. The good news is because of the controversy and resultant publicity…..

the company is now running in the black with all the core work done by Cambodians.

The main office in Phnom Penh has more than 100 staff members. In early October DDD created almost 30 more jobs when it opened new operations in the western Cambodia city Battambang and in Vientiane, the Laos capital.

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Looking South….

The San Francisco Chronicle has noted the Glorification of Mindanao.
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A breath of “fresh” Air

Story via the Manila Bulletin

$355-M funding for for power plant closes.
Project proponents of the 210megawatt coalfired power plant project in Mindanao have finally closed the $355-million loan that will bankroll the construction of the facility starting this year.

For a little background on coal fired power plants and the associated health risks I suggest you read this from the Clean Air Task Force in Boston Ma. At first look this new Mindanao plant looks like it may pass pollution standards, but I am far from an expert in this field. Living in Laguna as I do the thought of a thermal powered plant in this area would be a wise move.

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