By Rose de la Cruz

AS basic as it is to local manufacturers of all kinds of products, the growth of the tool and die industry has seesawed to low levels due to an uneven competition from imported products and the lack of government support to the sector.

The Philippines had the lowest number of shops producing dies, molds and encapsulated parts for basic food, pharmaceutical, electronics, cars and trucks, housewares and other products consumed locally at only 170 shops versus 30,000 shops in China and 6,700 shops in Japan, according to a study done in 2006.

The shops comprised of corporations, single proprietorships, partnerships, cooperatives and government. And local demand for their products was at a mere $45 million in 2006 as against $12.7 billion and Japan’s $18.4 billion, the study noted. Imports of these products hit nearly $50 million in 2011 from just less than $40 million in 2006 while exports rose from close to $3.5 million in 2006 to $7.5 million in 2011.

Virgilio Lanzuela, president of the Rollmaster Machinery and Industrial Services and treasurer of the Philippine Die and Mold Association, identified the following challenges to the industry:

     1) Industry costs include huge retraining cost due to high piracy rate of die and mold makers and the high cost of inputs, power and capital equipment

     2) Technical setbacks include the need to import costly high speed machining, multi axis etc. for improved productivity and the lack of engineering services and support infrastructures.

     3) On the market, the domestic market is too small for tool and die and procurement decisions for die and molds are decided outside the country.

 

On the costs for local tool and die makers: dies, jigs for die attach and wirebonding consist of 90 localized; the molds for serial feed molds or epoxy resin encapsulation is 100 percent imported and dies for deflash, trim, form singulation (DTFS) is 90 percent localized.

On the costing of plastic injection molds, he said: 15 percent is die material cost; 33.5 percent is basic manufacturing cost (with Philippine value adding); 34.7 percent is mold base cost; 5.8 percent for secondary elements (screws and ejectors) and 11 percent die design fees (with Philippine Value Adding).

He recommended that the government should introduce policy reforms to encourage large companies to buy their requirements for dies and mold from the local industry and strengthen the gathering of industry data on manufacturing and SMEs.

There is no question on the globally competitive skills of technicians, engineers and specialists of the local tool and die industry which is why they get to be pirated by other countries but the weakness of the industry now is the high cost of inputs (labor, power, raw materials, cost of production, coolants and molds) and the unavailability of raw materials in the Philippines.

Also, the Philippines is not known in the world as a metal producing country.

By Rose de la Cruz

Loans extended by the banking system for condominium and townhouses grew faster at 5.1 and 2.9 percent, respectively, during the second quarter of 2017 than the previous quarter.

But loans for single detached housing declined by 9.9 percent, driving the decline in residential real estate price index (RREPI) for Q2 2017 by 4.6 percent.

On a quarter on quarter bass, the RREPI remained broadly steady.

RREPI measures the changes in prices of various types of housing units comprising of single detached/attached house; duplex, townhouse and condos based on data of housing loans granted by universal, commercial and thrift banks.

Housing prices The average residential property prices in NCR rose by 2.5 percent while those in areas outside NCR (AONCR) declined by 8.2 percent in Q2 2017 versus 2016.

In NCR the higher growth in prices of condos offset the decline in single detached houses and townhouses. But in AONCR the decline in prices of single detached outweighed the increase in prices of condo and townhouses.

In Q2 2017, about 8 in 10 real estate loans were acquired for the purchase of housing units (75.3 percent), of which 45.3 were for single detached; 44.8 percent for condos and 9.6 percent for townhouses.

By region, NCR accounted for 44.9 percent of total number of residential real estate loans granted during the quarter, followed by CALABARZON (28.9%); Central Luzon (6.7%); Central and Western Visayas (5.7% each); Davao (3.1%) and Northern Mindanao (1.3 %).

All seven regions accounted for 96.3 percent of total residential housing loans granted during the quarter

By Elcid Benedicto

The upper chamber is a house divided following a ruckus that marred the plenary session Wednesday after online reports about the seven senators from the majority bloc, perceived to be pro-administration, did not sign a resolution calling on the government to stop the killing of minors and seeking a Senate inquiry on what gave rise to such killings.

Tension filled the plenary session hall as some members of the majority senators howled at such reports, claiming that Senate Resolution No. 516 was not routed to them for signature. The protestation came following posts in a blog site #SilentNoMorePH called Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senators Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Gregorio Honasan and Manny Pacquiao as “Malacanang dogs in the Senate.”

They claimed that they were “excluded” from co-authoring the said resolution by 16 of their colleagues, 11 of them happen to be fellow members of the majority bloc. Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, a member of the minority bloc, owned up to the gaffe, having been the one who routed the said document for signature of senators before it was filed last Sept. 25 and apologized for failing to solicit their signatures. This was after Sen. Loren Legarda, one of the 16 signatories, revealed that it was Pangilinan who got her signature. Sen. Sotto was the first to bring up the issue on the floor as he was even described in the blog as “the rapist, plagiarist and bigot who called all single mothers as good –for- nothing but accidental whores.”

What worsened the situation was when Sen. Villar came out accusing two members of the minority bloc - Senators Bam Aquino and Risa Hontiveros - of being allegedly involved in coming up with the article in the said blog, saying they were allegedly out to “destroy” her, supposedly to crash her chances at the polls when she takes a bid for re-election in 2019.

“Meron talaga nagsabi sa amin na may dalawang senador from the minority who’s trying to destroy us. Wina-warningan na kami siguro ano para bumaba rating namin para sila ang tumaas,” she said. “Si Bam (Aquino) at si Sen. Risa (Hontiveros) ang sinabi nila. Hindi naman ako naniniwala kaya lang nung makita ko to nagulat ako, baka yun na nga yun. I didn’t believe it (at first),” she said. “Maybe this is the beginning of what the other people told us, be careful because some senators will try to destroy you.

Hindi naman ako naniniwala kaya lang nung makita ko ito baka totoo diba? kasi hindi naman kami tinanong. Kinausap ko nga si Sen. (Vicente) Tito (Sotto III), eh bakit ganun sabi nila hindi pa raw official pa yun, nagpapapirma pa lang, ba’t lumabas ng ganyan,” she complained to reporters.

Sen. Villar said she would have signed the said resolution initiated by the minority bloc had she been given a chance. “I left early (the other day) because I went to Hong Kong kasi meron dun CEO forum (that I have to attend),” she said. “Bakit ka naman hindi pipirma eh ano lang yun sa mga bata, under the juvenile justice system hindi naman sila dapat kasali.

Of course ginagamit sila ng matatanda to commit crime kasi hindi sila pwede i- prosecute. Of course we don’t agree with that. Kahit na may kamalian. Yes (I would have signed). Maybe all of us agreed na dapat hindi ganun di ba? ‘Di dapat papatayin yung mga bata,” she said.

Asked if Sen. Villar will try to clarify the issue with the concerned colleagues, she said she will not even attempt to do so. “Sila ang magsabi sa akin bakit ako magtatanong sa kanila? I didn’t do anything. I’m not a part of this. I’m just saying that people told us to be careful because they’re going to destroy us. Maybe this is the beginning di ba? Of course will I allow myself to be destroyed by this? (Na)paka tanga ko naman,” she commented.

She reiterated her claims when she made her manifestation on the floor to air her sentiments on the issue, and even challenged them to prove her wrong. This, even as Sen. Aquino tried to pacify her and explain himself on the issue prior to the plenary session. “I just want to make a manifestation that I together with other senators were not asked to sign.

We did not refuse to sign. We were not asked to sign, okay? And I remember there were social media practitioners who told me before that I should be careful because certain members of this senate will try to destroy us. I kept quiet because I did not believe it.

Now, maybe this is the beginning of that warning so that is my manifestation,” she said on the floor. “I want to clarify Bam and Risa, they told me really that Bam Aquino and Risa Hontiveros will try to destroy us. I did not believe it. And then now, when I saw that blog I said maybe this is the beginning.

It did not come from me. Some media practitioners told me about it,” she reiterated. Sen. Sotto is not about to take the matter sitting down as he plans to file cyber libel cases against those behind the blog and sought an investigation by the Senate secretariat. His move earned the support of Sen. Manny Pacquiao and the Senate president. “I join the message of the majority leader as well as his outrage.

Just for the record, I’m against not only the killing of minors, but the killing of a Filipino or even of a foreigner. A killing is not justified. The request of the majority leader is now brought to the attention of the secretariat as well as the Senate legal counsel. Let us get to the bottom of this, find out who is or are behind this website of webpage so that the majority leader and all those similarly situated and interested in this matter can pursue their remedies under the law.

That is I think the main purpose,” Sen. Pimentel said. “I agree with the content of the resolution condemning the senseless killings.

I could have signed if I was given the opportunity to do so. But I was not one of the chosen few. I agree that this has to stop. I agree that there is an urgent need to investigate this matter,” Sen. Paquiao said in his manifestation. “Itong tao na ito, kung sino man yang nagpapanggap o kung matalino yan o educated yan eh bobo yan Mr. President. Pag nakita ko yan....Sa totoo lang dito sa balat ng lupa wala akong kinatatakutan, only God. Kahit barilin pa ako ng harap harapan. Pero ayoko yung nagtatago ng mukha...yung mga ganyan mga duwag eh. “Mahirap lang. If i’m not spiritually renewed Mr. President, ayoko ng bumalik sa dati kong buhay. Pinipilit kong magpakabait, gawin ang tama, sumunod sa Panginoon pero pag ganyan mga klaseng tao Mr. President hindi ako magdadalawang isip para...,” Sen. Pacquiao said.

Sen. Pangilinan confirmed Sen. Legarda’s claims but explained that it’s not something new that some senators would not be made co-authors on some of their filed resolutions. “The need to reroute to everyone is not covered by our rules.

Decision to file measure, as long as we have majority then that would be fine. The problem came out when social media decided to angle it that way. Fake news, vicious material are printed and uploaded on internet. Support investigation of fake news.

If other senators felt there was an attempt not to include them, we did not intentionally mean to exclude anyone. I had to leave early. I thought it best that since x-number of senators have signed, since not yet adopted, other senators could be co-authors, I decided to go ahead and file it. No intention to single out any senator. “Also I’d like to apologize if some of colleagues felt that I should have taken the extra mile and had them sign the resolution.

I have no control over what social media decide to control. No role of uploading of this unacceptable material,” Pangilinan said. In an apparent retaliatory move, member of the majority bloc also “excluded” their colleagues from the minority in filing their resolution, their “version” on the one initiated by opposition members that left out seven of them from being co-authors.

Penned by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Resolution No. 518 was filed that same day “condemning in the strongest sense the extrajudicial killings and calling on the government to exert the exhaust all efforts to stop and resolve these unresolved killings.” Except for Sen. Joel Villanueva, the 16 other members of the majority bloc stood as co-authors. “The Senate is against the violent death of every Filipino, and will seek justice for its victims,” said Sen. Pimentel.

The figure came from the Philippine Information Agency, which reported that as of June 16, 2017, a total of 12,833 homicide cases, 2,098 of which are drug-related, 2,535 are non-drug related, and 8,200 are still under investigation.

The resolution named Kian Lloyd Delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz, and Reynaldo De Guzman as cases of extrajudicial killings which alarmed the nation and sparked public outrage.

In addition, the cases of Leo Sarmiento, Raymart Siapo, and Roman Manaois were mentioned in the resolution. The senators, through the resolution, called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies to implement the law and conduct operations in accordance with the Constitution and existing laws.

Pimentel said, “The Philippines is a civilized democratic society that will not tolerate unresolved killings. The police must do its job and solve these crimes.” “Let it be known that the Senate, as the bastion of democracy, will not surrender its duty to protect and defend the human rights of every Filipino,” he said.

While there had been several instances where senators from the minority and majority bloc found have been at odds with each other on the floor, during Senate hearings, upper chamber observers noted that the delineation of who’s anti or pro administration has become more obvious.

Minority Leader and Aangat Tayo Partylist Rep. Neil Abayon proposed the strict implementation of the Revised Anti Hazing Bill once it becomes a law. He also gave the following recommendations to add teeth to the proposed law:

1. Public posting and disclosure in social media sites like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts of the schools or barangays the announcement or application for initiation rites of a fraternity or sorority and other organizations.

   Posting in school bulletin boards or barangays such initiation rites are simply not enough but better on social media.

2. Include in the list of the organization covered by the Anti- Hazing Bill so-called sports teams.

3. Impose stiffer penalties to those involved in hazing such as:

   a) permanent disqualification from holding public office;

   b) permanent loss of voting righters and

   c) permanent prohibition on issuance or grant of license to possess firearms and ammunitions or parts thereof.

The Revised Anti-Hazing Bill has passed the House Justice Committee and is slated for plenary in the House of Representatives.

The $13-billion contact center industry of the Philippines is preparing to leap to customer experience delivery to ensure its lead in the global contact center market.

This according to a survey done by Everest Group entitled “Philippines at the Helm of Delivering Customer Experience of the Future” that will be presented as highlight in the upcoming Contact Islands, an annual industry conference organized by the Contact Center Association of the Philippines on October 11-12 at Shangila Boracacy Resort & Spa in Caticlan.

The shift in focus from customer service to customer experience will usher in significant changes in the requirements imposed on local contact centers by international business partners. The presentation will tackle the factors that are driving the shift in role of contact centers and the status of local service providers in responding to clients’ new requirements. The research also covers alignment of local talent acquisition strategies and provides recommendations on how contact centers could effectively deliver customer experience required from them.

Retaining leadership “The Philippines has always been a leader when it comes to customer satisfaction,” said CCAP President Jojo Uligan. “We want to make sure that we keep that leading edge position globally as we transform customer experience using all digital tools.” Currently, the Philippines remains as among the top nations where contact center services are outsourced.

Based on industry data, the country’s contact center industry currently employs more than 800,000 professionals with revenues hitting US$11 to 13 billion in 2016, and it is still poised to keep a steady growth rate of about 8% in the next few years.

Everest Group has found that Philippine-based contact centers exhibit high level of readiness to shift to customer experience. Thus, the country is expected to further cement its position as a preferred go-to location for non-voice jobs for existing and new contracts. Customer experience delivery

The research firm recommends an upgrade of the skillset of local contact centers’ workforce to meet requirements of customer-experience focused businesses. Aside from the basic task of resolving customers’ queries, the agents should develop additional important skills like handling chat and social media interactions, using technology solutions like analytics platforms and bots, addressing domain-specific inquiries, and fully understanding customers.

Additionally, local contact should also adopt new recruitment and training strategies to ensure that their agents would be capable of meeting the updated challenges of operations. Target hiring must gradually replace traditional schemes like on-campus recruitments, job fairs, and walk-in interviews. Classroom-based scheduled must also give way to online and experiential learning sessions.

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