Our country’s hope
(The Philippine Star) - August 24, 2014 - 12:00am

I make it a habit to read the classified ads sections of the top three dailies just to find out which sectors are employing the most.

It is still hands down the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector that is the answer to the prayers of unexperienced college graduates, unemployed graduates, as well as the underemployed – which includes doctors, lawyers, and nurses who serve as medical and legal transcriptionists because of the financial rewards.

Second in the list of top employers are of course the job placement agencies looking for skilled workers to be deployed abroad.

Going back to the BPOs.

Just recently, real estate consultancy firm Colliers International announced that more than 480,000 square meters of office space is expected to be delivered within Metro Manila in 2014, one of the highest in recent years.

According to Julius Guevara, director of research and advisory services, the expanding operations of BPO companies in the country has caused the uptick in office supply.

He says that if the completions are on track, then this year will mark the highest delivery of office space in recent years, even eclipsing 2009 levels.

In its recent study, Colliers noted that because of cost considerations by BPO companies, developers have responded by building office projects outside the Makati CBD. During the second quarter, five office buildings were completed in Fort Bonifacio, Ortigas Center, and Quezon City. The recently completed buildings were: RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center in Fort Bonifacio, Cyberscape Alpha and Beta and Marco Polo Manila in Ortigas, and SM Cyber West Avenue in Quezon City.

As a result of the strong demand, office rental growth has increased. In the Makati CBD, office rates went up three to four percent for Premium and Grade A buildings, and nine percent for Grade B buildings. Fort Bonifacio and Ortigas lease rates grew between 2.5 and three percent.

The report added that despite the faster rental growth this quarter, Manila remains the least expensive capital city in the Asia Pacific to occupy prime office space at an average rent of $22 per sq m per month. Hong Kong commands the highest rents in the region, at $103 per sqm per month.

This is good. The continued growth in the BPO sector is spurring the growth of allied as well as non-allied sectors, such as the real estate and construction sectors.

The BPO and real estate sectors have sustained our economy far longer than expected. Let us hope that the bubble doesn’t burst yet. With foreign direct investments still not coming in, these two sectors remain our only hope to provide much-needed employment.

Online shopaholic

I just received an e-mail inviting me to participate in the first online shopathon event in the country.

It is actually a seven-day thematic online shopping event dedicated to promoting registered e-merchants, and providing shoppers with “the latest and greatest deals.”

I confess that I am  certified e-shopaholic. I cannot survive the day without looking at the latest deals offered by a number of e-merchants such as CashCashPinoy, Metrodeal, Lazada, Zalora, Deal Grocer, TCAT Philippines, to name a few. I derive pleasure in being able to shop at the click of a button, in finding good deals such as hard-to-find items that give me the best value for my money, in being able to do my Christmas shopping as early as January by waiting for sale items to be sold online.

Despite being an e-shopaholic though, I do not pay using my credit card.  Instead, I deposit the payment over-the-counter, which I believe is a safer option.

With the proliferation of e-merchants, I suggest for those who want to try this mode of shopping to try buying a few cheap items and to pay through the banking system. This way, if the merchant is fly by night, or the item is not as advertised, then it will not be as traumatic as when you purchase thousands of pesos worth of trash.

For comments, e-mail at philstarhiddenagenda@yahoo.com

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