SWU-Phinma owner eyes P2-B call center-dorm building
Call center companies near the school campus with students working as part-time agents will become a reality when plans to construct a mid-rise call center-dormitory building near the Southwestern University-Phinma (SWU-Phinma) campus will push through.
The P2-billion mid-rise building will soon rise on a one-hectare property owned by Southwestern University in Sitio Pailob, Barangay Sambag I in Cebu City by 2018, said Roberto Laviña, president and chief executive officer of Phinma Properties, in a press briefing yesterday.
The property is at least a kilometer away from the SWU-Phinma campus in Urgello St., Cebu City.
Phinma Properties is a subsidiary of conglomerate Phinma Corp., which owns SWU-Phinma.
“The BPOs (business process outsourcing companies) have a very large demand for agents. We have students who can be agents, but they are only available to work part-time,” he said at the sidelines of the inauguration of the Southwestern University-Phinma’s (SWU) main building on Wednesday.
He said the call centers and several commercial spaces would be at the building’s lower floors while the upper floors would be for the dormitory.
Laviña said the dormitory, which would be exclusive for SWU-Phinma students, would have 560 rooms that could accommodate 2,160 beds.
The call center building will address the concerns of commuting from their home to the workplace for students who will work as call center agents.
“If you live and work in the same building, you don’t need transportation. After three to four hours of work, you can go back to study. Because it’s so close to the campus, you can easily go from work to school or to your house,” said Laviña.
SWU-Phinma, which was rebranded after Phinma Corp. bought it from the Aznar family for P1.9 billion in April 2015, presently has 10,000 students enrolled.
The call center industry in Metro Cebu employs around 120,000 call center agents with a capacity to hire 50,000 more.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who was one of the speakers during the inauguration of the SWU-Phinma main building, said that he was also pushing for call center within the university campus.
Before he was reelected mayor this year, Osmeña previously worked with SWU to employ students as part-time call center agents for Supportsave. The university provided shuttles to take their students to their workplace, where they took calls for four hours a day and earned around P6,800 a month.
Osmeña said he would be maximizing this scheme under the present city administration and would encourage the university to come up with programs that would allow call center agents to earn their bachelor’s or even master’s degree.
Mayor Osmeña said he envisions Cebu City to produce 5,000 MBA graduates every year, eventually beating Manila and even Hongkong or Singapore.
Laviña said that they would start the construction of the call center-dormitory building once the families that would be displaced would be relocated.
Phinma has set aside 3,000 square meters out of the one hectare property to serve as an on-site resettlement, estimated to cost P100 million, for at least 160 families and 30 more around the outskirts of the property.
Laviña said they were hoping to be done with the relocation of the displaced families by next year and to start construction of the project by next year.
He said that they planned to build two mid-rise buildings with a total of 198 units on one side of the property, freeing the area to allow the construction of a call center-dormitory on another side of the property.
During yesterday’s inauguration of the SWU-Phinma main building along Urgello St. in Cebu City, Chito Salazar, Phinma Education president and chief executive officer, said that the school would undergo major changes in the next three years to improve its medicine and health science programs.
Salazar said that they were envisioning the university to be No. 1 in the Visayas and Mindanao in terms of these program offerings.
“As such, most of our investments are going into facilities and the training of our health science faculty,” Salazar said in a speech during the inauguration.
He said the renovated building, which is expected to be done by July 2018, would house the university’s medical school.
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