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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Developments within SWU

ASIDE from improving the quality of education in Southwestern University, listed company Phinma Corp. is also poised to erect new developments within the university.

The group’s property arm, Phinma Property Holdings Corp. (Phinma Properties), is scheduled to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Cebu City Government for the development of community housing in Sitio Pailob, Barangay Sambog Dos on Urgello St. before the end of the year.

Roberto Laviña, president and chief executive officer of Phinma Properties, yesterday said that the company will replicate its socialized housing program in Cebu starting off with the nearby communities of its newly-acquired Southwestern University, now known as Southwestern University-Phinma.

Laviña said the group owns a one hectare property in Sitio Pailob, currently occupied by 160 informal settlers. Instead of asking the families to leave, the group, Laviña said, will embark on an on-site relocation program and erect a five-storey medium rise building that will have 198-room units for the affected informal settler families.

George Richard Siton, vice president for socialized housing division of Phinma Properties, said the idea of the onsite relocation is for these informal settlers to now own a condominium unit at an affordable rate and at the same time keep within the area where their livelihood is. He added that these families will also be given other interventions such as livelihood trainings to make them productive communities.

This in-city housing project will sit on a 3,000-square meter area of the property while the 7,000 square meters will be used for commercial development.

Phinma Properties, according to Laviña, also intends to build a business process outsourcing (BPO) tower with dormitory units for students on top and a commercial component at the ground floor of the building.

The dormitory, which will be exclusive for Southwestern-Phinma students, will have 560 rooms or a total of 2,160 beds.

Phinma Properties will allot P400 million for the onsite relocation project while P2 billion is set aside for the development of the BPO tower and dormitory. The onsite relocation project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017 while completion of the BPO building and dormitory is slated for 2018.

“This housing project will then be the first onsite relocation project in a privately owned property in Cebu,” said Siton.

Phinma Properties has two existing in-city mass housing projects in Quezon City and Bacoor City, called Bisketville II and Strikeville IV, respectively.

The establishment of the BPO building and the dormitory is envisioned to boost the current program for students working as part-time call center agents to complete their college degree.

Last July 2015, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña worked with Southwestern University and several call centers to pioneer a program to let qualified students earn up to P8,000 per month part-time.

Aside from the community housing and BPO-dormitory building, the company is also eyeing to build three mid-income condominium towers in the long term. This project, according to Laviña, is still under the planning phase.

The Phinma Group inaugurated yesterday the main building renovation of the university.

The company, in previous reports, announced it has set aside P400 million in the next three years for the renovation of the school buildings, a hospital, and for purchase of new equipment.

Phinma Education president and chief executive officer Chito Salazar said the university’s goal is to be the number one school in the Visayas-Mindanao in the field medicine, health and science programs.

The upgrade of the main building, which houses medical courses, laboratories, university library, and other facilities, is expected to be completed by July 2018.

The group will also expand the Southwestern Medical Center (Sacred Heart Hospital) from 110 to 190 beds. The renovation of the hospital is scheduled in December this year.

Phinma Corp. acquired Southwestern University for P1.9 billion in April 2015.

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