Franchisee of US-based firm provides jobs to poor Filipinos
Despite heading a business which he described as “not lucrative,” Edilberto Bravo, president and chief executive of essential services provider Facilities Managers, Inc. (FMI), said what keeps him happy is the fact that he is able to provide jobs for his fellow Filipinos, especially those from marginalized communities.
“[In this business], if I make 2 to 3 percent net income, I’m supposed to be happy. But it fills my heart to know that [our employees] have incomes that can feed their families,” said Bravo at a recent press conference in Makati City, wherein he and other FMI officials announced the celebration of the company’s 20th anniversary.
“In the Philippines, the poorest farmer will work hard to send their children to college, but many only make it to high school. Our requirement [in FMI] is only a high school diploma, just so they can read and be able to communicate. That is what makes me happy about this business,” Bravo added.
FMI was established in October 1996 as the master franchisee of The Servicemaster Company USA, one of the US’ leading companies in the restoration and cleaning industry.
Their first batch of clients for janitorial and maintenance services included Solid Bank, Asia United Bank, Capitol Development Bank, ITT-Goulds and Ayala Life FGU.
The company’s other clients include University of Asia and the Pacific, Land Bank of the Philippines, Chevron, Nestlé, Insular Life, US Embassy, Convergys, Texas Instruments, and some members of the Philippine Hospital Association, Inc. (PHAI).
To further grow FMI, Bravo said the company was looking into more overseas placements, especially for graduates of the UBIX Institute of Technology, the company’s educational institution which offers both baccalaureate and technical-vocational courses.
“We are looking at overseas placements because we feel that if we rely entirely on the domestic market for facilities management, the growth won’t be as strong as in the last 20 years. In the last 15 years, from both our vocational school and college, we have graduated around 10,000 workers. Of these, around 5,000 are here [with FMI] in the Philippines, about 6 percent are overseas, and the rest have left us to pursue better advancement in other companies,” said Bravo.
While the Philippines’ biggest markets for service workers are still Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, Bravo said he is currently trying to set up partnerships in Japan as the country is highly in need of skilled workers because of the upcoming 2020 Olympics, particularly construction workers, hotel staff, housekeepers and groundskeepers.
“We are projecting that beginning 2017, we should be able to add probably between 500 to 1,000 workers for the Japanese market,” said Bravo.
And with 20 years of experience of shaping the best people in the service industry, Bravo is positive that his fellow Filipinos’ strong work ethic will land them the jobs they deserve abroad.
“Filipinos like to care for people. If you go to England, and you are Filipino, [the Filipino staff] will ask what your room is, and they will bring to your room so many apples, sausages—you don’t even have to ask for it! That’s how good Filipinos are in pleasing people. They do well because they love to serve,” Bravo said.