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POLO eyes moving to Wanchai by October

21 August 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office will soon be moving out of Admiralty, and could end up in nearby Wanchai when its current lease expires in October.

This was disclosed by Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre, who told The SUN on Aug. 7 that the rents for two Wanchai properties they are eyeing are nearly half of what they expect to pay if they renew the lease for their current office in Admiralty Centre.

“May nakita na kaming dalawa. One is 14,000 square feet, which is good because we can have more trainings, Filcom meetings, etc,” Labatt Dela Torre said. The other property has a floor area of 10,000 sq ft, he said.

He identified the properties as Easton Tower on Gloucester Road near the Immigration Department’s headquarters; and Sunlight Tower near the Hopewell Centre on Queen’s Road East.

The monthly rent for the 14,000 sq ft property is said to be $32 per sq ft, which would mean POLO paying $448,000 monthly, nearly the same as what it is paying currently for its Admiralty offices.

However, prices in Admiralty Centre are expected to rise to $58 per sq ft, which would mean a monthly rental of twice the asking rate for the Wanchai offices.

But apart from the rent, the building’s strict management practice seen by many as unfriendly to Filipinos, is prompting the move. “Pinapaalis (na) kami rito,” Labatt Dela Torre said.

In June, dela Torre said POLO would move to nearby Lippo Centre where he found an office space that was being offered for $40 per sq ft a month, but the property was eventually leased to another tenant.

Before Lippo, he also tried to negotiate a move back to United Centre where the Consulate is, but the whole-floor unit he saw was due to be vacated last May, and the landlord wanted POLO to move in immediately after. Labatt backed out as that would have meant POLO forfeiting its deposit for the Admiralty Centre office, or paying for two premises from May to October.

With just two months left on its current lease, POLO is hard-pressed to find a new place  not far from the Consulate. and within its budget.

Previously, POLO occupied three rooms at the Consulate rent-free under the “one country, one team” principle.

But on the recommendation of the previous labor attaché Manuel Roldan, POLO opted to move to its own offices in Admiralty Centre, where it is currently paying a monthly rent of close to $500,000.

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