If not for the widely publicized hostage-taking incident involving Hong Kong tourists here last August, the Philippines would have been in celebratory mood for achieving a "scintillating" 7.9 percent growth in the second quarter of 2010, from just 1.
ZDNet's Philippine bloggers, Melvin G. Calimag and Joel D. Pinaroc, discuss key ICT developments in their country
Joel D. Pinaroc
Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.
Melvin G. Calimag
Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Association.
About four weeks ago, during the time when Philippine Airlines (PAL) was hogging the headlines after a huge number of its pilots deserted the carrier for other airlines, I was notified via e-mail of a discounted miles promo being offered to the company's frequent flyer members.I was attracted instantly by the offer since the package gave out selected foreign trips at 70 percent lower than their usual mileage requirements.
After appointing a new chair for the CICT (Commission on Information and Communications Technology), the country's new president, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, appears ready to pump new life to the local economy, particularly the IT and BPO sector.The selection of technology lawyer Ivan Uy as the new CICT chief has been warmly received by the ICT community--an indication that the government and private sector can work in unison over the next few years.
With the formal assumption of power of the new administration, the guessing game has started concerning the fate of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT).So, while industry observers are anticipating the appointment of its next chair, they are also keenly awaiting to find out whether newly elected President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino would retain the agency or not.
Last week, a group called AGHAM (which means science in Filipino) was proclaimed as one of the party-list winners in the recently concluded elections. The group got 241,898 votes, enough to secure a single seat in Congress.
Aside from the hotly contested battles among the candidates, the recently held automated elections here in the Philippines also featured an interesting sidelight: the ridiculous "hologram" war between the top television networks GMA7 and ABS-CBN during their equally intense poll coverage.It was, in my view, a classic case of using technology for technology's sake.
Nope, I'm not talking about a dictator who's just been booted out or the end of some civil war. I'm referring to the recently concluded automated elections here, marking the first time in the history of the Philippines that we've used a machine to read and count our votes.
In the 2005 movie "Chicken Little", the main character was sternly ridiculed for unwittingly causing panic by proclaiming to his town-mates that the "sky was falling". While it turned out that there was indeed some basis for his warning, the end of the world didn't happen as he had initially feared.
About two weeks ago, I attended a conference organized by the Information Systems Security Society of the Philippines (ISSSP). It was an illuminating event for me as IT security executives battled wits with election experts such as former Comelec (Commission on Elections) Chairman Christian Monsod.
By now, everybody in the Philippine business community, particularly in the IT sector, has already heard and aired their own opinions on the plagiarism controversy that had embroiled Manny V. Pangilinan, the powerful chairman and CEO of dominant carrier PLDT.
Now that the country's first automated elections is just five weeks away, the campaign season has gone on a hyperdrive with jaded voters being bombarded with all sorts of ridiculous propaganda.But, with most of the leading candidates already having exhausted the TV airtime allowed by the Fair Elections Act, the political battle among the bitter rivals is moving to the Internet where the online crowd--particularly in Facebook--is converging in the millions.
Does the Philippines have too many lawyers and not enough scientists? This seems to be the common perception in this country where hotshot legal eagles are treated like rock stars, while scientists are mostly ignored and relegated in the dark corners of their laboratories.
Filipinos are again over the moon with the masterful performance of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in yesterday's bout against Ghana native Joshua Clottey. This guy never ceases to give his hard-up countrymen a reason to cheer every time he fights gallantly in the ring.
Despite the fact that the IT and e-services sector contributes billions of revenues to the local economy--the semiconductor sub-sector is still the largest export earner for the country--I have yet to hear anyone from the current crop of presidential candidates for this year's national elections talk about their actual plans for this vital industry.
Last Tuesday, I found myself in the Senate to witness the fate of two ICT-related measures--the bill creating the Department of ICT (DICT) and the proposed cybercrime law--just a couple of days before the chamber formally adjourned for the elections.It has been a long time since I last set foot on that building along Manila Bay.
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