As a super typhoon prepares to lash the Philippines this week--the third time in a month--I ask for the indulgence of those who regularly check out this blog as I write about a topic related to the recent floods once again.
One issue that has received considerable attention in the media in the last few days is about cars that were submerged and damaged at the height of the storms. This is understandable since cars are expensive possessions that are often considered lifetime investments by most Filipinos.
According to reports, thousands of flood-hit vehicles are now awaiting their turn to be fixed in repair shops. I know a friend whose car was inundated while parked in the basement of her condominium. She said she'll be lucky if she can get her unit within a year.
The biggest headache of the owners is the busted ECU, or engine control unit, of their cars. The ECU, commonly known as computer box, is the central system that controls the electrical components of automobiles. The problem is there's now acute shortage of ECUs in the market, brand new or second-hand. And even if there are units available, the cost is pretty high with prices ranging from 15,000 pesos to 100,000 pesos.
But since I'm not a motoring journalist, I'll stop at this point and just talk about another form of computer box--the personal computers. Not a lot stories have been written about it, but a huge number of PCs were also rendered useless when rampaging waters swamped homes, Internet cafes, and schools.
Unlike cars, PCs are not covered by insurance. The units were considered as trash as soon as it went underwater. This was very unfortunate, especially for the public schools who acquired them through donations.
My colleague, Jing Garcia of The Manila Times, wrote a column on how to save flood-damaged electrical products, but I guess they're applicable only to gadgets and not PCs, which have very porous materials.
I've also heard that many PC distributors were also severely affected when flood waters swamped their warehouses that were located in the eastern side of Metro Manila. But, of course, they can always send these products back to their manufacturers or just treat them as part of their financial loss.
The hardest hit, I believe, are the public schools that don't have the resources to replace their PCs as soon as possible. Perhaps, the IT industry could help them rebuild their labs. By doing so, they might be doing themselves a favor because they stand to benefit from the workforce that will be churned out by these schools in the future.
Mari Litonjua, the former marketing director of Motorola Philippines, has resumed his career in the technology industry. He is now the head òf the broadband, data and landline business of mobile operator, Globe Telecom.
Litonjua's former boss at Motorola Philippines, Arlene Amarante, has also been appointed the new sales director of Yahoo Philippines. She was previously the country sales manager of MSN Philippines from 2007 to 2009. Her appointment follows that of Jack Madrid, who was named general manager for Yahoo Philippines in August.
John Bessey, originally from the UK but now proclaims himself a proud New Zealander, has formally assumed his role as the new managing director of Microsoft Philippines.
Meanwhile, Erick Olavides, one of the employees who availed of the Voluntary Separation Program of Microsoft Philippines, is now with Oracle Philippines as its new channel sales manager for commercial segment.