Monthly Archives: October 2014

Build a new countryside with a new industry

This is a great idea to develop a new industry to build a new countryside damaged by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The Philippine does not have a dairy industry to support its needs. The people is the areas proposed need a sustainable means of livelihood to get out and start life anew after the damage caused by the typhoon. And one of the hidden benefits is you reduce the level of high poverty present in these areas. Let’s see how we can support this initiative.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

October 06, 2014

‘Milking’ the Yolanda situation

ELEVEN MONTHS AFTER typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), many of the foreign groups that helped in relief operations have gone back to their countries or are winding down.

The next phase is rehabilitation and rebuilding. This is the bigger challenge and will take some years to accomplish. The government body tasked with the rehabilitation has finally submitted a plan on what needs to be done, although it still needs final approval. It was reported that P170.9 billion is needed. With the rehabilitation phase ongoing, I hope we take advantage of this time to really figure out what it takes to develop (not just rebuild) Region VIII.

Prior to Yolanda, this region that is home to six provinces on the islands of Biliran, Leyte and Samar is the second poorest in the country. Poverty is a major reason the New People’s Army (NPA) is still strong in the region. Since Yolanda, poverty in the region definitely has worsened. A lot more needs to be done than just rehabilitation and rebuilding. It’s not just a question of putting back what was there before.

The big challenge for all, not just the government but also foreign aid groups, NGOs and the business sector, is how to develop this region that I refer to as BILESA. BIliran, LEyte and SAmar are the major islands comprising the region.

What industry can be developed to generate income for the people given the natural resource endowments of this region? I mentioned industry, not industries, to give focus on talent and resources for a possible big winner.

Coconut is a major product of BILESA, and as we have seen all over the Philippines, areas dependent on coconut are poor. Likewise, rice and fishing, the other major industries in the region, definitely are not poverty-busting industries.

Last summer, I went to Tacloban, my third visit since Yolanda. On the plane, my thoughts then were focused on how we can provide forage to our farm animals in our MFI Farm Business School in Jala-Jala, Rizal. Grass was not growing because of lack of water; ground was even cracking because of the heat. When the plane was over the island of Leyte, I peered out the window and saw that the mountains and plains were green. This was a stark contrast to Luzon and the other parts of the country that were just brown.

Bingo! Why not promote the dairy industry in BILESA? The country imports close to 98% of our milk and milk product requirements annually and this runs to several billions of pesos that we pay dairy farmers in New Zealand, the United States, and other parts of the world.

Can this be done in a tropical country? That was the question asked in Thailand before. Now, they produce a good part of their domestic requirements. Genetics, feed technology, and good cultural practices have proven that dairy farming is not the exclusive domain of temperate countries.

Here in the Philippines, I have visited dairy farms in Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, and Isabela. Milk can be produced in these areas and farmers make good money! By the way, with only one exception (owned by a corporation), these farms are owned and operated as family farms or as a cooperative. I think we have enough experience and expertise, such that dairy farming can now be promoted as an industry in the country. Given the resources that can be marshaled, why not start it in BILESA?

With a lot of money being poured into the rehabilitation program, a serious plan should be made by the government and private groups to make dairy farming an industry in BILESA. This should lead later on to a dairy industry with all the support facilities made available, like chillers and milk processing plants serving a cluster of barangays.

One model that can be looked into is the project of Heifer International, an NGO based in the US but with operations in the country. In their program, farming families attend seminars, after which they are given animals (cows, carabaos or goats) that are already pregnant. In these seminars, prospective beneficiaries are given values formation and how to take care of the animals.

The other model is what the Philippine Dairy Authority is doing. I have visited their farmer cooperators in Lipa. They have their own milk storage facility right in the barangay, and the buyer (a cooperative that has a dairy processing facility) picks up the milk that is chilled on a regular basis.

A cooperative in Quezon supplies fresh milk to known coffee shops, and dairy farming is done as a coconut “intercrop.” The free range cows “grown” under coconut trees provide free fertilizers and make the coconuts more productive. It’s also a good example of a coconut farming system that earns farmers much more than just the copra.

I truly believe, because I have seen them, that the dairy (cows, carabaos and goats) can be a poverty-busting industry if given proper support in BILESA. It might just be the answer to eradicating poverty in that region. This will also save the country billions of pesos spent importing milk and other dairy products.

Leyte and Samar today still have the most active NPA-influenced areas. Maybe with the introduction of a white revolution (the dairy industry), it may also save a lot of lives lost due to the red revolution.

Jose Rene C. Gayo is a member of the MAP Agribusiness and Countryside Development Committee and project manager of MAP’s Farm Business Schools project. He is also dean of the MFI Farm Business School.

map@map.org.ph

renegayo@gmail.com

http://map.org.ph

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=‘Milking’ the Yolanda situation&id=95625

This is an issue of Trust and Confidence

In Australia, the land title to my home is in electronic form which I can only access by going to the local title office. I never had a manual printed version. But old titles still exist in Australia for some properties first owned when it was a British colony. In the Philippines, the switch to an electronic title would spell the end of fictitious or fake titles that is a common danger in buying a property. But if you are a property owner with a printed title converting to an electronic version should be no brainer too. However, that is assuming there is a high level of trust and confidence that the Philippine titles office (Land Registration Authority) will do a good job as its custodian. It may require some convincing that it does a good job if this is to happen.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

October 05, 2014

Electronic land titles to ‘deactivate’ print versions

ONCE DIGITIZED, manually issued land titles and deeds will be rendered “deactivated” and obsolete, the Philippine government said, announcing a move to encourage conversion to electronic copies.

However, the scheme will cover only “voluntary transactions,” the Land Registration Authority (LRA) said in a newspaper bulletin posted Friday last week. The bulletin announced the implementing guidelines of the Voluntary Title Standardization Program — through Circular No. 16-2014 — under its Land Titling Computerization Project.

In its implementing rules, the LRA said the manually issued document would only be converted to an electronic copy when the owner surrenders his duplicate copy to the registry. Upon conversion, the manually issued title shall be deemed deactivated.

“Henceforth, all succeeding transactions pertaining thereto shall be processed using the resulting eTitle,” the LRA said.

It also said that all pertinent data found in the manually issued title shall be encoded, including annotations.

“All annotations, whether subsisting or canceled, on the manually issued title subject of the transaction, shall be copied en toto on the draft eTitle,” the LRA added.

The encoded data shall then be examined and upon finding that the same are complete, the eTitle shall be transmitted to the head of the Registry of Deeds, in accordance with existing LRA policies.

If the voluntary transaction is approved, the documents shall be stamped and signed by the Registry of Deeds to testify its authenticity.

But once the transaction is denied, a notice of denial will be issued to the client. Within five days, the client may withdraw the documents, appeal the denial, and reapply for the conversion of his title to an electronic copy.

The computerized system of converting the titles into electronic copies were initially pilot-tested in the Registries of Deeds (RDs) in the cities of Cebu, Toledo, Lapu-Lapu, and Danao, in Cebu province.

Some 114 Registries of Deeds nationwide use the computerized system of converting the titles into electronic copies.

The said scheme, which is part of the LRA’s greater mandate to fully digitize its records, is aimed at providing the public the security of their land titles, and protection form loss due to fire, theft, natural disasters, and “normal ravages of time.”

“The project seeks to maintain the security and integrity of records by safeguarding these titles from tampering or destruction and deter substitution or insertion of questionable data, and ensure the integrity of the land titling registration system by moving from a largely paper-based to a largely paperless system,” the LRA said in the circular. — Reden D. Madrid

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=Electronic land titles to ‘deactivate’ print versions&id=95570

Philippine Bill to kill mobile handset theft

Here’s a bill in the Philippine Congress that’s no brainer. I assume the software needed to disable mobile handsets already exists in all mobile hansets. In Australia, telco providers can block the use of a stolen or lost mobile handset by using the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code for this purpose. Let’s hope this bill becomes a law as soon as possible to help end the rampant theft of mobile handsets.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

October 05, 2014

Gov’t backs bill that will make stolen mobile phones useless

THE PHILIPPINES has backed proposed legislation that requires mobile phone companies to install software that will disable stolen handhelds.

Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima said there are no legal or constitutional objections to House Bill (HB) No. 4511 and House Resolution No. 93, which is currently pending at the House of Representatives.

The proposed bill requires all network service providers to pre-install “kill switch” software on all cellphones, which would erase all saved data and disable stolen phones.

“… [T]he proposed bill as this is within the purview of what is embodied in Article II on the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, of the 1987 Constitution, particularly Section 5 thereof, which promotes the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, the promotion of the general welfare being essential for the enjoyment of all the people,” Ms. De Lima said in a legal opinion, in response to a letter from Rizal Rep. Joel Roy R. Duavit (1st district), chairman of the House committee on information and communications technology.

HB No. 4511 or “An Act Requiring All Cellphone Network Service Providers to Equip All Mobile Phones They Provide to Postpaid Users With a ‘Kill-Switch’ Software to Enhance Security and Privacy of Their Customers,” is authored by Ang Mata’y Alagaan party-list Rep. Lorna Q. Velasco.

In the bill’s explanatory note, Ms. Velasco said that the bill, once enacted, would help address security and privacy concerns that arise from cellphone theft.

“The large number of cellphones, unfortunately, gives rise to high incidents of crime involving theft and robbery. These criminal acts not only endanger the physical safety of victims but also compromise the security of the personal and private information stored in the stolen devices’ memories.”

Ms. De Lima also welcomed the bill, saying that such “safety mechanism ensures that data or information contained in the mobile phones of the owners whose units were stolen are protected from being used by unscrupulous individuals.”

In the proposed bill, the software to be installed will allow network service providers to remotely and permanently disable the cellphone, by erasing all data and private information in cellphones reported to be stolen.

Such actions would then render the device “useless for future use.”

The remote disabling of the mobile phone unit will only be upon the request of the subscriber after proper verification.

Ms. De Lima, however, said the DoJ has some reservations as to the method of installing the software.

“This Department has reservations as to the method of pre-installing the ‘kill switch’ software considering that ‘hackers’ may be able to gain access on the ‘kill message’ that would be installed in these mobile phones,” she said.

Meanwhile, House Resolution No. 93 or “A Resolution Urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Telecommunication Service Providers To Look Into The Feasibility of Enforcing A “Kill Switch” For Mobile Phones And Other Devices In Order To Improve The Current Procedure of Disabling Stolen, Lost Or Missing Mobile Phones To Prevent Mobile Phone Theft And Other Devices” was introduced by Ako Bicol party-list group Rep. Christopher S. Co and Joel M. Batocabe.

Ms. De Lima said there is no legal objection to the proposal and called on the NTC to conduct an in-depth study as to the feasibility of the proposed scheme.

INSURANCE FOR MOBILE PHONES
Secretary De Lima has also expressed support for another House bill which seeks to require mobile service providers to offer mobile phone insurance to cut costs that consumers bear when they lose their mobile phones, which also includes tablets.

HB No. 4303 or “An Act Mandating Mobile Phone Network Service Providers to Offer Insurance for Mobile Phones” is authored by Parañaque Rep. Eric L. Olivarez.

Ms. De Lima, however, said that the bill “merely provides an option for the consumer to avail of the insurance policy.”

She also said that the DoJ has reservations with regard to the insurance claims process.

“The insurance companies may impose conditions that would prevent the consumers in making rightful claims,” she noted.

“We suggest that the appropriate measures be observed by both National Telecommunications Commission and Insurance Commission to ensure the objectives of this proposed bill be met,” she added.

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=Gov’t backs bill that will make stolen mobile phones useless&id=95575

BPO to KPO is the way to go for the Philippines

The Philippines can claim its biggest export is not semiconductors but its manpower. And even at home, the BPO industry is able to show its ability to be a growth sector largely on the back of the abundance of skilled and talented labour. Now, the country has to take it to the next level of economic development and get into Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). But the opportunity to do a lot more is possible only if an increased level of investment is spent on education in order to supply the needed highly level of knowledge and skills for KPO related work. Let’s see how we can help.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

October 05, 2014

The future of the Philippines’ KPO industry

IN recent years, the Philippines has shot to elite status in the global outsourcing stage, overtaking India specifically in the voice segment. The country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry began in the 1990s and has, since then, become a significant contributor to our export revenues and economic growth.

According to the Information Technology Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), our IT-BPO sector registered revenues of $15 billion in 2013, which was about 17% higher than the $13.2 billion generated in 2012. Overall, full-time employment at the end of 2013 reached 900,000 versus 777,000 from the previous year, and has already reached the one million mark in mid-2014, up 11% from 2013.

It is estimated that the IT-BPO industry’s revenues will increase by 16% to $18 billion in 2014, putting the industry on track to attain its 2016 target work force of 1.3 million and revenues of $25 billion.

IBPAP estimates that call center or voice operations make up two thirds of the industry, with the rest accounted for by software development and business services, among others. This projected growth is partly due to the increasing demand for BPO services from English-speaking industrialized countries such as the United States, Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Since most global companies are still focused on cost reduction and operational efficiency, it is expected that they will continue to tap our BPO providers for competitive labor costs and the huge pool of college-educated and English-speaking professionals. However, as these companies expand and strive to be more competitive, there has been a growing thrust for more value-added services. This demand may bring about the development of other non-voice services, in particular, Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO).

The KPO concept is reported to have gained prominence in India in the 1980s as technology increased the worldwide reach of multinationals. It saw wide acceptance in the early 2000s when global companies like General Electric set up captive research and analytics, and third-party knowledge services from offshore facilities in countries with knowledge capabilities. KPO is described as the outsourcing of core data-based business activities to another company, which plays an important part of a company’s value chain by providing highly specific expertise. Besides the cost savings, KPOs are also viewed as adding value. Some of the core processes served by the KPO sector include: market research, fraud analytics, equity research and investment banking, insurance and actuarial, engineering services, animation, web development, data integration, project management, remote education, research and development, radiology, medical transcript preparation and legal processes.

Unlike the traditional BPO, where the focus is on process expertise, KPO utilizes knowledge expertise. This requires service providers to possess advanced technical, interpretation, and analytical skills. It also requires more customized tools and a more predictive response modeling. In terms of talent, KPO firms need people with highly specialized skills, requiring superior educational qualifications and extensive training. For example, KPO services for the financial sector, such as insurance and banking, may require personnel who have acquired graduate degrees and certifications, such as being a Chartered Financial Analyst.

The KPO industry is highly prominent in India and Europe. Globally, it is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years. According to TechNavio’s analysts, the global KPO market will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 23.12% from 2013-2018. This is expected to be due to the demand from developed western economies, such as the US, UK and other European nations where the availability of highly trained and specialized professionals is diminishing. This is particularly true for knowledge-intensive sectors, such as engineering, IT, design and finance, among others.

In the Philippines, the “Philippine IT-BPO Roadmap 2016: Driving to Global Leadership” report commissioned by IBPAP notes that non-voice services are not yet as visible as the more mature BPO voice sector. At the beginning of 2014, local BPO industry analysts predicted that with favorable economic conditions for investment, we can expect further entry of higher-value KPO services. Our local BPO industry indicated a shift in the kind of outsourced services — from the usual contact center to more knowledge-intensive services the fields of IT, research, accounting and engineering. In fact, recent industry reports appear to validate this for the first half of 2014, indicating that non-voice BPO (which includes the KPO sector) is slowly catching up with the voice segment, with voice services dropping to around 60% from 65% of the Philippine outsourcing industry. In addition, the mid-2014 report from IBPAP showed that it is expecting non-voice services, including KPO and engineering services, to grow at about 20%. Some of the higher value KPO and finance and accounting outsourced services providers thriving in the Philippines today include Wells Fargo, Deutsche Knowledge Services, J.P. Morgan, AIG and Thomson Reuters, according to the 2014 report by Tholons, a strategic advisory firm for global outsourcing.

The question now is whether the Philippines can maintain this momentum and actually move up the value chain to become a top KPO destination. Future prospects seem bright, given our huge pool of educated professionals and with the Philippine Government now taking necessary steps to enhance its technology and infrastructure. What is needed now is for companies to identify the primary demand areas for knowledge-based services, and to strengthen capacity-building by focusing or training the available talent pool into areas of core specialization and competency.

Mariecris N. Barbaso is a Partner of SGV & Co.

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=The future of the Philippines’ KPO industry&id=95576

If only the economic measure was about jobs

I found this article intriguing as it starts with how the President directed the Tourism secretary on how he should measure his performance: the number of jobs generated. If only every other government department had a similar measure of success there would be different view of the kind of economic success the country is enjoying. Equally interesting too is the result of a 40% increase in tourists coming to the country despite the limitations to our infrastructure to serve their needs adequately.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

September 30, 2014

Making tourism growth inclusive

THE guideline from the President is clear, as he keeps reminding Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez, “Remember Mon, it is not about counting the number of Koreans coming out of the planes, it is about how many jobs we generate.”

Today, there are 4.7 million tourists directly employed by the tourism industry. Gross value added from the tourism industry in the Philippines is about 6% of GDP. Per the World Tourism Organization (WTO), international tourism grows at an average of 4-5% annually.

In the year 2010, there were 3.5 million international tourism arrivals into the Philippines. In 2013, this went up to 4.8 million, a growth of almost 40% in three years. This means, despite our infrastructure limitations, we are growing this industry faster than it is growing in the world.

Total Philippine revenues from tourism today amounts to $4.3 billion. Total direct employment from tourism is 4.7 million, or about one job generated per foreign tourist. The interesting thing, actually staggering, is that domestic tourism represents 70-80% of the local market for the tourism industry. Secretary Jimenez says in 2010, there were 22 million domestic tourists. By 2013, this had gone up to 44 million. This is expected to grow to at least 50 million by 2016.

The surge in domestic travel has been brought about, he says, by the new optimism in the country, the aggressiveness of the budget airlines (notably Cebu Pacific, says Island Souvenir’s Jay Aldeguer, despite its service quality shortcomings), and the rising propensity of the middle class to travel outside of their homes, to other towns and provinces. It is easy to conclude that the clogging of airports, seaports and roads are largely caused by the unprecedented increase (100% growth) in domestic travelers in the past three years. We just need to catch up.

There are three metrics for tracking success in tourism, says Secretary Jimenez:

• Inclusiveness (jobs and income generation for the poorer people and their communities): Tourism is generating employment where none existed before: in underground rivers, mountaintops, isolated caves, coves and islands. There are now butanding (whale shark) guides in Donsol, Sorsogon, an erstwhile sixth-class municipality that has been reclassified into first class because of the economic bonanza from butanding tourism. Around Mactan and neighboring islands, island-hopping in pumpboats has increased, and created new jobs for pumpboat operators and passenger aides.

One of the main complaints of travelers is our scarce and poorly maintained toilets. The DOT is testing a mini-PPP (public-private partnership) project near Kalibo, Aklan, jump-off point for Boracay. The DOT built a modern toilet, and awarded it to the poor family of Aling Gloria to maintain. They were given a little seed money, orientation and training, and allowed to charge P10 per user of the toilet.

Today, Aling Gloria’s family has an award for outstanding tourism services, and they have expanded to offering showers, also at P10 per user. The enterprise has pushed her family above the poverty line. The DOT will soon award maintenance contracts to all the toilets at the Luneta to indigent families.

• Arrivals: Malaysia has 22 million, Thailand 25-26 million. These countries each belong to a contiguous land mass. About half of Malaysia’s tourists actually come from Singapore who just have to cross the border by car. Nearly all foreign tourists arrive in the Philippines by air. Fortunately, the age of the budget airlines, notably Air Asia, has come. When the new Cebu airport terminal is built, it will be “a game changer,” says Jimenez. Many tourists will fly direct to Cebu, and bypass Manila. There will be literally two main gateways into the country.

• Revenues: Foreign tourists sleep at least one or two nights in the country. If you include the balikbayan, we average 8-9 days stay per foreign tourist arrival. Average spending per day per tourist is now $102, up from $90.

The DOT has moved from the branding phase (“More fun in the Philippines”) of the marketing campaign into the site-specific phase: Cebu (underwater sports and music), Davao (mountain climbing), Boracay (24/7 partying), etc. The third phase will focus on activities (bread making, cloth weaving, games, music, etc.) There is so much variety just within the country, there is enough reason to stay longer because there is much more to see and do, says Jimenez.

The Bohol case is an example of how to do it. It was propelled originally by the late Governor Erico Aumentado, who led the mayors to organize their communities to set up and promote tourism attractions, and to maintain them well. Bohol is moving more and more people out of poverty. And when its international airport is completed in Panglao, Bohol’s economy will flourish.

Tourism is the next big thing in inclusive growth. The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is mobilizing to provide relevant training for tourism jobs. This is a strategically crucial industry. We must give it our full support.

Teresa S. Abesamis is a former professor at the Asian Institute of Management and an independent development management consultant.

tsabesamis0114@yahoo.com

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Making tourism growth inclusive&id=95312

The end of unregulated use of SIM cards in the Philippines

I always wondered particularly after 9/11 terrorist attack, unlike most developed countries like Australia, mobile SIM cards are not subject to 100% identification in the Philippines. Furthermore, local telcos do not have the practice of keeping the IMEI registrations of mobile handsets and immobilise them if stolen. So its encouraging to see that the government now is support legislation for one of them. Let’s hope there is a similar approach to mobile handsets particularly when there is a significant black market for stolen handsets that is even being done in the side walks of certain parts of the city.

From BusinessWorld Philippines

September 30, 2014

Philippine gov’t renews calls for registration of SIM cards

THE PHILIPPINE government has expressed support anew for legislation that will require Filipinos to register their mobile phone SIM (subscriber information module) cards, which stores personal data, including names and numbers of people they keep in touch with.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has considered it preferable to legislate the proposal rather than merely implement circulars, Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr. said in a news briefing yesterday.

“It is preferable that a law be passed requiring SIM card registration. Previous NTC circulars in this matter were stopped by the courts. The Executive branch has manifested its support to proposed bills that are now being discussed in Congress,” he said.

In a separate text message, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba said that the agency is in favor of the proposal.

In a Senate hearing Tuesday, founding chairperson of anti-crime organization Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO) Teresita A. See called for congressional action on proposed laws that will require prepaid SIM registration to enable authorities to easily track criminals and avoid the spread of misinformation in kidnapping cases.

As many as 30 prepaid SIM cards are used by kidnap-for-ransom groups to communicate with families of the victims, Ms. See said.

Proposals requiring SIM card registration are making its way in the House of Representatives with at least eight bills — House bills 525, 858, 1519, 2444, 2588, 2624, 3602 and 3928 — undergoing committee deliberations while the Senate has yet to file its counterpart version of the bill.

“With Malacañang’s backing, the [proposal] would have better chances,” Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte, Jr. said in a text message when asked about the matter.

Senator Vicente C. Sotto III has earlier filed a resolution urging the Senate to look into the rampant use of prepaid phones as “favored tools” in committing criminal activities due to their nature of “being unregistered and untraceable.”

“The end view is to come up with a legislative measure that can efficiently neutralize the use of prepaid phones by organized criminal elements and look at the viability of requiring the registration of prepaid phone subscribers and installation of a Global Positioning System (GPS) software in all cellular SIM cards to easily trace the exact location of the user,” Senate Resolution No. 136, which Mr. Sotto authored, states.

Last year, Malacañang said it needs time to carefully study such proposals, airing concerns it might violate citizens’ constitutional right to privacy. However, Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima already said she sees no legal impediment nor constitutional issues regarding the proposal.

Sought for comment, Globe general counsel Vicente Froilan M. Castelo, in a telephone interview, cited the difficulty of implementing the provisions contained in the proposed bills such as having cellphone users to register at NTC regional offices, among others.

“[The] proposal is to go to NTC regional offices to register but that would be very difficult, let’s say on island-provinces. I don’t think that would be in consonance with the government’s universal access program,” he added.

Unless the registration is similar to a “credit card” type transaction complete with all details, “it won’t serve its purpose,” Mr. Castelo said.

“We are not against the idea per se but it would be better if we first have a national ID (identification) card system for verification purposes,” he said.

For its part, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Group spokesperson Ramon R. Isberto said in a text message: “We will defer comment until there is an actual proposal.”

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld.

Meanwhile, Tonyo Cruz, president of Txt Power, said that it will take only “one rogue SIM card — perhaps stolen, on roaming, or cloned — [to] render the proposal ineffective.”

“It would spawn new crimes like the theft and black market. It is doubtful that criminals are shaking in their boots due to this,” Mr. Cruz said in a direct message on Twitter. “We look forward to seeing how Malacañang wishes to implement this in the country and across the world where Filipinos and foreigners have [local] SIM cards. And precisely how the data would be stored, accessed and used for crime fighting.”

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=Philippine gov’t renews calls for registration of SIM cards&id=95340

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