Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, August 27, 2005

'Energy police' to enforce new conservation moves, Virtual Meetings ordered

'Energy police’ to enforce new conservation moves
By Aurea Calica, The Philippine Star

The "energy police" are coming.

The Philippines announced yesterday that teams of "energy police" will enforce a host of new measures to cut government energy consumption to help beat record-high crude oil prices.

The measures — which range from lowering air conditioning temperatures in offices to unplugging computers — are aimed at meeting President Arroyo’s target of slashing government energy use by 10 percent.

"Energy audit teams" will begin unannounced spot checks next week of government offices, colleges and universities and state-owned corporations to ensure they meet the guidelines, Energy Undersecretary Peter Abaya said.

Under the new rules, government buildings must replace ordinary light bulbs with energy-saving fluorescent lamps and set air conditioning units at 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), turning them off an hour before the close of office hours, Abaya said.

Air conditioning accounts for 70 percent of the electricity costs of offices in the tropical Philippines, he said.

The measures also require government buildings to reset their elevators to skip every other floor and employees to unplug computers that are not being used.

As she moonlighted yesterday as a talk show host on state-run television station NBN-4, the President said a 15-man team from the Department of Energy would police the different government agencies to comply with the government’s directive to conserve fuel and electricity.

Mrs. Arroyo introduced the members of her energy audit team, composed of Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Waldo Flores, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla and Abaya.

The President asked the team to immediately check whether "energy conservation officers" had been designated in the different departments, government-owned and -controlled corporations, financial institutions and state colleges and universities.

These "enercon officers" will spearhead the conservation programs in their respective agencies while the energy audit team will rate these government institutions based on their energy conservation or "EC way of life."

Earlier, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Abaya said government agencies will be graded on how they were implementing conservation measures.

"Site inspection and monthly electric bills will form the basis of a rating system for all agencies under the executive branch of government. The agencies with high energy consciousness will merit an ‘A’ rating while those who flunk the audit would have to bear the shame of an ‘F’ rating. Agencies within the minimum compliance or a passing mark will be given a ‘C’ rating," Ermita said.

Travel restrictions have also been imposed on the government’s fleet of 74,000 vehicles, which will have to start using gasoline or diesel mixed with ethanol or other renewable fuel additives.

The President told the energy audit team to deliver her good news from the field, such as creative and reasonable ways of hitting the target of reducing fuel consumption in government by 10 percent so the private sector could follow the government’s lead in energy conservation.

Civil servants wanting to use government vehicles will have to secure official permits to prevent their illegal use for personal errands.

Drivers have also been banned from idling their engines while waiting in parking lots and government agencies will be required to record the fuel consumption of all vehicles in their fleets.

The Philippines imports practically all of its oil, which was priced at close to $68 a barrel Tuesday, and officials have warned that it faces slower economic growth and higher inflation and could see its foreign exchange reserves depleted unless international oil prices fall.

Mrs. Arroyo said the Philippines imported about 126 million barrels of oil last year, of which 58 percent was for the transport sector.

The government had to lead by example in pushing for energy conservation, she said.

"We cannot control the price of oil," the President said in a televised news conference with energy department officials. "But we can control our commitment to energy conservation and efficiency measures."

Mrs. Arroyo has said she would ask Congress to give her emergency powers to impose drastic conservation measures on the general public, including possible fuel rationing, if necessary.

The President noted the government would have to look for $1.26 billion for every $10 increase in the prices of oil in the world market.

"The government is calling for efficiency… Fuel efficiency calls us to do better with less. The time demands prudence in the use of fuel and electricity, without compromising our effectiveness," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said specific guidelines were outlined for implementation in all government agencies and offices to strike a balance by reducing oil consumption by 10 percent but without sacrificing priorities and performance commitments.

She said if each government-owned vehicle would reduce fuel consumption by at least one liter per day for six months, this alone would translate into 9.8 million liters of fuel saved or about P294 million in savings.

Mrs. Arroyo said government agencies could also reduce their consumption of water and electricity, to which the government allocated P4.5 billion. Targeting a 10-percent reduction in this expense easily translates to another savings of P450 million in programmed costs, she said.

Through the leadership of government and the cooperation of every sector, she said "the country could surmount the hurdles of volatile oil prices given our existing resources."

"We can only beat the odds if we can stretch further our efficiency and effectiveness," the President stressed.
Virtual meetings
Mrs. Arroyo also asked officials to start having "virtual meetings" or cyber exchanges, saying this was one efficient way of doing their jobs and saving energy and fuel as well.

The President said it would be easier to coordinate through the Internet by e-mail and chat sessions.

Mrs. Arroyo said this when Flores told her that he would want to meet with the officials of government agencies to explain the grading system of the energy audit team.

"Meetings again? That means they would have to take the cars again. If you want to be more efficient, this is the age of information technology. I think, rather than meetings, virtual meetings are more efficient," the President said.

She said government officials "should avoid having meetings... That is no longer acceptable in the 21st century because we can work though ICT (information and communication technology)."

Hearing this, Flores said he would send the checklist or the criteria in grading the different agencies through the Internet.

The President said the use of elevators in government buildings should be regulated, adding that she prefers to use the stairs anyway.

She disclosed that when she was still at the Department of Trade and Industry and the Garments and Textile Export Board, she would shuttle between her two offices, both on the fourth floor of different buildings, walking up and down the stairs.

"And I guess that is why I am still healthy up to now," the President said. — With AFP

Friday, August 26, 2005

Virtual meetings can save energy, says GMA


By Max V. De Leon, Manila Times Reporter 

PRESIDENT Arroyo suggested on Thursday that government officials hold virtual conferences instead of face-to-face meetings to save on energy.

Holding meetings through the Internet or teleconferencing is one of creative ways Mrs. Arroyo proposed to enable the government to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent.

“Face-to-face meetings means the officials will have to ride cars,” the President said when informed by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Waldo Flores that Malacañang’s energy audit team will have to meet with the energy conservation officers of government agencies.

She suggested that to be more efficient, the government should make full use of the new trends in information technology.

Besides, the President said, she was already receiving ranking officials in Malacañang so there is no need to hold other meetings.

Energy Undersecretary Peter Abaya, who heads the energy conservation audit team with Flores, announced that the monitoring of the electric and fuel consumption of government offices will start next week.

Abaya said the 15-man team will be subdivided into three groups—one each for electricity, fuel and documentation.

Monitoring the compliance with energy conservation measures will be done in just 45 minutes, he said.

Agencies will get grades of A for five-star rating and score of 90 to 100, B for three-star rating and score of 80 to 89, C for one-star rating and score of 70 to 79 and F for failed and score of 69 and below.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said there is no need to reward the most energy-efficient offices, since getting their marks published is recognition in itself.

The government hopes to save at least P80 million a month from its energy conservation program.

Bunye said the program also consists in selling old government cars that are gas-guzzlers.

The audit team is drawing up the rules for auctioning the vehicles.

Flores said the Office of the President saved 18,782 liters of fuel from January to June compared with the same period last year, an 11.85-percent drop.

President Arroyo hopes the government’s efforts would be supported by the business sector and civil society


Telcos lose bid to bar ISPs from offering VoIP

By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, The Philippine Star

Telecommunications operators lost their bid to prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from offering voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services for compensation after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ruled that both telcos and ISPs can go into Internet telephony.

In a just released set of guidelines, the NTC classified VoIP as a value-added service (VAS) instead of a basic telephony service as telcos insist. Being a VAS, even ISPs that do not have a congressional franchise can offer VoIP. Offering basic telephone services requires a legislative franchise as provided for under the Public Telecommunications Act.

Through VoIP, ISPs can offer voice services using computers, thereby allowing them to circumvent the networks of the traditional telcos. VoIP is an application that digitizes and transmits voice communications in packets via the Internet, enhances or improves upon traditional telephony that is conducted through circuit switched connections by allowing the convergence of voice with other data applications, and by providing economic benefits in the form of greater efficiencies and lower costs, according to the NTC.

The commission noted that new technologies, such as VoIP, are blurring the traditional boundaries between computers, telecommunications, and broadcasting; and continue to fundamentally alter the structure, economics and nature of competition in the telecommunications sector.

The new rules provide that any person or entity seeking to provide VoIP for use by the public for compensation shall register themselves as such with the NTC prior to operation as a VoIP provider. No distinction was made as to whether the entity is Filipino or foreign-owned.

Local exchange and interexchange operators and overseas carriers are hereby allowed to offer VoIP without need of further registration, provide they ensure that such VoIP offerings are not cross-subsidized from the proceeds of their utility operations; other providers of VoIP are not discriminated against in rates nor denied equitable access to their facilities; and separate books of accounts are maintained for VoIP.

No VAS provider shall provide VoIP services to the public for compensation — where such services require access to and/or use of a network provider’s network, facilities and/or equipment — unless it has entered into an agreement with such network provider as to the terms and conditions of fair and reasonable access and/or interconnection charges for such access and/or use. 

In cases where the VAS provider and network provider refuse to negotiate for the interconnection of their networks, the NTC may mandate interconnection of the networks of the parties.

Network providers are also required to ensure equal access in terms of quantity and quality, at the same prices for substantially similar services to VAS providers; and shall not discriminate between VAS providers. This is to avoid situations where a telco that in itself has an ISP affiliate offers lower rates to its affiliate than to an independent ISP.

In justifying its classification of VoIP as VAS, the NTC noted that the latter is not strictly a public service offering in the way that voice-to-voice lines are, but is merely supplementary to the basic service. 

It added that given that it is not possible to accurately know or predict what other VAS would be available in the future, and consistent with the national interest in encouraging competition and innovation, services ‘ordinarily offered by local exchange and inter-exchange operators and overseas carriers’ must be construed strictly in terms of services ordinarily offered by such operators and carriers at the time the Public Telecommunications Act or RA 7925 was passed.

"Services ordinarily offered by the aforementioned operators and carriers at the time RA 7925 was passed were limited to voice services offered through circuit switched networks. A forward-looking definition of the term VAS would serve the interests of clarity, innovation, competition, and regulatory consistency," the NTC said.

It also pointed out that added competition in and deployment of VOIP can help achieve the broader policy objectives of RA 7925 to develop and maintain "a viable, efficient, reliable and universal telecommunications infrastructure using the best available and affordable technologies," and to improve and extend "services to areas not yet served."

The commission noted that widespread use and deployment of VOIP is hampered by the absence of formal rules or guidelines that will clarify the legal and regulatory rules for VOIP, and govern the provision and use of VOIP by the public.

It stressed that premature intervention in or regulation of VOIP as a nascent technology risks stifling innovation and competition in information and communications technologies (ICT).

"Minimal regulation on VOIP will encourage the development of new applications and services that can enhance Philippine competitiveness in the global ICT market," the NTC emphasized

Thursday, August 25, 2005

House committees back NTC on VoIP

Approves measure to deregulate VoIP services

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva

(UPDATE) THE COMMITTEES on Information and Communications Technology and on Trade jointly backed the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Wednesday as they approved legislation supporting the deregulation of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services in the country.

Both committees approved the consolidated bill declaring VoIP as a value-added service, consistent with the new rules signed by the NTC on Tuesday, according to Representative Simeon Kintanar who also chairs the House ICT committee.

NTC signed the memorandum circular number 05-08-2005 on Tuesday.

This move opens up the Philippine VoIP market to value-added service providers, such as Internet service providers who can now begin offering VoIP without the need to apply for a congressional franchise.

"The VoIP bill has been approved although there are some amendments to be made in relation to interconnection and access issues. But in principle, this measure has been approved. It will now be referred to the House rules committee, which will schedule this bill for plenary discussions," Kintanar told INQ7.net in a telephone interview.

VoIP routes phone calls through the Internet instead of through traditional public switched telephone networks. Its lower cost has made it a popular alternative to traditional voice calls.

The latest NTC circular would identify parties allowed to offer VoIP services, as well as agreements between telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers (ISPs) regarding service performance standards, interconnection charges, access costs, and consumer security and privacy.

Kintanar said the timing of the approval of NTC's latest guidelines and Congress' further push of VoIP bills is was not a coincidence. "We've been closely working with the NTC," he said. "We wanted to make sure that we're not departing from the NTC guideline."

According to the proposed measure, VoIP will be declared as a value-added service, Kintanar noted.

Prior to the NTC ruling, VoIP was classified as a voice service, which meant that under Philippine law only telecommunications companies with a congressional franchise could offer VoIP services. The NTC ruling re-classified VoIP as a value-added service that could be offered by Internet Service Providers.

The local telephone companies have been at loggerheads with value-added service providers for months of heated public debate both at the NTC and Congress.

Meanwhile the Philippine Internet Commerce Society (PICS) on Wednesday commended the NTC for issuing new guidelines deregulating VoIP.

PICS is an industry association representing private companies and individuals.

"We are very pleased that the NTC has adopted our position. There is no question that the deregulation of VoIP by the NTC will significantly benefit electronic commerce and all of our constituents eventually," according to PICS President Mary Anne Tolentino in a statement to INQ7.net.

By facilitating greater access for the end user and enhancing competition for communications services, it is clear that the real winner here is the market and the Philippine economy, she added.

PICS noted that the NTC rules on VoIP reiterated its earlier position in its memorandum issued on March 29,2005, where it already declared VoIP a value-added service.

PICS filed a position paper with the NTC last year. Tolentino noted that deregulation of VoIP services in the country will create more opportunities, such as engaging in electronic commerce.

The local industry association said that it would turn its attention to Congress and lobby for quick passage of pending measures supporting the deregulation of VoIP services in the country.

In a separate interview, William Torres, president of the Philippine Internet Service Organization (PISO), also commended NTC and Congress for the recent developments. He reserved comments on the NTC guidelines until he gets a copy.

"We're waiting on the implementing rules and regulations since we want to know what will be the arrangement between local exchange carriers (LECs) and value-added services. The NTC draft rules indicated that LECs and VAS providers have to negotiate for the cost for transfer of calls to VAS providers but we hope that NTC sets a standard price," Torres said.

Officials of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Globe Telecom, and Bayantel were mum when asked to comment on recent developments.


Battle among Internet portals seen as fight for profits

SAN FRANCISCO -- Internet titans Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online are locked in a fierce battle to win the fortune that comes with the loyalty of computer users, experts said Wednesday.

"There is kind of a land-grab going on," Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, told Agence France-Presse. "There could be a natural monopoly that goes to the player who has the most muscle, delivers the best service."

US Internet giants are duking it out in four arenas: search, e-mail, instant messaging, and portal services such as mapping and computer telephone calling, according to Yankee Group analyst Su Li Walker.

"Everyone was somewhat in limbo, then Google came out with a search and everyone perked up to improve their offerings," Walker said.

Internet giants are offering disparate free services because once computer users step through a portal, they can be directed to features that produce revenue or be targeted for advertising, experts said.

"Ultimately, advertising business gravitates to the largest eyeball count," Kay said. "You want to be the portal of record so they come to you instead of the other guy."

There is a "head-to-head" between Microsoft and Google, said analyst Matt Rosoff of Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm.

Google released Google Talk, a combination of instant messaging, computer telephone calling and e-mail, on Wednesday. Microsoft has long offered free e-mail and online talk, according to Rosoff.

Microsoft had its mapping program "sitting around for years," only to rush it online after Google debuted a mapping service, Rosoff noted.

Microsoft launched its MSN search engine in January after "Google showed the way to make money on search" with paid listings, Rosoff said.

"That is one area that Microsoft thinks is potentially very lucrative and fast growing,' Rosoff said.

In an odd reversal of images, Microsoft has become the "gentle giant" and Google the "hard guys" in the portal wars, Kay mused.

The stakes are high, according to Kay, since a portal with 100 percent of the market could could cripple competitors by directing online traffic elsewhere.

"I would say publishers should be concerned," Kay said. "It wouldn't surprise me to find Rupert Murdoch taking a big stake in a portal company."

There is speculation that Google plans a free wireless network covering the United States, according to Rosoff.

"That is crazy expensive," Rosoff said of what such a move. "But, once you've got users in your world, you can track them. There is sort of an Orwellian possibility to it.

A Microsoft executive predicted that annual Internet advertising expenditures worldwide will grow from 17 billion dollars this year to 30 billion dollars by mid 2008, Rosoff said.

There were 185 million Internet users in the United States and another 100 million in China at the end of 2004, said Egil Juliussen, president of eTForecasts research company.

Worldwide, the figure was 940 million and that number should surpass a billion this year, according to Juliussen.

"If a portal could make fifty cents a month from those users, it would add up real quickly," Juliussen said.

Each of the portals has different strengths, and their market shares could depend on how they tailor services to different countries, Juliussen said.

"I don't see any knockout punch by anyone," Juliussen said. "It will be an interesting battle."


What's the buzz about Push to Talk?

What’s the buzz about Push to Talk?
By Manny De Los Reyes
The Philippine STAR

You may have come across the term "Push-to-Talk" while perusing your newly purchased cellphone’s owner’s manual and wondered what it was all about. Or you may have come from a trip overseas, particularly North America, and heard or even witnessed friends or acquaintances using this new communications technology.

So what exactly is Push to Talk? Often described as a "walkie-talkie" service using mobile phones, Push-to-Talk (PTT) is a service that makes one-on-one and group conversations possible over a cellular network. Press the button once and everyone can hear you talk, release the button and hear the others talking back to you.

The benefits of Push to Talk include direct speech connection that’s spontaneous and convenient; instant sharing of information and experiences, at any time; the ability to get and stay in touch with a group of people, whether they’re pre-set, impromptu, or open chat groups; and expanded range and roaming options over two-way radio.

Phones with the PTT feature have a dedicated PTT button that is used to start a session. A session can involve from two to several participants but only one person can talk at a time.

To start a Push-to-Talk conversation, you simply select a contact (in either phone num-ber or special PTT address for-mat) or a group from your list or the list of a friend. Then press and hold the PTT button or any button that’s assigned this function. When you hear a tone, you can start to talk. When you’re done, you release the button and wait for a response.

It sounds similar to walkie-talkies because it is. Both use "half-duplex mode," which means that only one person can talk at a time, and then only by pressing a button. The speaker is transmitting packets of data to the listeners, who cannot stream data while they are receiving it. The difference is that walkie-talkies operate over radio frequencies, while PTT conversations are sent over cellular networks, giving increased range and roaming capabilities.

Features of PTT that are not offered in two-way radio communication include auto-answer, where the caller is immediately connected to the recipient (as opposed to a phone call which the recipient must first answer before talking); invitation messages that work like voicemail alerts for users already involved in one PTT session to join another as soon as they are free; and conversation "managers" that determine who can talk at a certain time. Group calling can be conducted within set groups already established or created just before the session by sending invitations, or among individual PTT participants coming together in a "chat room" that can be either open or restricted.

It’s important to note that this definition deals specifically with Push to Talk over Cellular (also known as PoC), which operates over GPRS networks specifically. This means that you can start a conversation, chat with a friend for five minutes, then say nothing for 20 minutes, and then chat again for another five minutes without re-initiating the session. The "talk bursts" are delivered in packets rather than in a continuous stream like a regular telephone call.

PTT sessions over GPRS networks generally have faster session set-up times than PTT sessions over CSD networks, meaning they generally use radio resources more efficiently and therefore usually cost less. However, instant communications is never guaranteed and delays can occur depending on your operator agreement and that of your conversation partner anywhere from zero to six seconds.

In America, Push to Talk has been a function available from Nextel. That changed recently when Verizon Wireless announced the availability of the first phones with a PTT capability similar to that offered by Nextel.

The first phones to use the feature on the Verizon Wireless network are made by Motorola, which seems intent on using the PTT capability it has designed for many of its phones as a standard mobile phone feature. The network operated by Verizon Wireless uses CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), which is the dominant type of wireless phone network in the United States. But the dominant type in the world is known as GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service).

Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens are developing PTT-capable phones for GSM/GPRS. And Samsung is said to have a CDMA phone with PTT on deck for the near future and one for GSM/GPRS soon after.

If it becomes as popular as the proponents hope it will, we have to wonder if Push to Talk will spur the invention of its own CB-like lingo. While business users are the primary targets, younger users will take to it in the same way they have with text messaging and phones with integrated cameras.

Perhaps, all that’s required for a nostalgic revival of the CB-trucker mania is a technology platform that makes it cool and marginally relevant. Will the Metro reverberate with the long-forgotten sign-off of the CB-era,"That’s a big 10-4, good buddy!"? Probably not. But in the wireless world, stranger things have happened.

Internet Shops On-Line meeting


City Mayor

City Councilor
Chairman, Committee on Telecommunications
And Information Communication Technology


Date : August 17, 2005

City Ordinance No. 24, Series of 2004 and Executive Order No. 84-A, Series of 2005 created and defined the duties and functions of Telecom and Information Technology (IT) Board. Copies of which can be viewed in the following urls:



In line with its mandate, the Telecom and IT Board is planning to meet with Internet Shop Owners, Managers or thier representatives ON-LINE where we believe it will be most convenient for all parties involved. Initial meetings will be by way of exchange of email messages and later, if need arises to act swiftly on pressing issues, a real-time on-line meeting, most probably by using Yahoo Messenger. The Telecom Board had been using this system and found it to be most convenient and productive.

Initial discussions will focus on the cooperative efforts between the City Government and the Internet shop owners on how to address various issues besetting our city in general and Internet business in particular.

In this regard, may we request your e-mail address, contact numbers and name of official representatives for our On-line meetings and other related activities that may come in the future.

It is hoped that this will merit your positive response and the start of our constant communication to further the advancement of IT in our city.

If there are concerns you wish to be included in our discussion, we would be most honored to receive it in the following email address:

intergapo@yahoogroups.com or edpiano@subicbay.ph

cc: Mayor’s Office, Business Permit
OCCSA, DepEd, ABC, Telecom Board

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

NTC declares VoIP as value added service Signs new guidelines

By Erwin Lemuel OlivaINQ7.net
THE NATIONAL Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved on Tuesday the final guidelines deregulating commercial voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services in the Philippines.

"We already signed the memorandum circular this afternoon. So we now have the final guidelines ready. Basically, we just reiterated what we have said earlier that VoIP is a value-added service. But we've added some few points to support our position," NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento told INQ7.net.

This was after months of deliberation and heated public debates both at the NTC and the Philippine Congress.

Sarmiento said the NTD guidelines will become effective 15 days after it is published in a generally-circulated newspaper.

NTC's decision to deregulate commercial VoIP services in the country follows after mounting pressure from government, as well as the industry, in particular the Internet service providers.
VoIP routes phone calls through the Internet instead of through traditional public switched telephone networks. Its lower cost has made it a popular alternative to traditional voice calls.
The rules would now identify parties that are allowed to offer VoIP services, as well as standard agreements between telecommunications carriers and Internet service providers (ISPs) regarding service performance standards, interconnection charges, access costs, as well as consumer security and privacy.

Sarmiento said that NTC has followed its earlier position that VoIP is a value-added service instead of a regular voice service, which under the law is covered by the Telecommunications Act.

This was the primary contention that fueled the debates between the carriers and local ISPs.
VoIP is turning out to be a cheaper communications alternative to the public, and it can provide additional communication services not commonly found in traditional voice services.

The National Economic Development Authority has pushed for the deregulation of VoIP services in the country, saying that this would decrease government spending on telecommunications.

Monday, August 22, 2005



Start your day with Yahoo! - make it your home page

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Cebu City Internet cafés monitored

By Joeberth Ocao, The Philippine Star

CEBU CITY — To ensure that Internet cafés in the city do not tolerate cybersex, the city council has approved a resolution requesting the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to closely monitor them.

The council, through a resolution of councilor Edgardo Labella, said the report of the supposed proliferation of cybersex operations is, indeed, "jolting" considering that "very few citizens have ready access to personal computers with an Internet connection, thereby inferring that some Internet outlets may be directly or indirectly involved in the clandestine operation of cybersex."

The resolution said what has compounded the cybersex issue is the claim of a website that it reportedly has a list of 212,257 potential online sexual partners from the Philippines.

Just recently, law enforcement agencies busted cybersex dens in Quezon City, Angeles City and Bangued, Abra where a number of women and minors confessed that they were paid to undress and perform sexual acts in front of computer video cameras.

In Cebu, a foreigner was investigated years ago for allegedly operating an Internet café, which allegedly practiced cybersex.

Cebu City has hundreds of Internet cafés where 70 percent of paying customers are students.

"Undeniably, there is a need to address this issue considering that cybersex freaks lure mostly women and young girls, including those from the provinces, into becoming performers in cybersex," stated Labella’s resolution.

Republic Act 7925 or the Public Telecommunication Policy Act mandates that NTC regulate the operations of public telecommunications entities such as Internet cafés to safeguard public interest and public morals. — Freeman News Service

RFID: What it can do for RP

If there’s one emerging technology which the Philippines should develop and deploy as part its IT strategy, it should be RFID, short for radio frequency identification.

Private corporations and government-owned institutions are united in the belief that RFID, which is currently enjoying unprecedented growth in different parts of the globe, will allow the country to leapfrog and become more competitive.

RFID is a form of "contact-less" technology that does away with the line-ofsight requirement of barcodes.

And since it uses radio signals, RFID is also greater in coverage than bar code scanning.

Another advantage of RFID is the convenience it gives to users as it eliminates the need to swipe card or insert one’s card.

These are possible scenarios with RFID technology: long queues at the MRT or LRT can be eliminated with the use of RFID cards that commuters would flash at the entry bar instead of the magnetic cards; in supermarkets, shoppers can push their carts full of groceries and the counter will automatically read all the items at once; with RFID tags installed inside their vehicles, motorists using expressways no longer have to line up just to pay their toll fees.

The last scenario is actually happening or has been realized at the South Luzon Expressway through the E-Pass or electronic pass. However, the prohibitive cost of the tag or transponder (R2,700.00, inclusive of R400.00 prepaid toll) has prevented the large majority of vehicle owners from getting their own tags.

Being a "budding" technology, RFID is still relatively expensive for a poor country like the Philippines to deploy extensively, admits Romulo Maggay, head of the wireless team of Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the Department of Science and Technology.

"The widespread use of RFID is delayed by only one factor — the cost of the card or tag," he says. "RFID is trying to replace the barcode, but at the moment, it simply cannot compete with the cheap cost of the barcode."

This is the reason why, Maggay says, RFID is only used in special types of applications in the Philippines.

Its cost, he says, will only become cheaper if there is massive adoption and the technology for creating the RFID system becomes more advanced.

"That is the only time that many entities will invest in RFID," he says matter-of-factly.

In other countries where there is widespread use of RFID, Maggay says common applications include people and animal identification, anti-theft systems, and locator systems. In short, RFID is used and found in anything that involves identification.

In Singapore, currently the top-ranked country in the world in the use of ICT, its government has recognized early on the benefit of implementing RFID in a wide-ranging basis. In malls and public transportation networks, Singaporeans make use of their RFID cards which they top up or reload using ATM machines.

A proof that RFID is a technology with bright business viability is the decision last year of technology giant Philips Semiconductors to invest $265 million to make its manufacturing plant in Laguna a worldwide "radio frequency (RF) center of competence."

Right now, Philips produces 80 percent of the total number of chips that are being used for RFID tags or transponders worldwide, according to Philips Semiconductors Philippines head Jun Sta. Ana.

For its part, Maggay says the ASTI is counting on its RF Transceiver Kit project, a five-year initiative which is now on its last stages of development.

Although the project is not specifically focused on RFID, it can boost RFID-related ventures in the country since "transceiver is the very heart of RFID system."

RFID uses RF signals to transmit and receive data.

"Our objective here is to transfer the technology to the academe through trainings and seminars. Hopefully, we (can achieve) our objective in the last quarter of this year."

Maggay reveals ASTI is not pursuing a particular RFID project at the moment. The agency, however, is open to research contracts or partnerships with companies willing to venture on projects based on RFID.

Citing the business potential of RFID, he recalled an incident a few months ago when a representative from a French company involved in the deployment of RFID toll collection system for the newly rehabilitated Northern Luzon Expressway came to ASTI to seek assistance for their faulty system.

"These opportunities would be of great help for Filipino engineers to fully explore this technology," he says, adding research development should be conducted in order that the country can capitalize on this new emerging technology. (Melvin G. Calimag, MB)

Globe seeks help in cell site attacks

Globe Telecom Inc. said Friday that it has sought the assistance of the police and military to stop rampant assaults by lawless elements against the Ayala-led company’s cell sites.

In a letter to Director General Arturo C. Lomibao, Philippine National Police chief, and Lt. Gen. Generoso P. Senga, Armed Forces chief of staff, Globe noted that for August alone, the company experienced six cell site attacks from alleged members of the New People’s Army. The month started with an attack in San Jacinto, Ticao Island, Masbate, followed by another one in Tabun, Angeles City, and Calumpit, Bulacan, on August 11 and 12, respectively.

On August 15 the worst assault happened because three cell sites in Angono, Rizal; Lemery, Batangas; and Silang, Cavite were targeted within the same day, the company said.

Globe pointed out that its cell sites in Calumpit, Lemery and Silang incurred serious damage, resulting in service downtimes in those areas.

While services in Lemery and Silang were restored a day after the attack, Globe’s coverage in Calumpit is still unavailable. Restoration work is expected to be finished Saturday.

Although it remains vigilant in ensuring that the public continues to enjoy uninterrupted telecom services, its job is being hindered by the spate of violent attacks, Globe said.

The company is taking measures to protect its cell sites, but also needs assistance from the government, particularly the military which is mandated to protect vital installations such as communications facilities.

"The company seeks the government’s help so that Globe Telecom can continue providing telecommunications services to the public, particularly in the rural areas in line with government’s universal access program reaffirmed and stated in [Republic Act] 7925," Globe said.

As of the first half of the year, Globe already has 4,555 cell sites all over the country, a sizeable number of which are situated in provincial areas. Paul Anthony A. Isla