Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Monday, April 03, 2006

Favila urges ICT players to upgrade their skills

By Marianne V. Go
The Philippine Star

Trade and Industry Secretary Peter B. Favila is urging the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector to upgrade their skills from mere call centers to the more sophisticated and value-added business processing, software development, animation and legal and medical research outsourcing.

According to Favila, there is a need to focus on more knowledge-based outsourcing in order to be more competitive.

India, the Philippines’ No. 1 competition in the ICT outsourcing industry, has been able to maintain an edge because of its ability to provide such knowledge-based skills, Favila pointed out.

The Philippines, Favila stressed, can easily offer its skills in legal and medical research as well as in animation.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is projecting a 50 percent growth in investments in the ICT sector this year to P17 billion based on the 2005 total investments of P12.11 billion.

According to Celeste Ilagan, Trade and Industry executive director for international marketing, the projected growth in the ICT sector this year is expected to come from at least seven pipeline investments by seven American firms.

Last year, Ilagan said, a total of P12.11 billion was invested in the ICT sector by 70 projects approved by the Board of Investments, the Philippine Export Zone Authority and various other ecozones in the country.

The biggest single investment last year of $3 million was made by Dell Inc., although in terms of number of seats, Convergys created 6,000 seats.

In terms of export revenues, Ilagan said, the ICT sector generated $2.266 billion last year. The Philippines is positioning itself to become a global center for information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services.

The Philippines is relying on the quality of Filipino ICT workers, a competitive infrastructure, the Filipinos’ cultural affinity with the West and continuous government support.

In 2004, ICT investments amounted to P8.07 billion, resulting in more than $1 billion in exports revenues.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

IT harnessed to conserve Misamis’ Mt. Malindang

By Rudy A. Fernandez
The Philippine Star

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – Information technology is now being harnessed to help conserve the country’s biodiversity.

An example is the development of the Mt. Malindang Biodiversity Information System (MMBIS), which focuses on one of Mindanao’s ecologically rich and valuable mountains that straddles Misamis Occidental.

Developed by researchers of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) in Davao City, the Mt. Malindang Information System is a database management system that makes existing information easily available to policymakers, planners, and even future biodiversity researchers.

The MMBIS was designed to handle the voluminous data gathered under the "Philippines-Netherlands Biodiversity Research Program (BRP) for Development in Mindanao: Focus on Mt. Malindang and Environs."

Started in 2000 and to be completed this coming June, the program aims "to break new ground in developing a location-specific, interactive, and landscape approach to biodiversity research that will contribute to the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of biological diversity in the Mindanao region" and thus, improve livelihood and cultural opportunities.

The BRP is being implemented by the Los Baños-based Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO-SEARCA) with funding support from the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation (DGIS).

The program’s research activities were undertaken by Dutch researchers and their Filipino counterparts from 14 academic institutions in Mindanao, among them the USEP.

The activities also involved stakeholders such as farmers, fisherfolk, local government units and non-government organizations.

Mt. Malindang has been chosen as the BRP site because it is a natural park and a priority protected area.

It has three major peaks, a rugged volcanic landscape and 78 rivers, all within 53,262 hectares of the Mt. Malindang Natural Park, the only remaining representative area of the Zamboanga Peninsula biogeographic zone, one of 15 such zones in the country.

A SEARCA report states that Mt. Malindang’s flora and fauna are rich: 494 species of plants, 99 species of birds, and 18 species of mammals (three of which are endemic). Of the animal species found in the park, 59 are listed as threatened, 22 rare and 15 endangered.

The USEP reported the development of the MMBIS during a recent research and development (R&D) symposium of the Southern Mindanao Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMARRDEC).

A group of R&D and academic institutions in Region 12, SMARRDEC is one of the 14 regional R&D consortia being coordinated by the Los Baños-based Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCARRD).

The USEP-developed biodiversity information system contains forms that would allow researchers or authorized users to easily encode or input data from their respective researches into the system. This makes the system more advantageous than other traditional inputting systems.

Recurring or reusable data type is stored in the system’s libraries for easy retrieval.

The taxonomic (species classification) libraries include a list of all plants and animals found on Mt. Malindang, their taxonomic category, and some taxonomic descriptions such as conservation status and distribution.

The querying aspect is the part of the system where the user can ask questions or inquire about available data in the database to get additional information.

The system incorporates "easy-to-use" query forms that the users can just click on for each of the different fields.

The system also contains biodiversity data on the biophysical and socio-economic aspects of Mt. Malindang.

The USEP nonetheless suggested that the information system be further improved and that new technologies and global standards be further explored and, if possible, such information systems must be able to handle biodiversity information not only on Mt. Malindang but also on the whole of Mindanao.