Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cell phone snatching down 50% — NCRPO

By Non Alquitran
The Philippine Star

The successful raids conducted by the National Capital Region Police Office and the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) on second hand cell phone outlets have reduced phone snatching incidents by 50 percent in Metro Manila, according to police officials.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Calderon threw his all-out support yesterday to the joint police-NTC undertaking intended to bring further down cases of cell phone theft.

"Gen. Calderon gave his full support to our effort in curbing the market for stolen cell phones. He directed us to intensify our campaign to bring the figure down even more," Metro police chief Director Vidal Querol said.

Calderon took time out from his hectic schedule yesterday to pay a visit to NCRPO headquarters at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, where he met with ranking police officials and enlisted personnel.

It was the first visit of Calderon to a police camp since President Arroyo named him the new PNP chief last July 5.

Calderon also awarded medals to six policemen who gallantly engaged bank robbers in a gunfight in Pasig City.

He was then presented patches of the various districts of the NCRPO.

While Calderon did not cite figures on phone snatching incidents, he urged Querol to conduct more raids on other cell phone outlets selling stolen units, in close coordination with the NTC, led by Commissioner Ronald Solis.

Joint police and NTC teams have conducted at least six raids on cell phone outlets in Metro Manila since June 15, confiscating 180 undocumented units.

Calderon also called for a series of dialogues with cell phone traders starting next week to explain the importance of documenting all transactions to deter smugglers and criminals.

"We want them to make all their transactions above board so they will not be arrested and charged," said Querol, referring to cell phone traders.

The NCRPO chief said the success of their raids in Metro Manila prompted Solis to initiate plans to bring the joint police-NTC campaign against cell phone snatching to the provinces.

Calderon also praised Querol’s Night Watch program, which has brought down crime incidents in Metro Manila to their lowest levels in the past months.

The Night Watch program, calls for the deployment of additional policemen in "crime prone" areas of Metro Manila at night.

Under the program, more than 20,000 employees of call centers in the business hubs of Metro Manila like the Ortigas Center in Pasig, the Central Business District in Makati and the commercial areas in Mandaluyong City.

During a command conference, Querol briefed Calderon of the NCRPO’s security preparations for President Arroyo’s sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasan complex on July 24.

"I told him that we are concentrating our effort on preventing barangays surrounding the Batasan from being used as launching pad of any attack against the President," said Querol, who like Calderon, belongs to Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ’73.

Querol also announced yesterday the designation of Chief Superintendent Wilfredo Garcia, director of the Southern Police District (SPD) as the new chief of the PNP’s directorate for operations (DO) at Camp Crame.

Garcia, of PMA Class ’74, replaced his senior Director Antonio Billones, who was promoted last week as the Chief of Directorial Staff (CDS), or the No. 4 man of the PNP.

Querol named Senior Superintendent Roberto Bondoc, as the officer-in-charge of the SPD. — With Cecille Suerte Felipe

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

NTC bans sending of commercial messages sans prior consent of mobile subscriber

By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes
The Philippine Star

Mobile phone operators and other content providers can no longer send commercial and other promotional advertisements to cellular subscribers without their permission.

This as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a circular amending existing rules on broadcast messaging service as well as banning "spam’ or unsolicited text messages. Broadcast messaging service allows one to send the same text message to a large number of mobile phones.

The circular, however, does not cover emergency, distress, public service information messages, network advisories, and consumer welfare and protection related advisories.

Commercial advertisements have been defined by the NTC as a notice or announcement for the purpose of soliciting or advertising a business, product or services and to generate revenue. Promotional advertisements, meanwhile, include those designed to increase visibility or sale of a product or service.

Under the new circular, commercial and promotional advertisements, surveys, and other broadcast/push messages shall be sent only to subscribers who have prior consent or have specifically opted-in or has requested to be included in a specific list to receive direct marketing through text messaging.

All content providers (CPs), or entities or organizations that create or maintain a database of information or data and which may offer services or products to the public for compensation, are required to register with the NTC. The Department of Trade and Industry will not approve promos of those not registered with the commission while public telecommunications entities (PTES) (including mobile phone operators) will not enter into agreements with CPs not registered with the NTC.

Subscribers/recipients who do not reply to broadcast/push messages shall be considered to have not opted in and such broadcast shall be stopped.

PTEs and CPs are also required to provide an easy-to-remember hotline number that may be accessed by voice calls and text messaging and free of charge to assist subscribers who may have queries on subscribed services and/or who wish to opt-out from a particular service or to be excluded from receiving any broadcast message.

The new circular also provides that broadcast/push messages shall not be sent between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., except on paid subscription services.

All broadcast messages shall display the name of the PTE. In the case of CP-initiated messages, the CP shall indicate their company names or assigned codes.

There shall be an exclusion list for each PTE/CP which it will regularly update to ensure that subscribers in the list are not sent broadcast messages.

The broadcast messaging circular likewise provides for the manner by which complaints by subscribers regarding spam messages can be filed with the PTE concerned. Complainants not satisfied with the action of the PTE can elevate the matter to the NTC.

The Philippine Star EDITORIAL — Left behind in the IT revolution

"Google" is now officially a verb, included in the latest version of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. A report last week said the word is one of the new entries including "mouse potato" that grew out of the rapid advances in information technology in recent years. Many Filipino students who get a chance to look at this new dictionary will be puzzled by the new words. These are students who have been deprived of access to computers and the Internet, students who are growing up clueless in the Information Age, lacking the competitiveness needed for survival in a global environment.

In many parts of the world the computer has become a basic education tool. In this country, many teachers themselves cannot use computers. Most public schools have no computers or lack IT instructors. Other developing countries with a keen sense of global competition are rushing to increase their citizens’ computer literacy and access to the Internet. If the Philippines wants to stay in the game, it should be scrambling to make every Filipino computer-literate.

Lacking funds, the government can try to obtain hand-me-down computers and software from rich countries and the private sector. Obsolescence is rapid in information technology, and there are a lot of old but still functional computers and software out there that can be donated to countries in need. Though lacking funds, the government can also start looking at handy, no-frills Internet-ready tablet PCs that are being developed for the low-end market by some industry giants.

While working on this, the government should also boost computer literacy programs in the public education system. Children from economically well-off families learn to use computers as soon as they start lessons in reading and writing. This is a major edge over less privileged children. The government must not let this educational gap between rich and poor grow wider. Those lacking access to computers can at least be taught the basic use of a keyboard by using old typewriters. The government must also get serious in improving the teaching of English, lingua franca of the Information Age. No child must be left behind in the IT revolution. The nation cannot afford to be left behind.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Going WiFi-crazy in RP’s ICT capital

By Perseus Echeminada
The Philippine Star

The Information Communication Technology Capital (ICT) of the country is fast becoming a leader in wireless connectivity, a business leader said yesterday.

Nathan Zulueta, president of the Quezon City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (QCCCI) said many key areas are now WiFi-ready zones.

WiFi or wireless fidelity, allows users to surf the Internet using notebook computers, PDAs and other portable devices minus cables, through access points called hotspots.

The Eastwood City Cyberpark — the country’s pioneering IT park is a WiFi ready zone in the city. Students, executives and vistors can often be seen with their laptops in pubs, coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques even the central park using WiFi provided free by the cyberpark, Zulueta said.

He said Ateneo de Manila University in Loyola Heights was very first campus in the country to provide WiFi for its students and faculty members.

Zulueta said while the National Capital Region is already considered a technological hub, only seven percent of its population have Internet access. WiFi cafes, however, provides an alternative to expensive broadband connection.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Melange Crepes and Pasta, and Cheesecake, Etc., are among the popular WiFi zones in Quezon City. Most coffee shops offer wireless connectivity as come-on to customers.

"The QCCCI Foundation is now coordinating with the Quezon City Council to pass a resolution urging all business establishments to install wirelesss networks in their establishments as part of their ‘corporate social responsibility’ program," Zulueta said. "Giving access to information communication technology is a service to the people and would give back tremendous benefits to businesses in terms of goodwill and actual sales value."

He noted that in mega cities, WiFi has been around for years and citizens have 24 hours access to Internet wherever they go. The government also provides WiFi through public facilities in most communities.

"WiFi technology is the fastest means to provide information service to the community and we in the private sector should work with the government to be able to provide these ICT facilities to our people" Zulueta said.