Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, July 07, 2007

NCC drafting e-center roadmap

By Lawrence Casiraya - INQUIRER.net

SINGAPORE -- The National Computer Center (NCC) has started consultations with private sector stakeholders on how go about the setting up more community e-centers (CECs) until 2010.

The CEC project aims to set up local telecommunications centers or telecenters that will provide Internet access and other services down to the barangay level. It was given "special priority" in a government ICT roadmap issued earlier this year.

Tess Camba, head of NCC's field operations office, said in a phone interview that initial consultations will take place in Manila this week.

"There will be sessions with different groups that will discuss key issues in the CEC project like infrastructure and content," she said.

The initiative originally started from a project by the Department of Transportations and Telecommunications (DoTC), which called on the private sector to invest in CECs.

Private investors, however, did not show much interest in the project back then.

The Telecommunications Office (TELOF), under the DoTC, is also looking to upgrade some 250 municipal calling centers into Internet-capable CECs.

NCC, meanwhile, got P100 million in funding in 2004 to establish 100 CECs on its own. The government is now looking to set up 500 CECs more until the Arroyo administration finishes its term in 2010.

NCC will also hold consultations in Baguio City in the North and key cities in Visayas and Mindanao in the South.

The goal of the above-mentioned consultations, according to Camba, is to discuss how to sustain existing and present CECs, and come up with a roadmap with standards on how to go about deploying these community centers.

"We want to create something from the ground up, not only NCC dictating how CECs should be set up," she said, noting the need for localization. "It's not only a matter of setting up but more importantly, sustaining it."

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Friday, July 06, 2007

US-based Filipino wins world search engine optimization tilt

By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net

MANILA , Philippines -- A Filipino Internet marketing specialist based in San Diego, California has won a global search engine optimization (SEO) contest.

Benj Arriola, who has been designing websites, received the top award in a contest that required participants to use every possible web design style, strategic content and Internet marketing skills to make a certain key phrase rank high in search engines like Google.

Arriola's winning href="http://www.globalwarmingawarenessblog.com/">blog, which focused on the global warming awareness issue, ranked number one as the contest ended.

Arriola later wrote in his http://blog.benjarriola.com/2007/05/02/seo-world-championship-is-over personal blogthat his victory was possible with the help of Filipino search engine marketing specialists who have organized themselves as SEOPhilippines.

"This win is not completely my win. It is a win of the SEOPhilippines," Arriola said, adding that the SEO skills of Filipinos have increasingly becoming more recognized by the global industry.

Aileen Apolo, Google country consultant for the Philippines, wrote in her personal personal blog that Arriola's win is recognition of the growing pool of SEO specialists in the country.

"Filipinos be proud! Benj Arriola, a Filipino based in the US won the SEO World Championship for his GlobalWarming Awareness entry. Aside from the accolade of being the winner for the first ever SEO World Championship, Benj is going to receive a brand new Citroen C2 car. Woohoo!" she said.

"The recent win of Benj Arriola in the SEO World Championships has definitely put the Philippines in the search engine optimization/marketing outsourcing map," she added.

Apolo revealed that Arriola is actually a chemist by education, and has taught at the De La Sale University.

"The SEO contest is a test of one's skill on ranking a certain key phrase in search engines. But the real SEO work is much more than that. I [am] happy I was able to showcase my skills in this contest and was victorious, but I have high respect for all the other competitors since it was not an easy win. I was still worried and nervous up to the last minute of a come-from-behind win from the other competitors. I would like to add that 20 percent of my efforts in getting the top spot in this contest were through the help of the many SEO professionals in the Philippines," Arriola explained.

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Police probe ‘Francswiss’ Internet scam

By Alcuin Papa - Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine National Police has started investigating the “Francswiss” fraud scheme similar to pyramiding, a police official said Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Rodolfo “Boogie” Mendoza of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he designated a special cybercrime unit to start tracking down the perpetrators of the fraud.

“This is very similar to the pyramiding schemes. We are starting with website to track down suspects. Even if it is down, there will be footprints through IP addresses,” Mendoza said.

He said the investigation into the fraud will be “two-pronged.”

“We will conduct the cyber investigation and at the same time the physical investigation where we will be taking down statements of victims and assessing the information they will be giving us,” Mendoza said.

He also revealed that they will be coordinating closely with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This is large-scale fraud perpetrated by a large syndicate and there are a lot of victims. There might be local companies in cahoots with the groups abroad. In a sense, we will also follow the paper trail,” he said.

Mendoza appealed to victims of the “Francswiss” scam to come out and lodge a complaint in his office.

He said the PNP has the capability to conduct computer forensic investigations.

Mendoza said its cyber unit was the same group that busted a telecommunications fraud syndicate in the country last March. The syndicate was involved in hacking into PABX systems in the United States and stealing telephone numbers. The numbers, which could be used for overseas calls, were then sold to international buyers.

Mendoza said the PNP is working to increase its capability to investigate large-scale Internet fraud perpetrated by “corporate criminals.”

Recently, Mendoza said they designed a “white collar” crime investigation course that the PNP hopes will address not only Internet fraud but large-scale fraud carried out by transnational crime groups.

“This project is close to being finished,” he said.

The new scam lures unsuspecting victims over the Internet using the websites http://www.francswiss.biz/ and http://deutchfrancs.com.

Another way is by recruitment of prospective victims by persons already “enrolled” in the scheme.

Prospective investors are asked to invest $1,000 in francswiss.biz and $10,000 in deutchfrancs.com.

The promise is that the investor will earn a 10-percent commission if he or she recruits two more people.

The promised returns supposedly can go as high as 270 percent in a matter of just 60 days.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is due to release an advisory warning the public about the scam.

The scam follows the so-called Ponzi scheme which promises higher returns than investors in other businesses.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Yahoo eyes site for teachers in RP

By Alexander Villafania - INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines -- As part of its expansion in the Philippines, online services company Yahoo! is looking to provide a site where teachers can find helpful tips to improve their profession and share data with other teachers, the Yahoo! Southeast Asia Communications manager said Wednesday.

The company has relaunched its Pinoy Connect! Portal (pinoyconnect.promos.yahoo.com) that aims to generate more user content as it showcases new online services, which will include a portal for schools for online learning such as a thesaurus, encyclopedia, and dictionary, according to Jason Coates.

The schools portal of the Pinoy Connect! includes information regarding Yahoo!'s partnership with the Ayala Foundation's Gearing Up Internet Literacy and ACcess at Schools (GiLAS), a social program that intends to connect 6,000 public high schools by 2010, said Coates.

But Coates said the main plan now would be to promote the Pinoy Connect to teachers in the Philippines and to get feedback as to how Yahoo! could provide additional services to them.

"Only after getting input can we determine what support we can give. That is why the feedback from people in the Philippines is so important to our business," Coates said.

Yahoo! has an education section for its main Asia portal. The portal covers a variety of education content, including locations of colleges and universities across Asia.

However, the Pinoy Connect! education site hopes to develop more local content for teachers as well as students, said Coates.

Town implements electronics licensing system

By Marna H. Dagumboy - Sun star

LUBAO -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Advocacy for the Development of Central Luzon (ADCL) and Canadian Executive Service Organization (Ceso) on Wednesday extended their support to the local government unit (LGU) here for implementation of their software specifically the establishment of Electronics Business Process and Licensing System (E-BPLS), Real Property Tax System (E-RPTS) and their Community E-Center (CEC).

The E-BPLS aims to standardize the business process flow in the application of business permits and licenses and provide a faster turnover time in the processing of business applications.

In the province, Lubao has already been offering the said system. Aside from reducing the turnaround time in the issuance of business certificates, permits and licenses, E-BPLS tends to eliminate unnecessary duplication and overlapping of agency functions/requirements and abolish those that are redundant and irrelevant; and adopt a simple, effective and transparent step by step procedure in the issuance of business certificates, permits and licenses.

E-BPLS should cover the issuance of Business Name Certificate and Sales Promo Permit by DTI Region 3; Land Use Conversion Certificate by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-3; Export Documents by OSEDC Clark and Subic; Environmental Compliance Certificate by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-3; and Mayor’s Permit by the Cities/Municipalities.

The E-BPLS was tested in various regional offices where it significantly reduced the turnaround time in the issuance of Business Name Certificate from one to two months to just 11 hours; issuance of Sales Promo Permit from two days to 12.7 hours; issuance of Land Use Conversion Certificate by DAR-3 from 130 days (in 2003) to 51-57 days fro priority projects covering five hectares and below, among others.

With the E-BPLS, issuance of Mayor’s Permit by the Cities/Municipalities was also streamlined significantly through; reduction in turnaround time from two weeks to one-month to 15-minutes to two-days; increase in number of applications by 468% from 2004 to 2006; increase in revenue generated by a maximum of 40 percent in 2006; reduction in number of signatories eliminated in 2006; and reduction in number of steps, with a maximum of five steps eliminated in 2006.

Not only E-BPLS, the Lubao town also offers E-RPTS and Community E-Center and Training Center which caters free computer literacy program on out-of-school-youth here.

According to Vice Mayor Salvador Dimson, the Lubao Computer Training Program was able to help and graduated 600 students which Mayor Dennis Pineda fully supported them.

Meanwhile, the DTI has tied-up with the ADCL in promoting E-Gov and E-BPLS here in order to fast track the system offered specifically licensing. Ceso, also a non-government organization (NGO), on the other hand, was the LGU partner in implementing the system here.

Among officials present in event were DTI Pampanga Director Anacleto Blanco; Atty. Jun Canlas and Jesse Yap, members of the ADCL; Minerva Arceo, ADCL executive director; Robert Sagun, Ceso Project Office; Gail Lee, Ceso volunteer adviser; Danilo Aquino, Planning Development Officer; and Councilors Angelito Dampil and Teresito Lingad.

Earlier, a multi-sector group launched a task force which will advocate for the establishment of an E-BPLS in the province.

Led by the ADCL, the group seeking for the use of modern technology in governance in the province includes the National Economic Development Authority (Neda), DTI, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham), Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MACCII) and the Clark Investors and Locators Association (Cila), among others.

Expecting possible resistance from some municipal officials, the task force anchors its advocacy on Malacañang memorandum order No. 117, dated September 15, 2003, which directs local authorities to simplify and rationalize their civil application systems.

The MO also orders the secretaries of DILG and DTI to facilitate the streamlining of procedures in the issuance of permits and licenses particularly business permits, building permits, certificates of occupancy and other clearances; in terms of documentary requirements, procedures and signatories, processing time and processing costs.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Deeper probe into broadband deal sought

By Francis Earl A. Cueto, Manila Times Reporter

A MAJOR labor organization on Tuesday sought for a more in-depth investigation in connection with the losing bidders in the $329.5-million broadband contract between the Philippines and a top telecommunications firm in China.

In a statement, the Construction Workers Solidarity (CSW) said the incorporators and owners of all the companies that bid in the project should be made public as part of the probe being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) over possible sabotage in the loss of the ZTE contract signed by the Philippine government and ZTE officials in the presence of President Arroyo in China.

The CSW said a deeper probe into the incident should be done in view of reports that the son of a high-ranking government official owns one of the losing companies.

ZTE is the second-largest telecommunications firm in China.

The NBI has filed charges of malversation of public property against Philippine Commercial Attaché to China Emmanuel Nino Wee before the Ombudsman over the loss of the ZTE documents, according to CSW.

Crispin Soriano, CSW secretary-general and spokesman, said that identifying the owners of Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. (AHI) and Arescom, two companies that bid for the project, would help the NBI determine motive, if any, to support its suspicion that the project is being sabotaged.

Besides the loss of the documents, Department of Transportation and Communications Assistant Secretary Formoso has accused AHI of spreading “disinformation” about the national broadband project.

The statement also quoted Arnel Dalumpines, chief of the NBI task force, as saying that the ZTE’s competitors in the bidding might be behind loss of the signed documents between China and the Philippines.

When completed, the national broadband project will connect all government offices nationwide down to the barangay level, at a cost much lower than the price of the same services offered in the IT market.

“It might be a demolition job hatched by the competitor against the winning bidder ZTE Corp. They might have connived with Commercial Attaché Ang and Chinese interpreter Allan Liu,” Dalumpines was quoted as saying.

Ang, who worked closely with Liu during President Arroyo’s visit to China, said the ZTE documents were either stolen or were lost in his hotel room in China after they were given to him for safekeeping.

The broadband project aims to speed up communications and coordination among government offices, and is expected to result in billions in savings in taxpayers’ money

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Survey says most young Pinoys use Web for gaming, Friendster

By Lawrence Casiraya - INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines -- Gaming and social networking have emerged as primary reasons why Filipinos aged 25 and below use the Internet, according to a recent survey by DigitalFilipino.com.

A survey of 375 respondents, mostly from Metro Manila, also showed that majority (more than 70 percent) of gamers play in Internet cafes even though they have Internet connections at home.

DigitalFilipino.com started its annual Internet user survey in 2002. Almost 90 percent of respondents in this year's survey are aged 25 or below.

In previous surveys, respondents cited research and e-mail as main reasons why they go online. Now, respondents still mention research as the main reason but next comes gaming, entertainment and logging on to social networking sites like Friendster and MySpace.

“Gaming as a reason to go online did not exist before, even in last year's survey," said Jannette Toral who runs DigitalFilipino.com. "Some users even use Friendster as their email platform because all their friends use it as well."

Most of the respondents spend 12 to 24 hours a week surfing the Web. While people spend more time online, monthly spending has gone down to about P350 per month from P1,000 per month in 2002.

This may indicate that most users spend more time playing games or checking on their Friendster profiles at Internet cafes. "This can also mean that Internet fees have gone down," Toral said.

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Canadian experts assist local government IT project

By Lawrence Casiraya - INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines -- The Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO), a non-governmental organization, is helping local parties deploy a business permits and licensing software designed for municipalities.

The system is funded by a P420-million government grant from the Canadian International Development to the National Computer Center (NCC), coursed through the Commission on ICT.

The partnership, which likewise includes the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, will be formally signed on Monday.

Robert Sagun, project officer for the CESO initiative, said the project aims to streamline and harmonize the business permit and licensing systems in more than 40 selected municipalities in Luzon.

"Canadian IT experts will help deploy the system in as many municipalities as possible," he said via phone interview.

The software was developed by the Development Academy of the Philippines and is valued at P3.2 million, Sagun added.

The NCC is currently undertaking a massive project called e-LGU that rolls out software applications specifically for local government use.

The project has already piloted a system that manages real property taxes.

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