Filipino IT professionals are being pirated by Asian companies, and it can spell disaster for the Philippines’ telecommunications infrastructure.
It seems that professionals in the country, including those practising Information Technology (IT) are being hired by companies abroad such as Singapore, Malaysia, and other East Asian countries despite being employed in foreign-owned companies situated in Metro Manila.
At first, these IT professionals somehow worked to maintain websites of both private and government institutions against hacking and malfunctioning in order to have smooth flow of transactions, and also worked in order to improve internet speed in telecommunications companies such as PLDT and Globe.
These practitioners may had done well in their respective field of interest, but with other countries offering much bigger pay and really secured tenure, most IT professionals, especially those affected by everyday crisis such as contractualization and insufficient pay, have no choice but to accept opportunities from abroad that are greater than those offered at home.
According to the Office of the Press Secretary last 2008, there were 12,000 Filipino IT practitioners working in Singapore, and most of them were appraised for their skills and talents in their work.
In addition, there are probably more in the Philippines choosing to leave the country for Singapore or any other country in search of much greener pastures.
The Philippines is starting to feel the effects of this recent brain drain. We are left with less competent IT workers who are incapable of securing local networks in case a security breach happens.
Consequently, government websites are often hacked, while people often complain about slower internet speed as compared to those of the neighboring countries.
Groups like the Computer Professionals Union have urged government officials not just to tax-exempt IT professionals, but to create an environment for these practitioners in testing and implementing innovative ideas with government support, as science and technology professionals are vital for national development.
The Philippines’ IT-BPO industry has total revenues that rose from $12.1 billion to US$ 13.5 billion last 2012, and employment that rose to 769,932 from 679,494, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) figures.
Yet these figures may possibly change in the following years, as IT professionals are being promised bigger pay and security of tenure by companies abroad.
There is enough possibility that both revenues and employment would decrease in IT industries in the Philippines.
There is steep competition as local IT professionals find it more difficult to work in the country, given the inadequate infrastructure and wrong government priorities.
President Noynoy Aquino, in his address citing the Philippines’ amicable relations with Singapore, stated that “Singapore and the Philippines will continue to work together on the expansion of cooperation in the fields of infrastructure and construction, tourism facilities, information technology-business process management, shipbuilding, logistics services, and agribusiness”.
In spite of the country losing its best IT workers, the government continues to brag about development, cooperating with countries that are ironically becoming the working destinations for Filipino IT professionals.
As of our Press Deadline, Janet “Jeny” Lim-Napoles was still at the Ospital ng Makati. While the World was questioning why she had not been returned to her court designated place of detention at the PNP SAF camp in Santa Rosa, Laguna, the Authorities were pointing fingers at each other.
The Makati RTC Branch presided over by Judge Almeda said that there was no need for a Court Order to return her to where the Court had committed her. Her custodian, the PNP, said that she had not paid her hospital bills and therefore could not get a discharge or release order from the Ospital ng Makati. The Ospital ng Makati said that they had already issued a discharge order. Besides, they said that it is against the law to hold a patient because of non payment of medical bills or expenses.
Then we hear that JLM wants to stay in the hospital for at least three months. That is what the rich and infamous always want to do. Former Presidents Estrada and Arroyo were committed to the Presidential Suite of the Veterans Memorial Hospital. Former PCSO Chairman and Director Manoling Morato stayed at the SLMC, QC. Gov. Antonio Leviste and Rolito Go spent a portion of their sentences in various hospitals as well as special accommodations at the National Penitentiary at Muntinglupa.
My Fearless Forecast is that if JLM is brought back to Santa Rosa, her list of Senators, Congressmen and Executive Officials involved in the the PDAF/Pork Scandal will come out in its entirety. My Fearful Forecast is that if JLM continues to be detained at the Ospital ng Makati, her list will again be censored, evaluated and manipulated to implicate PNoy’s enemies and protect his allies, friends and KKK’s.
My very educated guess is that while JLN (born January 15, 1964) started out in business dealings with the government fifteen years ago, she made it big when she learned and graduated to the level of PDAF. This was during the GMA Administration between January 2001 and June 2010. She and her husband, Marine Major Jaime “Jimmy” Napoles, were charged in connection with a 1998 3.8 million peso Kevlar Helmet Procurement Contract divided among seven dummy corporations. Her husband was dropped from the case. Janet was acquitted in 2010.
By the time of the May 2010 National Elections, JLN had accumulated huge sums of money from the multi billion peso Ghost Deliveries of fake Projects of JLN NGO’s. My Guess is that JLN gave the Noy – Mar/LP Campaign a big campaign contribution in the hundreds of millions of pesos. And that is why JLN’s Scam phased in effortlessly into the Aquino Administration of the “Matuwid na Daaan”.
The Expose of the JLM PDAF Scam was triggered by the serious illegal detention of Ben Hur Luy from Dec 19, 2012 to March 22, 2013 by JLN and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim. On the behest of Ben Hur’s parents, the NBI rescued him from a JLN house that was being used as a retrest house. While in NBI protective custody, Ben Hur started to about JLN’s operations. Meanwhile, JLN continued to harass Ben Hur and use influence and wealth in her favor. JLN retained the MOST Law Office.
However, on July 12, 2013, the PDI came out with a series on the JLN PDAF Scam. In the meanwhile, Social Media had discovered and encountered the high living lifestyle of the Lim – Napoles Family. A month later, on Friday, August 16, Netizens almost spontaneously called for a Million People March and Rally at the Luneta for Monday, August 26, a holiday.
Meanwhile, the NBI – DOJ – Ombudsman investigation and prosecution as well as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s Hearings focused on the three opposition Senators, namely Senators Enrile, Estrada and Revilla to the neglect of other Legislators, Executive Officials and NGOs.
Meanwhile, the serious illegal detention case filed by Ben Hur Luy against JLN and Reynald “Jojo” Lim matured under media and public watch from NBI Investigation to DOJ Prosecution and finally the issuance of warrants of Arrest by the Makati RTC versus Jeny and Jojo. This was followed by the posting of a reward for information leading to Janet’s arrest.
After hiding for several weeks, Janet surrendered to President Aquino and DILG Sec Mar Roxas in Malacanang after a nightime “Hide and Seek” with Presidential Spokesman Lacierda. Then, Noy and Mar escorted JLN to Camp Crame. The purpose of the whole charade was to secure JLN’s cooperation in the one sided Investigation and Prosecution of the three Opposition Senators.
Meanwhile there was the promise of comfort and leniency for the VIP Accused Criminal and Detention Prisoner. However, six months passed with no hospital arrest as promised. That is why the Lists started to threaten to come out.
Peter Cauton considers himself a career HR Practitioner turned serial entrepreneur. But he is more than that. Technopreneurs and aspiring startups all over the country know him more as an inspirational speaker and a founder of several startup companies. He is an expert on how to get someone’s dream tech business started, and how to sustain it.
He started his first company, STORM Consulting back in 2006. The company has since grown by leaps and bounds and is now called STORM Rewards.
Peter Cauton is considered a leader of the Filipino Startup Movement via his site Juan Great Leap (juangreatleap.com). His mission in life is to inspire others to take the great leap into entrepreneurship. In his interview with Tech In Asia’s Raya Edquilang, he was asked: What was that defining moment when you made a conscious decision that helping others is what you want to do?
He answered, “In 2008, I made the biggest career decision of my life – I took the leap, kissed my corporate career goodbye and went full-time to help my struggling startup. Considering it was in the middle of the recession and I had a newborn son, it was an idiotic decision. By God’s grace, it worked out. In 2011, not only was I making a good living running my own firm, I also founded more startups. I just felt incredibly blessed.”
Peter felt the need to pay it forward. He also wanted to write a book. He shares, “It would consist of some of the lessons I learned in leaving corporate and developing my startup. But after some months, I found that it was just a huge step to develop material from scratch into a book. So I thought of something I had never thought I do – write a blog. I remember writing my first post. I dilly-dallied a lot, postponing pushing the ‘publish’ button for as long as I can. In many ways, starting a blog was scarier than writing a book. The exposure was instant. What if people hated what I wrote? Or thought ‘this guy is a hack’? But I thought, like my startup leap, nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished without some risk. And so I clicked publish. The blog has almost taken a life of its own now. I totally did not forecast how much it would resonate with people. Its been an amazing blessing for me.”
His idea for Juan Great Leap is to do advocacy work to promote startups. One of their plans is to popularize Juan Great Leap conferences. “In the last one, sponsored by Ayala, we attracted over 200 people to a learning session/panel discussion. We are planning another one on March 2nd: a mass ‘speed dating’ event with 20 awesome startup founders. These bigger events are geared towards creating a mass learning opportunity for participants.”
Juan Great Leap also organizes smaller meetups, called Open Coffee. Every month, around 40 to 50 people participate. The meetup is geared towards collaboration and helping other aspiring techpreneurs. Peter says that the meetup is open to people from any part of the startup process from ‘I have an idea’ to ‘I have just sold my startup.’
The main attraction in Juan Great Leap events, according to him, is the open floor where people have two minutes to pitch anything to the group – an idea, a problem to solve, a need, a survey. The idea is to learn, share and have fun.
“Aside from these, I meet two to three entrepreneurs for coffee every Saturday morning. We talk about everything and anything – from startup ideas, outlining opportunities, and even the spiritual side to startups. A couple of people I’ve met at Startup Saturdays have become dear friends of mine, some also who I’ve had the privilege to mentor,” he adds.
Asked about the greatest challenge for Filipino tech startups, Peter remarks, “There aren’t enough entrepreneurs to take on the multitude of great ideas which are available. Right now, you see the same people in startup events – this is very good of course, as we are creating a strong community, but we need more people to join in. The biggest challenge is to inspire even more Filipinos to take that great leap!”
In the midst of his success, Peter admits that he has made mistakes anyone could possibly imagine. But he did not allow mistakes to stop him from pursuing his goal. “By sheer perseverance, passion, and prayer, STORM is still standing after nearly 7 years, and has been growing steadily,” he says.
Peter knows that being a technopreneur is also a process of learning things about yourself. He muses, “What I’ve learned about myself in recent years is that I really love the startup process – I absolutely love getting the right ideas and the right people together in solving great problems. I guess the HR person in me never left – I want to help other people find their passions. With this end in mind, can it get any better than rallying people to build startups, new entities that are supposed to center around the entrepreneur’s passions?
Looking around what has been happening in the startup scene around the world, I feel the Philippines has been left out a bit. I look at the Techcrunch-type sites around and I notice more and more extremely passionate, talented people taking huge leaps in pursuing their dreams, almost on an everyday basis.”
Peter has some words of wisdom for fresh college graduates and young aspiring entrepreneurs:
“Our graduates by and large think of one path: to make a resume, get hired by a corporation, and work their way up the corporate ladder. Then maybe get an MBA in 3-4 years, ideally abroad, and then resume going up that ladder. Talk to any business graduate of any school and this is what you’ll hear. This is the mind-numbingly singular plan.”
“Ever think about starting a business? What if you took that leap 2 years ago?
It is shuddering to think how many dreams have been quashed, how many creative impulses wasted, how many spirits have been broken, in these corporate jobs where positions matter more than people.”
Peter continues, “No way in hell is this because of a lack of talent. Filipinos are world-renowned talents. No way is it because of a lack of ambition. It is because of a lack of perception. A perception that, yes, someone in her twenties can put up a great, world-class startup. That, yes, you can make a dent in the universe.”
His final piece of advice for those who want to become entrepreneurs?
“Take that leap, Juan.”
Many Filipinos are wondering, why is it that the signing of a very important pact as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which is actually the centerpiece of US President Barack Obama’s visit was not signed by the US and PH presidents? Instead was signed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg hours before the arrival of Pres. Barack Obama. To think, the signing was not even witnessed by the two presidents.
Some pundits believe that the EDCA was not signed by the two heads of state, because US does not want to hurt China in the process. So it is quite obvious that every time the issue of how far Uncle Sam will help the country in times of trouble with China (and/or other aggressor) the safe answer of the big brother – “We are not doing this because of China. We are doing this because we have a longstanding alliance partner [the Philippines]. They are interested in stepping up our military-to-military,” and “we (US) just want a peaceful and safe navigation in the South China Sea”. All rhetoric, but can we fault them in protecting their interests!
We really never learned from the past agreements that we had with the US, always lopsided, favoring the US more and in the end we are shortchanged (again). So the doublespeak of PNoy’s people of not allowing the Filipinos to be shortchanged in the latest pact are all double talk.
Like what the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and other organizations observed – they have been unimpressed, seeing the EDCA as an open invitation to a molester to offer protection against a touted bully. “The oft repeated rationale,” explained Bayan’s secretary Renato M. Reyes, Jr. is that we need this agreement with the US to protect ourselves from Chinese incursions. So what Aquino is basically saying is, to protect Filipinos from the neighborhood bully, we’re inviting a rapist inside our house to do as he pleases.” (by Binoy Kampmark)
Just like what I have been saying for so long now in my writings and daily radio program – this is rape with consent. Again, no thanks to our leaders.
Furthermore, in this EDCA, the so-called camp sharing operation will make the whole country as Uncle Sam’s military base. So the ‘chubibo’ of not going to build new US military bases here is true because through camp sharing scheme, US will not pay any rent and all the AFP’s camps from north to south of the archipelago will be the US ‘military base’, free of charge, translation – ‘rape with consent’. Need we say more?
And remember, back in August 2009, in her affidavit, Navy officer Nancy Gadian accused the US military of building permanent structures in different military camps in the country. She said US forces have established “permanent” and “continuous” presence in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the south.
She added that the Philippine military has no access to the camps built by the US soldiers in these areas since they are “fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines.”
Gadian likewise said these structures are indications the US troops had no intention of leaving the country, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution.
For over a decade now, we are actually being ‘screwed’ with the willingness of past and present administrations in the guise of being part of the coalition of the willing to fight the global war on terror of then President George ‘Dubya” Bush Jr.
And like what former senator Joker Arroyo said “What did the Philippines get out of the Obama visit? Zero.”
Especially on the part of our Filipino war veterans that was tackled by a former ambassador Jose Zaide, a pro- American historian turned patriot in his article (April 28 at the Manila Bulletin) “the more than 250,000 Filipinos who fought for USA in WW2 and shared the same foxholes with US troops were promised equal treatment. But the US Congress 1946 Rescission Act denied Filipino war vets, making a dishonest man of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The Filipino WW2 vets were only collateral damage (add-on) to the Recission Act, which was passed principally for the purpose of controlling excessive claims of US war supplies providers.
In 2009, US Congress threw small bones granting one-time payments of $15,000 to Filipino vets in the USA and $9,000 to those in PH. More crumbs promised to Filipino vets helped swing trusting Pinoys in USA to vote for re-election of Barack Obama.
Our problem is that the GPH representing the Filipino WW2 vets has one eye cocked at its own shopping list (for hand-me-down armaments and surplus and other USAID).
US Congress, which passed the Recission law, would not reverse itself. (No constituency in support of granting monies to historical allies.)
On hindsight, Filipino WW2 vets should do their own pleading, i.e., sue the US government at the US Supreme Court, which will be no less noble than the French Court de Cessation and the British High Court.”
As a whole, all the excitement and fanfare that the Obama visit has created in the country are all ‘chubibo’ and sadly, the current administration welcomed the EDCA with open legs. Carol P. Araullo of Businessworld said the EDCA is a negotiated surrender of our sovereignty.
“Na-EDCA-han na naman tayo”
Political Science sophomore Billy Chang rose from his seat while putting on his back pack and thanking me for the hour-long tête-à-tête we had shared. The young Chinese national strode out of the burger restaurant to catch his class, happily looking forward to sharing with his teacher and classmates some ideas he had just acquired. I had of course made him promise not to identify me as the source of those ideas, and to describe them as mere opinions from a lawyer. Hereunder is a discussion of those opinions.
I find it a bit unfortunate, though not unexpected, that Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has assailed the EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) as having been forged in “bad faith” by and between US Pres. Barack Obama and PH Pres. BS Aquino lll. Well, make no mistake about this: The lady who is the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is among the sharpest lawyers in the upper chamber, but she’s still human, given as she is to AGD (attention getting device) antics at moments least expected. With all due respect, I differ from her opinion for the following reasons.
1) The two EDCA signatories, National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, were no ornery “subalterns”, or subordinates who were unclothed with authority as suggested by MDS, but “alter egos” (other selves) who had been authorized by their respective presidents to act on the document in their behalf;
2) A sensitive examination of the two presidents’ demeanor, their words and manner of speaking and body language, particularly Obama’s, demonstrates a level of diplomacy that is associated with good faith; and
3) In the absence of any palpable indicia of bad faith — and there appears to be none in the premises — the universal principle of “presumption of good faith” shall prevail.
EDCA is an agreement that partakes of the nature of a treaty and, as such, should have been brought to the senate for approval, consistent with the upper house’s constitutional role in treaty making. It isn’t too late, and there should be no problem in that regard because a comfortable majority of the senators are P-Noy’s allies. Until then, EDCA remains open to question before the Supreme Court, although I believe the treaty will ultimately hold sway under its scrutiny.
And as for other EDCA-related issues that have loomed as grounds for attacking the agreement as unconstitutional, the high tribunal will hopefully see those anti-EDCA petitions as exercises in futility, given our people’s widespread pro-American culture and an exigent imperative for a counterbalance against saber-rattling China. The Court may well take judicial notice of our people’s ingrained stars-and-stripes second nature, and recognize it as its wellspring of vitality and direction in the discharge of its office. After all, the judiciary is ordained to serve, like the rest of government, the interests of its creator: the sovereign citizens.
With respect to those Maoists and other Communist-leaning militants who made a lot of infernal racket during Obama’s two-day-one-night state visit, my comment on Billy’s worry is: these Reds mouth nationalism and patriotism, but power is all they want. There is no way they can win the hearts and minds of nearly a hundred million compatriots who oppose them. Let us recall that when Martial Law enforcers hunted them down, many fled the country for Uncle Sam’s protection. During Obama’s state visit, they burned effigies of Uncle Sam. In fact, they have never denounced China’s bullying tactics!! AGD syndrome?!
Incidentally, many seriously question the quality of the United States’ commitment to defend the Philippines under the terms of the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, as modified by EDCA. In this respect, I hold the view that because at that time we had not yet officially defined our West Philippine Sea territory, much less declared an adverse claim to it against the whole world, the “vagueness” of Obama’s commitment to lend us military support in case of external aggression is understandable.
However, this vagueness shouldn’t discourage us from believing that the black US President, whose great rhetoric twice brought him to the White House, used the same verbal finesse not to hoodwink us but to pledge — in the most diplomatic manner possible — America’s willingness to shed her blood in defense of her Filipino brothers in times of war.
Let Mr. Barack Obama’s ironclad pledge continue to peal in the air, in which are couched his delicate reassurances — “…Our goal is not to conquer China; our goal is not to contain China…(but) to make sure that international rules and norms are respected, and that includes in the area of maritime disputes. We don’t go around sending ships and threatening folks.”
If “actions speak louder than words”, diplomacy may again prove more forceful than bullets.
( http://musingsbyroy.wordpress.com | 09186449517 | @rqonald8roy | #musingsbyroy)
SMC, which has diversified from food and beverage to infrastructure, plans to pursue the project under the government’s 25-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme.
MANILA – Foresight could have spurred powerhouse San Miguel Corp. (SMC) to build its proposed US$10 billion airport as the nation’s new international gateway.
Reflecting its dynamism as a major infrastructure builder, the airport takes into account the rapid rise of passenger traffic in Metro Manila, the nation’s trade and industry hub.
From 31.88 million in 2012, the traffic is projected to rise to 49.8 million in 2020, 75 million in 2030, and 106.7 million in 2040.
The projection, which includes expected traffic from neighboring Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions, is based on a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
As SMC has envisioned, the facility aims to replace the congested and more than three decades old
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Pasay city.
As it is now, the NAIA is handling over eight million domestic and international passengers a year, nearly double its designed capacity of 4.5 million.
Unlike the NAIA, the new airport would have four runways to cater to a high-passenger capacity.
Under SMC’s proposal, the airport will initially cover the NAIA’s 400-hectare area to be expanded later to 800 hectares.
The scheme allows SMC to operate the project to recoup investments before turning it over to the
The conglomerate’s proposed airport coincides with the expansion plan of its aviation unit Philippine Airlines (PAL), a joint venture with ethnic Chinese taipan Lucio Tan. SMC has a 49 percent stake in the national flag carrier, while Tan owns the remaining 51 percent.
Eyeing the lucrative United States route, PAL’S plan calls for the deployment of its fleet of newly acquired Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for the long-haul flights to the US.
The flag carrier viewed the reclassification of the country’s aviation safety rating to Category 1 as a boost to tourism and trade that would open new and exciting opportunities for PAL.
Passengers can enjoy nonstop flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco aboard new aircraft equipped with the most modern cabin and state-of the-art amenities, including lie-flat beds in business class, PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said.
Currently, PAL operates a total of 26 weekly flights to the US, with frequencies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam.
The flag carrier intends to deploy six Boeing 777-300Ers costing about US$1.2 billion, part of the airline’s fleet modernization program, for the US flights.
For flights to Honolulu and Guam, PAL will continue to utilize new wide-body Airbus A330-300s and single-aisle A320-200s.
Apart from fostering a new era in the flag carrier’s transpacific service, Ang said PAL would also explore possible airline partnerships with foreign carriers to maximize the company’s growth potential.
Come 2016, the Aquino administration will be on its sixth year of failure to address MRT3 passenger overcrowding.
Even after PNoy’s term is over, the MRT3 station running from North EDSA to Taft will still be an unsafe place to be in during rush hour.
Studies on modern railways the world over all agree on one thing: overcrowded trains and train stations equals more accidents equals more passenger deaths.
There is a certain point when apologies become tiring, because it is becoming repetitive and scripted. Commuters have over-extended their patience these past four years.
Assurances by Secretary Herminio Coloma are becoming hollow and meaningless in light of the malfunctioning facilities in almost every MRT3 station.
If it’s not the often-broken escalators, it’s the comfort rooms that do not just have faulty faucets, but ill-maintained sanitation. Even the train station computers are reported to be malfunctioning.
Why can’t the MRT management emulate Tokyo train stations? They hired packers who help squeeze passengers into the train cars, and can do so in such an orderly manner.
BAYAN MUNA Rep. Neri Colmenares is only stating what has already been obvious: four years of failure to solve overcrowding is a sign of incompetence on the part of Malacanang.
If you want to see the current state of a country, you only need to look at how it runs train stations.
After a well-hyped press release on the government takeover of the MRT3 last January 2014, commuter woes are still mounting, with no solution in sight.
It makes one think that the promised takeover may save the government billions of pesos, but it will surely tax daily commuters.
It is like being between a rock and a hard place. Either you take the overspeeding buses in EDSA, or you get yourself squeezed like sardines in the MRT during rush hour.
That is not much of a choice. That is a threat to one’s life and safety.
The rebirth of a Philippine world-class product
By Allysa Faye Greganda
By 2020, the world’s need for cacao beans is projected to increase by 30%, yet the country’s production has yet to meet the demand. If our cacao industry can do so, then there is hope for the Philippine agricultural sector.
While Filipinos crave for imported chocolates, better think again: first-rate quality cocoa can be grownin your backyard. It is the same reason why the Department of Agriculture keeps an eye on this delectable opportunity for the country’s agri-production.
This month, DA just handed an initial P14M for cacaoagri-business zones (CABZs) in Davao City.
Being endowed with such perfect soil composition and sun temperature, the Philippine’s cacao industry is a potential big exporter—only if more farmers would invest into it.
The truth is, cacao seeds do not grow in thewestern countries known to produce these mouth-watering chocolates, including Japan. Raising cacao trees haveclimatic requirements.
Rainfall should range from 1250 to 3000 mm per annum while 1500-2000 mm during dry season of not more than 3 months. Maximum temperature is 32°C and the minimum is 18°C. Altitude of the area must lie between 300-1200 meters above sea level.
Cacao thrives best in areas with evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. As of now, cacao plantations can be found in the areas of Mindanao specially Davao and CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) in Luzon.
The cacao industry has never grown into its full potential. Moreover, we even import 20,000 metric tons of cocoa beans from Africa last 2008 up to this date, costing $42 million a year.
During 1980s, Philippines has shared 20% of the world’s need for cocoa. The industry declinedaltogether with the rise of CARP.
Discovering these lost chances, the DA and Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) made partnerships with different companies to help boost cacao farming in the country.
BAR also collaborated with Cocoaphil for the Sustainable Cacao Program. The target now is to be able to produce 100,000 metric tons by 2020 from our usual production of 25,000 metric tons yearly.
As for the initial funding, P1.75 million has been allotted for the distribution of seedlings.
P2.5 million goes for production equipment’s and machinery. Post-harvest facilities and other infrastructure costs P6.22 million, marketing development services amounts to P200,000, while P615,000 budget allotted in training for new and current cacao industry players.
Made in the Philippines
“Dry like a full bodied well-aged red wine,” these were the words Shawn Askinosie of the world’s famous Zingerman’s Deli said to describe the Philippine Tablea (chocolate).
So far, there had been few who attempts in making it into the exporting world—all by themselves. Rob Crisostomo started as a simple farmer then eventually founded the Seed Core Enterprises in Davao.
He now exports container load of Philippine cacao to Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest supplier of high quality chocolate and cacao products. It just proves that cacao made in the Philippines is globally competitive.
This will not only give glory to the country but also provide livelihood for many families.
The secret of Philippine cacao beans is in how our farmers carefully process the seedlings from planting, harvesting and even in quality control phase. Filipino women are the usual laborers in cacao plantations. DA said that this type of farming is gender-sensitive, that is why women are the preferred laborers.
As of now, there are 20,000 hectares of cacao trees in Davao, and 70% of the annual production of the crop come from the same province. The industry has helped 16,000 farmers and 340 cooperatives, according to Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.
Indeed, this industry has becoming a good source of livelihood for most Filipinos in the South.
It is a wise decision for DA to finally revive the cacao industry. This can even lift the country into poverty. We should focus more into utilizing our lands because the Philippines’climate and environment has the perfect set up for growing such crops.
Our true wealth is our agriculture because not all countries are capable of producing crops such as cacao beans. Our government has to realize that prosperity in our country does not merely relyon just ICT, business empires and technology.
It will be beneficial for the country’s economy if the budget allocation for this industry is increased.
(Ms. Greganda is a graduating student of AB Communication in the University of Perpetual Help System Laguna. She is currently working in OpinYon as an intern. She also loves sweets, including chocolate.)
Ex-Im Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working-capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
In what could be a landmark deal, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has signed a US$1 billion energy-based memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Philippines’ Department of Energy (DOE).
Specifically, the MOU targets renewable-energy and liquefied natural gas projects in hopes of upgrading and expanding the Philippine energy supply as part of US-Philippines bilateral cooperation.
“The arrangement is a win-win for both our nations and evidences our deep ties and cooperation on numerous economic fronts,” Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg said in a statement released by the US embassy in Manila.
The MOU was signed recently in Washington, DC by Ex-Im Bank board director Patricia Loui and DOE undersecretary Raul B. Aguilos.
Under the MOU, Ex-Im Bank and the DOE will exchange information with an eye to matching development needs in the Philippines with innovative goods and services offered by American exporters.
Since 1993, Ex-Im Bank provided US$1.3 billion in energy-sector finance to the Philippines.
“We aim to outdo ourselves and target another billion with this memorandum of understanding,” Loui said.
“Our expertise can contribute both to the renovation of current energy-production facilities and the construction of new ones,” she added.
In 1994, Ex-Im Bank financed the first project-finance transactions in the Philippines for geothermal energy – the Cebu geothermal, US$170 million; and the Mahanagdong geothermal project, also in Cebu, US$211 million.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that creates and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers.
The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working-capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
In the past fiscal year alone, Ex-Im Bank earned for U.S. taxpayers more than US$1 billion above the cost of operations.
In FY 2013, Ex-Im Bank approved more than US$27 billion in total authorizations to support an estimated $37.4 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 205,000 American jobs in communities across the country.
This year, the Bank approved a record 3,413 transactions– or 89 percent–for small-businesses.
The Ex-Im DOE deal is in line with the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth (PPG), program.
The highly innovative program, which resulted from US President Obama’s September 2010 policy directive on global development, is a high-level initiative focused on economic growth in countries committed to good governance.
In the Philippines, the PPG aligns with policy reform areas outlined by President Aquino in the Philippine Development Plan.
Under the plan, the US has committed to placing the Philippines on a path to sustained and more inclusive economic growth, and elevating it to the ranks of other high-performing emerging economies.
As envisioned, the US-backed PPG takes a comprehensive approach to development that reaches beyond traditional foreign assistance.
It also aims to address the most significant constraints to growth and to stimulate inclusive economic expansion. A joint analysis identified governance and inability to capture revenue as the top constraints to growth in the Philippines.
The PPG leverages the resources and tools of partners, especially the private sector, to increase the effectiveness of policies and institutions necessary for development.
USAID and Millennium Challenge Corporation provides more than US$800 million funding over five years to support PPG projects.
The U.S.-Philippines five-year Joint Country Action Plan prioritized the creation of a more transparent, predictable, and consistent legal and regulatory regime.
Similarly, it seeks to foster a more open and competitive business environment, strengthen the rule of law and support fiscal stability through better revenue and expenditure management.
The U.S. government has committed to a sustained inter-agency engagement in support of the PPG’s goal and objectives.
Since2011, the Philippine government has made significant progress in implementing policy and institutional reforms.
It has also achieved remarkable improvements in economic growth, competitiveness, tax revenues, and sovereign debt ranking to ensure that the growth generated is inclusive and sustainable.