Monday, August 24, 2015

Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups launched by DOST-ICTO at Geeks on a Beach 3, eyes more startups by 2020

Posted By: Zeno Martinez - Monday, August 24, 2015

The Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICT Office) launched the Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups on August 20 at Boracay Island, Aklan. 

Launched in conjunction with Geeks on a Beach, one of the biggest international startup events in the country, the roadmap provides a framework for developing the Philippine Startup ecosystem, which mainly consists of internet- related innovation.

While the startup ecosystem in the Philippines is still at its infancy stages, a nationwide interest in this sector is emerging, as affirmed by consecutive startups events and competitions all throughout the country. There are currently around 20 accelerators, incubators, and venture capitalists present here in the Philippines, and at least 100 operating tech startups.

In spite of the development and dynamism of the local startup scene, the government, together with the local movers and shakers of this sector realizes there are still lots of things to be developed and improved as the country prepares to be a global startup hub. Being a nation with one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and with a young and tech savvy population, the Philippines also has other competitive advantages – low operating costs, English language proficiency, and minimal business competition, which makes the country conducive for startup businesses.

“This roadmap aims to develop a coherent and consistent strategic plan for the country’s innovative ecosystem, engaging members of both public and private sectors. Ultimately, our goal is to generate startups that drive economic growth and provide solutions to our society’s most pervasive issues. This is a project for the startup community, and by the community itself,” said Monchito Ibrahim, eInnovation Deputy Executive Director of the DOST - ICT Office. 

To date, no local startup has surpassed the $50 million in valuation. The country’s leading startups-turned-big-companies are (now, Chikka, Airborne Access, Netbooster, Xurpas, iRemit, and Morphlabs. When it comes to the academe, digital entrepreneurship courses are yet to be introduced in colleges and universities, but a number of top universities have already taken steps forward by housing student startups.

“We have identified areas of the ecosystem that need improvement and the programs needed to address such areas. We need to ensure that each player of the ecosystem – academe, investors, and startups, among others - plays a role. It is imperative for all sectors to play their respective roles in the ecosystem to move forward,” added Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim.

By 2020, the roadmap targets to achieve at least 500 Philippine startups with a cumulative valuation of $2 billion, resulting to 8,500 high-skilled jobs created, 1,250 startup founders, 15,166,684 users acquired, and 719, 737 paying customers.

Commissioned by the ICT Office, the roadmap is a product of the collaboration of no less than the most experienced names in the country’s local tech industry. The Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Philippine Development Foundation, Kickstart, Ideaspace, and highlight the list of roundtable contributors. Former entrepreneurs, foreign startup founders, investors, academicians, policymakers, and grassroots representatives were also part of the roadmap team.

The Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups is a project under the seedPH initiative of DOST-ICT Office, which aims to cultivate the Philippine Startup Ecosystem by conducting advocacy campaigns, capability development programs, and research initiatives.

Aside from the Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups, the ICT Office is also the government agency leading the Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places project. This project aims to achieve 99% national connectivity by providing Internet connection to class 4, 5, and 6 municipalities in the country. Launched last July 24, the Office has started rolling out the Free Wi-fi connection in various areas in Manila and Quezon City.

To know more about the government and startup community’s vision for the Philippine startup ecosystem, feel free to contact:

ICT Office                                      

Katrina Ner                                            Tina Amper
9200101 loc 1301                         

In photo : Philippine Roadmap for Digital Startups Contributors together with Deputy Executive Director Monchito Ibrahim and Karl Satintigan from the Office of Sen. Bam Aquino (L-R) Christian Besler (Kickstart), Jojo Flores (Plug and Play), Jay Fajardo (Launch Garage), Earl Valencia (Ideaspace), Monchito Ibrahim (DOST-ICTO), Karl Satintigan (Office of Sen. Bam Aquino), Beryl Li (Senior Researcher), Christina Laskowski (STAC Silicon Valley), Tina Amper (, Arup Maity (PSIA). Contributors that are not in the picture: Paco Sandejas and Dado Banatao from Phil Dev, Minette Navarette from Kickstart and RJ David from and Ron Hose from (photo courtesy of

Billboards: An Industry of Congestion

Posted By: Jessel Munoz - Monday, August 24, 2015
BEING stuck in traffic has become part of everyday life in the Philippines — the cost people pay to enjoy the benefits of city living.

But the frustrations of many can be a gold mine to some — and it’s hard to imagine an industry benefiting more from road congestion, with the captive audience it creates, than billboard companies.

“Traffic is a main contributor to the growth of out-of-home (OOH) media because as people are stuck in the cars and in public transportation, the more they will be away from traditional media,” said Lloyd Tronco, Executive Director of the Philippine Center for Out-Of-Home Media Research and Science (PhilCOuRSe), in an interview with BusinessWorld.

For Mr. Tronco, the OOH media industry, which is behind the billboards on major thoroughfares, is “fueled by traffic,” and that until the congestion problems are solved, OOH “will become more relevant.”

The average travel time on EDSA, from Monumento to Taft Ave., is 95 minutes, which can rise to 180 minutes in peak hours. Data from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the the Land Transportation Office suggest that clogged roads in the Philippine capital cost the economy P2.4 billion a day, or around P200 per capita.

Part of the reason for this congestion is that hardly anyone ever stays home. Astudy published by PhilCOuRSe reveals that only 14% of Filipinos stay at home 100% of the day while the 86% are out and about, creating the traffic that helps make OOH a viable alternative to other forms of media.

“And even for the 14% who say they remain at home, within the span of the time they are at home, a quick run to the corner sari-sari store will expose them to an outdoor ad. Though not necessarily a big billboard on EDSA, it is still OOH media,” Mr. Tronco said.

Billboards are nothing fancy technology-wise — in fact they’re thought to be one of the earliest forms of advertising. They took off sometime in the late 18th century, when lithography made the commercial printing of large signs possible.

Yet the old dog still has has a lot of tricks in it — in the Philippines OOH media spending commanded 11.2% of total advertising expenditure in 2013 — significantly higher than the global average of 7.4%. That 2013 represents a steady rise from 7% in 2007. But the conditions for the rise of OOH were sown long before, in the dramatic rise of vehicle ownership over the last three decades, from a mere 446,000 in 1980 to 1.9 million in 2010.

Beyond vehicle ownership and congestion, could there be cultural reasons behind the popularity of the medium?

“Pinoys love billboards,” Mr. Tronco said. “Even at the turn of the century, you will find billboards posted on the top of stores in Binondo and Escolta... It is the quickest way to tell the public that you are selling something.”

“Add to the fact Pinoys are artists. The popularity of billboards is tied in with the fact that many sign painters could come up with good signs in a few days. Recently, the quick turnaround in terms of production due to digital tarpaulin printing made it even more popular,” he added.

Remrick E . Patagan, Research Director of the Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis (IDEA), believes the growth of the OOH “billboard” industry hinges on the natural reliance on visual focal points, especially when traveling.

“Because people tend to rely more on their sense of sight, visual forms of advertising becomes more appealing. They (the billboards) also have an advantage in terms of being seen by a wide range of people over multiple times,” he told BusinessWorld via e-mail. “This helps create lasting impressions that can be reinforced through repeated visual contact.”

He also shares Mr. Tronco’s insight that “traffic congestion likely plays a large role in the growth of out-of-home advertising ” as slow speeds on the roads force commuters to be consumers of OOH media.

“Traffic congestion leads to slower vehicular speeds and long commuting times, essentially creating a captive market of commuters that can be exposed to visual advertisement,” Mr. Patagan said.

He added that contributing factors would be “population density, with Metro Manila having one of the highest in the world, and lack of regulation.”

The process of erecting billboards, according to Zeno Martinez, Business Innovations Manager at NextMedia Advertising & Communications, is a collaboration between the vendor and the advertiser.

“The billboard is owned by a vendor. The vendor puts up the structure then leases the property — he sells it to the agency or the advertiser,” he told BusinessWorld in an interview.

The contracts for billboards, according to Mr. Martinez used to be standardized at one year, but terms have shortened as advertisers become more aggressive with their campaigns. “Usually the practice is a three-month campaign whether it’s for a new consumer product, real estate, etc.” 

When it comes to regulation, however, there are no clear guidelines on the installation and operation of billboards, and the current arrangements mean the industry is largely self-regulating.

With the closing of the Advertising Board of the Philippines in October, much of the regulation fell onto the lap of the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP) — formed by advertisers in 1964 to promote the growth of the industry. 

But according to Mr. Tronco, who is also a member of the OAAP, the government needs to step in with laws to govern the industry.

“A Magna Carta is needed for everything to be clearer because right now, the billboard operators are building on the basis of obtaining building permits and following the building code. But there are no clear stipulations pertaining to billboards. It’s a gray area,” he added.

It was an unexpected event from 2006 — typhoon Milenyo (international name: Xangsane) — that helped tighten up building standards after the toppling of more than 20 billboards.

“Things became stricter. Whenever there’s a storm or typhoon nearing, we broadcast it to the members of the OAAP to take them (the billboards) down,” said Mr. Martinez.

“The supplier bear the costs of putting them down but the advertisers don’t charge extra for the lost exposure time. By now, the advertisers 
understand that it has to be rolled down because if they topple, they’ll be the ones to draw the flak from social media,” he added.

Much of the controversy about billboards involves allegations that they constitute a traffic hazard, and that the space used for billboards could have been used for other things, which Mr. Tronco disputes

“There is no substantial data that will show that an accident was caused by billboards. In fact, the distractions of mobile devices are more dangerous. Nowadays, people text or check their Facebook while driving.”

Mr. Martinez concurs. “If you track accident data, the main causes are reckless bus drivers, taxi drivers, driving while texting, etc. The targets of billboards are mostly commuters or passengers, not the drivers themselves. In fact, I think, psychologically, billboards provide relaxation for those stuck in traffic.”

As for the space argument, Bank of the Philippine Islands Associate Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa believes that “In terms of efficiency, I would have to say it is given that the space cannot be used for any other purpose, save for advertising.”

For his part, Mr. Patagan says: “Whether the use of billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising represents an efficient use of space will largely depend on how society values visual spaces. Those values will in turn be determined by physical, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions.”

He added that “the prevalence of billboards and outdoor advertising is premised on the assumption that visual space is best used for commercial purposes, with corresponding economic benefits for both advertisers and owners of the properties where the ads are located. But others might value clear urban sight lines over visual ads, for instance.”

- Agbayani P. Pingol, BusinessWorld University Edition Vol. 1 Issue 19

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pisay's Office of the Registrar Reminds Parents Of Application Deadline

Posted By: Tech Support - Wednesday, August 19, 2015
PSHS National Competitive Examinations on Oct 3, 2015:

The Office of the PSHS Diliman Campus Registrar is open on August 15, 2015, from 730am to 430pm, to accept and process applications. We will, however, be closed on August 19 (QC day) and Aug 21 (Ninoy Aquino day).

Deadline for filing of applications is on August 24, 2015.

Bacolod City Hosts The 10th Knowledge Exchange Conference for Community eCenters (KEC10)

Posted By: Tech Support - Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Bacolod City Councilor Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue with some of the speakers which include UP Open University Dean and Professor Dr. Melinda Bandalaria and Honorable Francisco Ashley Acedillo of MAGDALO Party List
BACOLOD, Philippines - “Times are changing and this new and future technology is leading the way,” Mayor Monico Puentevella said as he welcomed the guests of the 10th Knowledge Exchange Conference (KEC) for Community eCenters yesterday.

With over 300 delegates all over the Philippines, KEC10 aims to exchange ideas and knowledge among eCenter managers, Local Chief Executives, telecenter stakeholders and ICT4D enthusiasts. It is held annually by the Philippine Community eCenter Network (PhilCecNet) in coordination with the ICT Office (DOST).

During the conference, speakers will talk about Social Entrepreneurship, Rural Impact Sourcing and the CeCs, TESDA Online Program and how your CeC can participate with the program, eHealth and many more. There will be sharing of good practices in eCenter operations with other ICT4D advocates and members of PhilCecNet.

In the welcome remarks, the mayor further expressed that “life would be difficult” without modern technology, saying that everything from mobile devices to social media are constantly being used by the majority to expand their reach to the world.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies are also instrumental in offering employment to the community and that others have already established a career in the industry, he added.

“They are vital for the economic growth of city and one of the reasons why Bacolod is now booming,” said Puentevella.

The exchange is necessary not just for the city but for the nation as a whole.  In one of the sessions,
Rep. Ashley Acedillo, one of the proponents for the creation of a DICT bill also mentioned, "The DICT is not going to be bureaucratic but visionary. The only way for it to be visionary is to entrench a mechanism of private and public sector cooperation - the initiative on the DICT must be from the ground up."

The KEC is an annual event organized by the Philippine Community eCenter Network (PhilCecNet) in coordination with the ICT Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). This year’s theme, “CeCs for Inclusive Growth and Development: Connecting, Sharing, Empowering” will center on the CeCs changing role of connecting the community amidst free Internet access and their strategic and critical position to the hub for sharing relevant content and resources as well as empowering mechanisms through education and gainful economic engagements.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Behind-the-Scenes of Discovery Camp 2015

Posted By: Jessel Munoz - Monday, August 03, 2015
Beyond the participants’ knowledge, there was a lot of behind-the-scenes action happening during the camp.

As facilitators, we were pulled in all directions. Discovery being the pioneering camp of our organization, we facilitators had to deal with a lot of firsts. The activities we researched and created for the camp had to be tested and adjusted. The food had to be organized and paid for. The materials for the different games had to be prepared. The rubrics for the contest and the outlines for talks had to be organized and reviewed. Speakers for talks had to be contacted. The sleeping arrangements and safety of the participants had to be prioritized. I’d find myself carrying materials to and from activity locations, in charge of a station in our Amazing Race activity, on shift for guard duty during Stargazing, and I’d ask myself “When did I sign up for this particular job?”.

As facilitators, we had to deal with a lot of responsibilities. We were all fresh graduates of Philippine Science High School – Main Campus, but we were pushed to take charge of security, communications, and logistics. We were the one pulling our own weight around, calling the shots whenever a major decision had to be made. Each of us was counted on to step up whenever an emergency came up or whenever we were free to help.

As facilitators, we had to stretch ourselves to accommodate our participants. We learned how to reach out and make friends with people from different walks of life. We learned how to relate with people from both public and private high schools, and how to enjoy each other’s company. We learned how to cheer them on when they were having a hard time in the different activities we prepared, how to kill dead silences and get them energized and ready for all the fun things waiting for them. We learned how to enjoy watching them enjoy the camp.

As facilitators, we also had our own fun – not in the way you expect. To prepare for the next day of activities, we would have to stay up late in the night writing down questions for the Amazing race, preparing Powerpoints for the talks the next day, testing out the different team building activities in the most hilarious ways possible, and evaluating our progress so far. Sometimes we would stay up all night working together and realize that it was already early in the morning and we only had two hours of sleep left. These late work sessions strengthened the bonds between us facilitators beyond the usual team building.

Beyond the participants’ knowledge, there was a lot of behind-the-scenes action happening during the camp: challenges that really tested our adaptability, our stamina, and our teamwork. That the camp became a success was a big relief and reward, and was definitely worth all the trouble. To have been a part of this experience, and to see how all our participants were enjoying, made me happy to have served them.

- Robin Racela, Facilitator/ ISIP Member 

A Teacher's Discovery

Posted By: Jessel Munoz - Monday, August 03, 2015
It all started in the dorm. I happened to be the dorm volunteer who was assigned to the seniors’ floor, and there I met the founders of ISIP (Integrating Science in the Philippines). I always see them huddled, discussing about their great plans of changing the landscape of the country by getting the youth to appreciate science. From time to time I get involved in their discussions that go all the way from coming up with a corporation, to supporting student researches. On one typical conversation with them, I exclaimed, “If you need me on anything, just tell me. I will do what I can. Never did I know that this will change my life.

Later that month, I had a conversation with Pau, one of the founders. They were in need of an adviser to assist them in a science camp that they had envisioned. I was surprised; I haven’t really had a lot of experience supervising an entire camp, let alone a camp with me as the only adult! However, he held me accountable to my statement, so I said, “Ok, I’ll do what I can.”

The science camp had Discovery as its central theme. The plan was to have high school students from different walks of life (public and private, Grades 7-10, from all over the country) discover the scientific method through lectures, workshops, and games. This will then culminate in a project pitch, where they can somehow apply what they have learned in a project which will address an environmental concern. In all the activities, the recent graduates of Pisay served as the organizers and facilitators, while teachers were there to supervise the events.

While in the camp, I was just amazed on how much these students, both the organizers and the participants, had accomplished. The participants bonded quickly, and they showed that hunger to learn more. They were able to form friendships in the short time that they were in Pisay. On the other hand, the organizers, young as they are, were able to conceptualize and facilitate in workshops and activities. They did an excellent job in demonstrating to the participants that age is not a limitation for them to be able to come up with a successful science camp. 

In some moments during the camp, I thought I was witnessing two different camps: a camp where students learn about science and apply them in life, and another camp where future leaders got their training in handling people, situations and stress. It was such a weird feeling that, young as I thought I was, I felt really old. They all showed zeal (they just had so much energy, I barely kept up with them), idealism (the feeling that everything is possible),  and passion (they were all willing to give their best in everything). I learned loads from my interactions with them. Not only did I have the chance to make an impact in the lives of students, they were also able to make a lasting influence in my life. I got to know who I am, what I can and cannot do, my responsibilities as an educator to inspire the youth, and how to manage events such as camps. Truly, I was able to discover a lot at Discovery.

- Mark Ayaay, Teacher 

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