Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NICP Open Statement on the Proposed Reduction of Tax Incentives for ICT-Enabled Industries

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NICP Open Statement on the Proposed Reduction of Tax Incentives for ICT-Enabled Industries

May 31, 2017

We, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Councils of our respective cities, provinces and regions from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao under the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines most respectfully appeal to His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines and the 17th Congress of The Republic of the Philippines for the continuation,  retention and expansion of current fiscal incentives of Information and Communications Technology - Business Process Management (ICT-BPM) companies in the Philippines in order to generate jobs and investments especially in the countryside, sustain the growth of the said industry, which accounts for the increase in the country's GDP along side OFW remittances, and achieve the current administration's target to ensure inclusive socio-economic growth.

The proposed tax reforms of the current administration are laudable especially insofar as increasing the net income of the middle class by reducing individual income tax base. But taxation is not only a means to generate revenues, it is also a tool to develop and grow industries that are relevant and sustainable especially in areas where there are less jobs and opportunities. Across the globe, developing countries use tax incentives as a means to attract direct foreign investments to solve unemployment, engage in technology transfer and intensify development of preferred industries. 

Today, the Philippines is among the global leaders for ICT-enabled jobs, because of our very strong customer service culture, excellent English communication skills and high-level of digital literacy. But above all, from the countryside perspective, the Philippines has leveraged on the strength and potential of its non-metropolis locations or provinces which abound with talent. Seventy percent of the country's graduates are outside of Metro Manila and because of the attractive national tax incentives and the dynamism of provincial locations through its respective ICT councils, ICT-BPM companies have started to set up in Tier 2 and 3 cities, thereby creating the necessary jobs and investment opportunities. Real estate facilities such as ICT parks and centers accredited under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority has begun to flourish in the provinces and thus stimulating the real estate and allied businesses. Because of the thousands of jobs generated by these companies outside of Metro Manila, the growth of support services such as food, transportation, health services, housing and other ancillary services have all increased. The educational sector has been continuously upgrading its quality due to the global requirements. Filipino entrepreneurs have begun to set of up their own companies to also share in the ever increasing global demand for services and digital products. Many provinces have followed the lead of industry associations in creating ecosystems for high value ICT services such as animation, game development, health care information management, finance and accounting, software development, and many other complex segments.

By reducing or removing the current set of tax incentives for ICT-BPM companies - the most affected segment is the provincials locations which currently take advantage of national incentives under a centralized government structure.

Introducing VAT on BPO services could have very damaging repercussions for growth, expansion and sustainability of this industry in the countryside. The inevitable implication for BPO services will be an increase in cost, affecting employees current benefits, and any form of expansion and at worst, for them to explore low-cost economies for their BPO operations.

It is our most humble appeal that the government retain the current incentive package of the ICT-BPM industry and encourage their expansion in provincial location. In the alternative, we appeal that these companies be allowed tax deductions for any relevant talent development programs it will invest in to grow and ensure the quality of talent in the countryside.  

We fully support the goal of the current administration to create jobs and investments for inclusive and together with the government, the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) and all its member ICT councils vow to contribute ONE MILLION ICT JOBS by 2022 in the countryside.

National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) 

Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue
Head, NICP Public Sector and Policy Committee
09228721447

Stephanie Rosalind R. Caragos
President, NICP
09778052681

Separate Concurrences: 

Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNEFIT), Inc.

Cagayan de Oro ICT Business Council

Laguna Industry Network for Knowledge, Innovation & Technology Foundation (LINK-IT)

Albay ICT Association, Inc. – Legazpi City ICT Council (AICTA-LCICTC)

ICT@Bicol

Capiz Information and Communications Technology 

Iloilo Federation for Information Technology (IFIT) Inc.

Zamboanga ICT Council 

Kapatagan ICT Council (and Lanao del Norte ICT Council)

ICT Solutions Association of Region 12 - General Santos City (ISA 12-GSC)






Monday, May 29, 2017

List of Science High Schools in the Philippines

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, May 29, 2017

The Manila Science High School (MaSci) was established in 1963. It was the first science high school in the country. It was patterned after the Bronx Science High School of New York. 1963 was when the first batch that entered the pilot science high school graduated. It started in 1959 with 36 students.

In 1964, the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) was established. It was under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The premier science high school in the country, it is considered among the top science high schools in ASEAN. Aside from its main campus in Diliman, Quezon City, it has 12 other regional campuses in the Philippines.

Aside from the PSHS and the MaSci, other science high schools were established to further spread the education of those inclined in the sciences. The Department of Education (DepEd) through the Local Government Units (LGUs) fund and administer these science high schools. These are categorized accordingly:

1. Regional
2. Provincial
3. City

These science high schools number 59 in all. These are the following:

A
Alabel National Science High School
Angeles City Science High School
ARMM Regional Science High School
Aurora National Science High School

B
Baguio City National High School
Bais City National Science High School
Batanes National Science High School
Batangas Province Science High School
Batangas Science School
Bicol Regional Science High School

C
Cagayan National High School
Cavite National Science High School
Central Luzon State University Science High School
Cordillera Regional Science High School

D
Davao Oriental Regional Science High School
Digos City National High School
Dumaguete Science High School

E
Eastern Visayas Regional Science High School

G
Gusa Regional Science High School
Gusa Regional Science High School - X

K
Kabasalan Science and Technology High School

L
Laguna BelAir School
Lipa City National Science High School

M
City of Mandaluyong Science High School
Makati Science High School
Mandaue City Science High School
Medellin National Science High School
MIMAROPA Regional Science High School
Minglanilla Science High School
Misamis Occidental Science and Technology High School

N
Naga City Science High School
Negros Occidental National Science High School

O
Olongapo City National High School

P
Pacita Complex National High School
Template:Philippine Science High Schools Puerto Princesa City National Science High School
Pasig City Science High School

Q
Quezon Science High School
Quezon City Science High School

R
Regional Science High School for Region 1
Regional Science High School III
Rizal National Science High School
Roosevelt College Science High School

S
St. Clare Science High School
San Pablo City Science High School
Santa Rosa Science and Technology High School
Siquijor Provincial Science High School

T
Tagaytay City National Science High School
Tagbilaran City Science High School
Taguig City Science High School
Talisay City Science High School
Tandag National Science High School
Tanjay Science High School
Toledo Science High School
Tuguegarao City Science High School
Tumauini Regional Science High School*

U
Ubay National Science High School
University of Baguio Science High School

V
Victorias City Science High School

Z
Zamboanga del Norte National High School

List is subject to changes and updates

Techblade is an advocate of the use of science and technology for national development and progress. Thus, Techblade will continue to support the activities and endeavors of these science high schools by publishing the relevant stories that each one of them undertakes.

Posted by The Mailman 5/29/2017 13:03 PM
*Updated 5/31/2017 9:48 AM



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FAB LAB Mindanao celebrates THE ARCHITECTURE AND CITY

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

In celebration of FAB LAB Mindanao’s THE ARCHITECTURE AND CITY guest speaker Paul Joseph Blasco, the Principal Architect of Blasco Architect, enlightened the young architects and engineers of Mindanao State University Iligan Institute of Technology.

Years of expertise and experience led him to impart the different strategies and progress, comparing the local cities of the Philippines to the advancement of other nations such as Singapore and the city of Siem Reap.

Integrating the imperfections and varieties on the job. More often than not, clients have different ideas and inspiration in their desired house; ideas that disagree or contradict architectural designing. He motivates the embracing of these flaws, creating a design in reflection to the owner’s identity. Associating artistic designs such as Piet Mondrian is common in his work. 

“Architectural designs invite people. Progress invites talent.” Blasco says in his speech. “We should learn to practice the People First policy, because if a city invests its people, people invest the city.”


FAB LAB Mindanao’s THE ARCHITECTURE AND CITY was graced by special guest and speaker: honorable Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV on May 18, 2017.

His presence involves his contribution to the promotion of ‘micro and small enterprises’. “Progress matters in all of those MSE (micro and small enterprises).” Senator Bam says. “Their progress is equal to national progress.” He explains the different boosts and advancements to aid the MSE and the students who would soon run these enterprises.

The Vice-Chancellor of Mindanao State University Iligan Institute of Technology: Edgar W. Ignacio, Ph.D. welcomed the said speaker. Upon Senator Bam’s arrival, he was granted the tour to visit various offices present in the said school.

Some of the said offices include: Center of Innovation and Technopreneurship, IDEYA Office and FAB LAB Mindanao Office.

By: Czarina Grace B. Del Valle







Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WannaCry Malware Wreaks Global Havoc

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, May 17, 2017

As of May 16, 2017, a ransomware called WannaCry  has infected at least 300,000 computer systems worldwide. This attack on cybersystems is unprecedented and together with its speed of transmission, it is expected to result in more infections and the spread of the cyber contagion.

This ransomware attacks computers by freezing the computer and demanding a “ransom” of US$300.00 payable in Bitcoin so the user gets to regain control  of his computer. If payment has not been immediately made, then the price escalates and after 3 days, the files will be deleted.

The attack spanned more than 100 countries and has wreaked destruction on industries as diverse as the National Health System hospitals in the UK, telecoms such as Telefonica in Spain, FedEx in the US Banks in Russia, Universities in China and train systems in Germany.

The ransomware attacks continued all throughout the weekend and more was expected upon resumption work  last May, 15, 2017.

“It was essentially an indiscriminate attack across the world,” Europol director Rob Wainwright said. “It’s a massive reminder to sectors right across the world cyber security should be a topline strategic priority.”

It was also reported that the rasomware is a weaponized version of what was kept in the US National Security Agency an discovered by the perpetrators during data dump from the NSA.

In the Philippines, the Department of Justice (DOJ) instructed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to tighten Philippine Cyber Security. 

A large Philippine Unibank immediately rolled out a “Fix” during the weekend and is awaiting further developments. According to a source that wants to be unrevealed, the problem starts from operating systems that have not been updated with the Windows patch last March. The ransomware appears to infect unupdated  operingb systems and older versions of Microsoft Windows.

There has been a “kill switch” discovered by a researcher in UK that seems to have stemmed the attacks somewhat.

Local IT experts interviewed by TechBlade gave recommendations that OS must be updated or editing the registry of the OS be undertaken as stated below:

disable SMBv1 on windows: Registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\ParametersRegistry entry: SMB1 REG_DWORD: 0 = Disabled REG_DWORD: 1 = Enabled Default: 1 = Enabled

The IT experts also added that the malware has no site so it is difficult to trace. H lso described how it functions.

"The crucial web address is found in a small section of code, the purpose of which is still unclear. When the program is infecting a new computer, it first checks an obscure web address — iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea.com — to see if the domain is registered. As long as the domain is unoccupied, the infection proceeds, encrypting the computer’s hard drive and locking it down until the ransom is paid.if unoccupied, the system will just return an error 404, meaning the website does not exist."

Last May 16, 2017, cybersecurity firms hava already attributed the attack as coming from North Korea. “We believe this might hold the key to solve some of the mysteries around this attack,” said researchers at the Russian-based security firm Kaspersky, adding that further research was needed.

Israeli-based security firm Intezer Labs said it agreed with the North Korea attribution.

A second wave of attacks is also expected.






Monday, May 15, 2017

Senator cites lack of scientists in PH

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, May 15, 2017

Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino filed Senate Bill No. 175 so as to address the need for more scientists in the country. 

It goes without saying that national development and progress is driven by the number of scientists in research and development and according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco), the ratio of scientists for every million in the population must be 380 scientists per million. 

In this regard, with the current population of the Philippines at 104 million, the country needs an additional 19,000 scientists since the ratio now is only 189 scientists per million in the Philippines. 

The Filipino “Brain Drain” started in the late 1960s. This was when the United States relaxed its policies with regards to hiring nurses from the Philippines and this started the eventual OFW phenomenon that prevails until today.

It was not only the skilled and semi-skilled workers that went abroad. A big proportion of the high-skilled workers also sought foreign shores to be their homesteads. This was because of the failure of the country to industrialize and that made no career paths to those who pursued higher education abroad. This meant very little Research and Development where such skills were needed.

Thus, a significant portion of the Filipino scientific community based themselves abroad. A talent resource that the country need badly in order for it not only to be economically competitive but also to propel it among the leading countries in the 21st Century.

There have been programs before such as the “Balik Scientist” program but these programs were not enough to entice the bulk of the Filipino scientists based abroad to permanently go back to the country so their immense talents can be harnessed for national development and progress.

Department of Science and Technology has the “Balik Scientist Program that encourages overseas Filipino scientists to return and serve the country. This was started in 1975 under Presidential Decree 818 and then was resumed by President Fide V. Ramos in 1993. 

Senate Bill No. 175 or Balik Scientist Bill will finally give the DOST’s Balik Scientist Program institutional legs to stand on since it will be legislated with its funding and mechanisms already part of the law of the land. Incentives and financial benefits will be institutionalized. 

This is also the intent of Senate Bill 1324 filed by Senator Grace Poe that seeks to reverse the brain drain and instead have a “brain gain” by the returning Filipino scientists.

“This bill envisions a future in which Filipino scientists contribute to nation-building and inclusive growth through the acceleration of research and development in the country,” Senator Poe said.

The country needs the Filipinos abroad who are experts and professionals in the field of science and technology to “transfer” their know how and experience so as to further enhance the country’s potential for growth and the much needed scientific breakthroughs that will benefit the country and the world.

The Bill enables scientists that are working on short term projects or programs (at least 30 days) to receive benefits that include travel fare, exemptions on tax with regards to their daily allowances, relocation allowances, and donation of instruments and materials required in scientific activities.

For medium term programs or projects (12 months), the same benefits and privileges apply plus exemptions on travel tax that includes their immediate families, and payment of multiple entry fees and also the non-requirement of immigration clearance certificates. 

For long term programs and projects (24 – 36 months) the benefits include housing provision, reimbursement for the shipment of personal effects and professional instruments including one motor vehicle, exemption from securing an alien employment permit, budget to put up a laboratory. Of course the standard benefits and privileges  to short and medium term programs and projects also apply.






Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Special Courts for Cybercrimes in Bacolod

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, May 10, 2017


When Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was enacted, there were a lot of criticisms hurled and it was even questioned in the Supreme Court. Aside from the fears of curtailing freedom of expressions the other concern was how can a technology relatively new be made to suit an antiquated court system. The concern was that conventional lawsuits and cases are already flooding the dockets, if cybercrime would be included, the trials and resolutions would take years to resolve and promulgate.

The Supreme Court (SC) aims to address these issues with regards to RA10175 by designating certain branches of the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) to handle the trials and confer decisions on such cybercrime cases. 

The RTC branches that are designated as “special commercial courts in its administrative matter on June 17, 2003 are hereby further designated as cybercrime courts to try and decide cybercrime cases covered under RA 10175, in addition to their designation as special commercial courts.” As stated by the SC.

“The cybercrime courts in the judicial regions shall have territorial authority over the entire region where the RTC is located for purposes of exercising the special jurisdiction granted herein,” the SC added.

“Accordingly, cybercrime cases shall be filed in the Office of the Clerk of Court in the official station of the proper cybercrime courts,” the SC also said.

According to Section 1 of the cybercrime law provides that “three (3) additional branches of the Regional Trial Court to be stationed in the City of Bacolod, situated in the Province of Negros Occidental, are hereby created in the Sixth Judicial Region.”

“The Supreme Court shall assign the branch numbers of the newly created Regional Trial Court branches in the Sixth Judicial Region,”  as cited in  RA 10175’s Section 2.

Section 3 of RA 10175  stated that “the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in coordination with the Secretary of the Department of Justice, shall immediately include in the court’s program the operationalization of the additional Regional Trial Court branches to be stationed in the City of Bacolod, Province of Negros Occidental, the funding of which shall be included in the Annual General Appropriations Act. The funds necessary for the operation of the courts herein created shall be appropriated and released only upon the actual organization of the courts and the appointment of its personnel.”

RA10175 Addresses the following Cybercrimes:

1. Hacking
2. Cybersquatting
3. Cybersex
4. Cyber Child Pornography
5. Libel
6. System Interface
7. Spamming
8. Identity Theft






Tuesday, May 2, 2017

6th eGOV Awards Open 3 New Categories

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, May 02, 2017


The annual eGOV Awards or Awards for Excellence in ICT for Good Governance for Local Government Units hosted by the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) now has five categories for local government units to compete in.

eGOV Awards is an annual search for the best practices in local government units in utilizing information and communications technology (ICT) to effectively and efficiently deliver its public services directly to its constituents and other stakeholders.

Now on its sixth year, the search is supported by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) under DILG Memorandum Circular No. 62, Series of 2017.

Since 2012, the two standard categories are Best in eGOV Customer Empowerment (G2C) and Best in eGOV Business Empowerment (G2B).  G2Crecognizes the measurable effect of an LGU’s outstanding practices using ICT solutions in the education and engagement of the public and in the use of electronic facilities and channels towards providing improved, timely and relevant delivery of public services, while G2B recognizes the significant effect of an LGU’s laudable practices in integrating ICT  solutions and the commitment of its  administration in the LGU’s responsiveness to the needs of business enterprises, thereby creating business  opportunities. 

For 2017, the three new categories are Best in eGOV Government Inter-Operability Empowerment (G2G), Best in Data-Driven Governance (D2G) and Best in eGOV Digital Finance Empowerment (P2G).

G2G cites the valuable impact of an LGU’s initiative to connect data and systems with other government offices, both national and local for the convenience of their constituents and to improve its public service delivery. P2G commends the initiative of an LGU to promote e-commerce or e-payment facilities and systems to ensure effective revenue generation and collection and improving the over-all financial management of the LGU as well as giving convenience to the public, while D2G cites the efforts of an LGU in recognizing that good governance through ICT requires the fair and responsible processing of data with convenience and better services through the free flow of information while ensuring that personal data is protected.

The objectives of the eGOV Awards is to encourage the effective and efficient utilization of information and communications technology (ICT) in the delivery of services and in the performance of duties and responsibilities by local government units (LGU’s); to commend, collate and document best practices of LGU’s in integrating ICT in their processes to serve as example and benchmarks to other LGU’s; to improve the business ecosystem of the LGUs and motivate the private and business sector to actively participate and/or invest in the growth of the LGU’s and to promote transparency and accountability in local governance.

The winners will be awarded during the 9th NICP ICT on November 16 to 17, 2016 in Cagayan de Oro City.

Criteria for judging include innovative management or “outside-the-box” strategies, impact or the major results, their effects and benefits to the recipients of the service, relevance or how the entry relates to the overall objectives of the LGU and to the category to which it is nominated and replication potential to other LGUs.

eGOV Awards is open to all local government units such as a city, municipality or province, or municipality. Only one (1) project per LGU can be nominated for each of the two categories. Hence, there can be two (2) projects for an eGOV Year per LGU. Nomination forms and mechanics will be downloadable at www.nicp.org.ph/egovawards. Deadline for entries is on June 30, 2017. 






Free Diwata – 1 Generated Images

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, May 02, 2017
Diwata - 1. The first Philippine Microsatellite


The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced that images taken by Diwata – 1, the country’s first microsatellite will be made available to the public free of charge.

Diwata – 1 was deployed April 27, 2016 and has already sent images to the Philippine scientific community. 

TeachBlade has followed the development of Diwata – 1 since 2015 and all the way to its launch and deployment last year. The Philippine microsatellite is tasked to take images from space. These would include pictures to be used in agriculture, military purposes, geographical mapping, environment related monitoring, weather and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM). 

Since its deployment, Diwata – 1 has circled the earth 5,000 times and sent images numbering in the thousands.

DOST still has to disclose how much of the images taken will be available for distribution by the PHL-Microsat Program.

Diwata – 1 is a joint program between the DOST, The University of the Philippines and Hokkaido University of Japan where Filipino engineers underwent training and participated in the development of the microsatellite.

The images can be accessed through www.phl-microsat.up.edu.ph following registration procedures, according to the project proponents after the soft launch last April 27, 2017 after commemorating the first year of the launc.. 

The free public access to the Diwata – 1 images aims to help research and dissemination of knowledge to a much wider base. 

“We are opening up the photos to the public because it’s not just those working in the Diwata program who know how to make use of these satellite images and the images are already there, it would be a waste if usage won’t be maximized,” said PHL-Microsat Project 5 leader Engr. Mark Edwin Tupas.

Although access if free of charge, this will still be under certain conditions according to Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano Jr., PHL-Microsat leader and acting director of the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute. For example, these must not be used for commercial purposes and are not for sale to third parties.

Diwata – 1 images are already being used in environment monitoring as what can be gleaned from images it generated showing siltation in Palawan. It is also currently being used for agricultural purposes in crops monitoring.

Diwata – 1 was also cited by NASA for being an efficient, a cost saving satellite and producing quality images that are better than previous satellites.

Diwata – 1 has a functioning lifetime that will last until November 2018. Diwata – 2 is now being developed and will be scheduled for launch soon.






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