Globe Telecom is calling for the amendment of the Local Government Code to expedite issuance of all relevant permits for all telecommunication facilities at the local level.
According to Globe Chief Information & Technology Officer Gil Genio, bureaucratic red tape causes significant delay in securing various permits from the local government units concerned relating to the construction of telco infrastructure such as cell sites.
“We have repeatedly emphasized that there is no substitute for government support in developing telco infrastructure in the country. We need the government to prioritize and enable the sector to undertake infrastructure builds, not just in the construction of cell sites but also in establishing underground facilities and in facilitating pole attachments,” Genio said.
He reiterated there aren’t enough cell sites to enable telco operators such as Globe to sufficiently support mobile data growth in the country especially amid clamor for faster internet service. Based on the latest report of TowerXchange, the Philippines only has around 16,300 towers compared with Vietnam’s 70,000 towers. According to him, it takes at least 8 months to complete the approval process for the construction of one cell site, involving at least 25 permits. In addition to bureaucratic red tape, the absence of standard fees among local government units also breeds corruption. For instance, tower fees range between P5,000-P200,000 depending on the LGU concerned, he disclosed.
Aside from permitting issues at the local level, uncooperative villages or subdivisions also prevent telco providers from aggressively rolling out telecommunication facilities, Genio said. Close to 30 villages and subdivisions have rejected cell site proposals made by Globe, effectively preventing the company from proceeding with its infrastructure builds. Approval from concerned homeowner associations (HOA) is one of the 25 permits that telecommunication providers need to secure for the construction of one cell site.
According to Genio, most of the villages that have rejected the company’s cell site proposal due to alleged health risks associated with cell site towers. Some of these villages include Forbes Park, Magallanes Village, and Belair Village in Makati, Greenmeadows Village, La Vista, and Greenhills North in Quezon City.
He emphasized, however, that all Globe cell sites have been issued radiation-safety certificates by the Department of Health, proof that radio frequency signals coming from such facilities do not pose any adverse health impact. “At Globe, we ensure that all our facilities adhere to global health standards. The radiation-safety certificates should allay concerns over alleged health hazard that some HOAs are concerned about, he said.
Other villages or subdivisions that rejected the company’s cell site proposal include TS Cruz Subdivision, Fruitville, BF Executive Homes Village, JEE Village, all in Las Pinas City; BF Homes, Merville, South Bay Garden Village all in Paranaque City; Vista Verde in Tanay, Rizal; Concepcion Village, Modesta Village, Loyola Grand Villas, Jaybee Village, St. Mary’s Subdivision, Vista Real Classica Subdivision, and Meteor Homes in Marikina City; Vista Verde Subdivision in Cainta, Rizal; Valle Verde 1 in Pasig; Kings Vill Executive Village in Antipolo, Rizal; Smile CitiHomes Condominium in Quezon City; Thomas Home in Valenzuela City; and Vista Rio Village in Cardona, Rizal.
Currently, Globe has a backlog of 3,000 cell sites amid varying degrees of permitting issues despite aggressive efforts by the company to investment in network facilities. Globe spends close to 30% of its revenues, significantly higher than capital expenses by other operators in the Asian region to fast track improvements on the state of internet in the country.
Firms Urged to Strengthen Cyber Security
With a weak cyber security, a company is putting itself at high risk of losing revenue and reputation. It can also make the company vulnerable to sensitive data theft and costly lawsuits.
For these reasons, firms are urged to build up its capability to protect their cyberspace or outsource a reliable company with a cyber security approach that is predictive, responsive, preventive, and detective.
“Traditional security measures are necessary but are not enough for the survival of an organization,” said ePLDT chief information security officer Angel Redoble. “Even if you have the basic setup for your company’s cyber security, you will be spending money and still putting the company at risk.”
Redoble was one of the speakers during the Seminar on Cyber Security and Data Privacy Law organized by PLDT Enterprise and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) at Maayo Hotel on Jan. 25. Other speakers were Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy of the Department of Justice, PNPISP Leo Deofiles, chief of the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Office-Central Visayas.
While cyber attacks are becoming more “intelligent and sophisticated” every year, many firms still do not have a strong understanding of their cyber posture and many organizations take long to discover a breach.
“Businesses need to protect its internal and external information. The longer you detect and resolve a cyber attack, the bigger the damage. The challenge is to respond quickly and efficiently. How fast can you respond and recover?” Redoble said.
He explained that cyber attacks are driven by different motivations, such as for personal or corporate gains, organization funding, and economic superiority.
But when companies implement cyber security, they are faced with the complexities it brings, including people, process, and technology, larger network, BYOD (bring your own device), and siloed IT. Also, deployment can make it difficult to implement cyber security across organizations.
Cyber security, according to Redoble, also needs the right people with the right expertise. Yet companies are having difficulties recruiting the required talent. This could be attributed to lack of solid educational programs on cyber security, among others.
With the way cyber attacks are becoming elaborate every year, Redoble urged firms to face the facts.
He said that attackers also have access to most or all the defensive tools and tactics of enterprise defenders and that defenders lack platform, authority, and resources to fully control and protect the systems and data they are responsible for. He also questioned the capability of security teams to monitor round-the-clock traffic and attacks.
“Cyber security is not just about technology and computers. It involves people, information systems, culture and physical surroundings, and technology. It creates a secure environment where business can remain resilient in the event of a cyber attack,” he said.
During the seminar, MCCI President Stanley Go raised the suggestion for the Chamber to work with PLDT in conducting a “cyber security audit” for its member-companies.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry
‘Super Consortium’ Eyes NAIA Transformation into a Regional Hub
Seven major conglomerates formally formed Tuesday a consortium that vows to transform the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) into a regional airport hub.
The NAIA Consortium was formed following the submission of its unsolicited proposal to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to transform the NAIA into a regional airport hub and to ensure that the NAIA would have the capacity to meet the continued growth in passenger traffic from the strong economies of the Philippines and the region.
Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc., AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, Alliance Global Group Inc., AEDC, Filinvest Development Corporation, JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, the seven partners that have a combined capitalization of over PHP2.2 trillion, also signed a memorandum of agreement formalizing the consortium.
With one of the world’s premier airport operators, Changi Airports International Pte. Ltd., engaged to provide technical support in the areas of master planning, operations optimization and commercial development, the group is committed to the development of a modern airport complex that will meet the long-term passenger demand at NAIA.
The project is estimated to cost up to PHP350 billion.
The consortium’s proposal supports the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program with its plan to develop NAIA into a world-class facility and a regional air transport hub by upgrading its airside, landside, and air navigation support. This builds on the gains already achieved by the DOTR in terms of improving the traffic of aircraft movements on its runways.
The project is divided into two phases – Phase 1 includes improvements and expansion of terminals in the current NAIA land area, while Phase 2 involves the development of an additional runway, taxiways, passenger terminals and associated support infrastructure.
“Through this proposal, we envision a new NAIA: a fully-integrated premier gateway that we Filipinos can truly be proud of, backed by the know-how of an experienced technical partner and the strong synergy of seven homegrown teams. The message is clear: we need this, and we can get this done,” said consortium spokesperson Jose Emmanuel Reverente.
He added that the proposal includes a people mover that would link all three terminals and connect NAIA to the existing mass transport system in Metro Manila, as well as an option for a third runway.
“The proposal involves expanding and interconnecting the existing terminals of NAIA, upgrading airside facilities, and developing commercial facilities to increase airline and airport efficiencies, enhance passenger comfort and experience, and improve public perception of NAIA as the country’s premier international gateway,” Reverente said.
Passenger traffic to NAIA is expected to continue to grow significantly over the coming years and the existing runway configuration may be unable to accommodate the future flows. Construction of the additional runway will ensure the ability of NAIA to serve as Manila’s gateway for years to come, bringing potential capacity up to 100 million passengers per year.
The upgrades will elevate NAIA to the level of major regional airports such as Changi in Singapore and Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok, and will become a viable transit hub for the ASEAN region.
“Given the full support and commitment of each of the seven consortium members and the existing infrastructure already in place, the project implementation can be expedited. Immediate enhancements and capacity upgrades can be expected within a couple of years, followed by further expansion to be completed shortly after,” Reverente added.
Bright Prospects for Bohol Investments in 2018 – BIPC
Investment authorities in Bohol see a shining 2018 as they foresee an investment capitalization soaring well above the predicted figures.
No less than the authorities at the Bohol Investment Promotion Center (BIPC), an attached office of the Office of the Governor, bared this bright prospect at the weekly radio forum Kapihan sa PIA.
This, too, as the BIPC tracked the investment capitalization of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in Bohol topping the P1.5 billion in 2017.
While the rise in capitalization has not surpassed the 2011 reported investments capitalization which zoomed from P800,000 to P1.7 billion, BIPC Bohol head Maria Fe Dominese said investments have spiked again in 2016 on to nearing a full recovery surge in 2017.
Speaking at the Kapihan on February 1, Dominese however believe that 2018 would be a huge spike with the completion of the Panglao Airport and the brood of businesses it carries.
The BIPC also pointed out that the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCC) granted citation in 2017, would be an edge in attracting more and more investments, according to Imma Mylie Alo during the hour-long radio forum aired live over DyTR.
The PCC has handed to Bohol, which was then among the 14 provincial finalists in the search for Most Business Friendly LGU in 2017, the Most Business Friendly LGU citation for Class 1 provinces, an acknowledgement of the ease of doing businesses here.
Dominese added that the office has pegged the annual investment capitalization target of P1 billion for 2017, which has been surpassed.
BIPC pointed to the devastating 2013 earthquake which was a low point in MSME growth with everyone scampering for a way to rebound and get Bohol back on its feet.
The BIPC, which has set up its Business One Stop Shop (BOSS) and its outreach program with partner agencies called Asenso Negosyo Caravans to the towns, also noted that from 2,545 new business registrants in 2014 or after the earthquake, they tracked 4,583 new business name registrants in 2017.
Along this, the BIPC, an office under the office of the governor, noted an increasing trend in the number of registered MSMEs as well as the employment these generated.
In the past five, years, while the office notes an increasing trend in the number of registered MSMEs, employment generation subsequently increased.
In 2017, for example, BIPC tracked some 5,372 registered MSMEs and nailed 11,962 new hires, the job generation now filling up the job slots that could also help circulate the capital infusing it into the economy.
Reforms Facilitate Better Biz Environment, Group Says
Reforms on tax system and bureaucracy rolled out by the Duterte administration helped to have a better environment for businesses in the Philippines, top executive of Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (HKCCPI) said.
HKCCPI President Anthony Chan said the lower personal and corporate income tax rates under the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) of the administration is boosting the country’s attractiveness to investors.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act has been implemented at the start of the year, which lowers personal income tax, while the government is now pushing for the CTRP Package 2 aiming to reduce corporate income tax.
“The tax reform, especially the reduction in income tax rates, also makes the Philippines more attractive and investment-friendly,” Chan said.
“We also see the current administration really mean to cut or weed out corruption that tremendously encourage investment and job creation,” he added.
The business group’s head, on the other hand, wishes that the Congress will pass the bill on ease of doing business.
Chan, on other other hand, said businesses and Filipino workers were thriving in the country under the Duterte administration.
“Investors from Hong Kong investing in manufacturing sectors employing workers with higher than minimum wage and decent working conditions, that’s we share the view that generally the people are better off under the current administration,” he said.
A Forbes article published earlier this month said Filipinos were better off under this administration, citing the Gallup survey that the percentage of Filipinos who consider their lives thriving since President Rodrigo Duterte took office increased to 28 percent in 2017 from 26 percent in 2016.
This is also true for International Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ICCP) Founder Francis Chua, who said the high approval rating of President Duterte in various surveys suggests that lives of Filipinos were in better condition in the past two years.
Chua said local business environment was also better off in this administration, noting the increasing number of projects registered with the investment promotion agencies in the country.
“The President must be doing the right thing,” he said.
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