Saturday, January 21, 2006

Looking back and comparing the Philippines

The following was written by INTEL General Manager Robin Martin
about the Philippines.

Filipinos (including the press, business people and myself) tend to
dwell too much on the negative side and this affects the perception
of foreigners, even the ones who have lived here for a while. The
negative perception of the Philippines is way disproportionate to
reality when compared to countries like Colombia, Egypt, Middle East,
Africa, etc. Let us all help our country by balancing the negative
with the positive especially when we talk to foreigners, whether
based here or abroad. Looking back and comparing the Philippines
today and 1995 (the year I came back), I was struck by how much our
country has progressed physically.

Consider the following:

1. The great telecom infrastructure that we have now did not exist
in 1995. 1995 was the year the telecom industry was deregulated.
Since then billions of dollars have been invested in both fixed line
and cellular networks producing a system with over 5,000 kms of fiber
optic backbone at a world competitive cost. From a fixed line
capacity of about 900,000 in 1995 we now have over 7 million.
Cellular phones practically did not exist in 1995; now we have over
11 million line capacity.

2. The MRT, many of the EDSA flyovers including the Ayala Avenue
flyover), the SKYWAY, Rockwell and Glorietta 4, the Fort, NAIA
terminal 2 and most of the new skyscrapers were not yet built in 1995.

3. If you drive to the provinces, you will notice that national
roads are now of good quality (international quality asphalt roads).
I just went to Iba, Zambales last week and I was impressed that even
a not so frequently traveled road was of very good quality.

4. Philippine exports have increased by 600% over the past eight
years. There are many, many more examples of progress over the last
eight years. Philippine mangoes are now exported to the US and Europe.

Additional tidbits to make our people prouder:

1. INTEL has been in the Philippines for 28 years. The Philippines
plant is where Intel's most advanced products are launched, including
the Pentium IV. Philippine operations are expected to be Intel's
biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide.

2. TEXAS INSTRUMENTS has been operating in Baguio for over 20
years. The Baguio plant is the largest producer of DSP chips in the
world. DSP chips are the brains behind cellphones. TI's Baguio plant
produces the chip that powers 100% of all NOKIA cellphones and 80% of
Erickson cellphones in the world.

3. TOSHIBA laptops are produced in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

4. If you drive a BENZ, BMW, or a VOLVO, there is a good chance
that the ABS system in your car was made in the Philippines.

5. TREND-MICRO, makers of one of the top anti virus software PC-
Cillin (I may have mispelled this) develops its "cures" for viruses
right here in Eastwood Libis, Quezon City. When a virus breaks in any
computer system in the world, they try to find a solution within 45
minutes of finding the virus.

6. By the end of this year, it is expected that a majority of the
top ten U.S. Call Center firms in the U.S. will have set up
operations in the Philippines. This is one area in which I believe we
are the best in the world in terms of value for money. (my comment:
One is Inter-Continental Hotel's Group headed (& corp hand-picked) by
a Filipino expat.

7. America Online (AOL) has 1,000 people in Clark answering 90% of
AOL's global e-mail inquiries.

8. PROCTOR & GAMBLE has over 400 people right here in Makati
(average age 23 years) doing back-up office work to their Asian
operations including finance accounting, Human Resources and payments

9. Among many other things it does for its regional operations
network in the Asia-Pacific region here in Manila, CITIBANK also does
its global ATM programming locally.

10. This is the first year ever that the Philippines will be
exporting cars in quantity courtesy of FORD Philippines.
Next time you travel abroad and meet business associates, tell them
the good news. A big part of our problem is perception and one of the
biggest battles can be won simply by believing and by making others

This message is shared by good citizens of the Philippines who
persevere to hope and work for our country.

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