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Business Views that Matter

Business Silver Buying

Exchange Rates

Gold Buying (troy oz.)

US$ 19.65 US$ 1291.55

As of April 25, 2014

Peso-Dollar ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Exchange Rate

Php 44.689

Repo Rate

5.50%

Reverse Repo Rate

3.50%

Inflation Rate (Mar‘ 14) 3.9%

91-Day T-Bill Rate

1.440%

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UNITED STATES, Dollar 44.689000 JAPAN, Yen 0.436900 UNITED KINGDOM, Pound 75.086500 HONGKONG, Dollar 5.764900 SWITZERLAND, Franc 50.673500 CANADA, Dollar 40.552600 SINGAPORE, Dollar 35.546400 AUSTRALIA, Dollar 41.726400 BAHRAIN, Dinar 118.538500 SAUDI ARABIA, Rial 11.916100 BRUNEI, Dollar 35.405600 INDONESIA, Rupiah 0.003900 THAILAND, Baht 1.381800 UAE, Dirham 12.166900 EUROPEAN MU, Euro 61.813800 CHINA, Yuan 7.151500 MALAYSIA, Ringgit 13.691500 KOREA, Won 0.043100 Source: BSP

As of April 25, 2014

The poor as profit center COMPANIES in Asia are discovering that helping the poor can be profitable. T hese companies, which are engaged in what is called “inclusive business,” are commercially profitable operations whose core business model is to prov ide large-scale innovative solutions to the problems of people who live on less than US$3 a day - or about 60% of Asia’s population. T his g roup of people, sometimes called the “base of the py ramid,” is neglected by many companies as customers. T hey are often only helped by companies through corporate charit y or other prog rams. “Inclusive business differs from corporate social responsibility and social enterprise because of its business scale, growth potential, and focus on systemic changes for poor people,” said Armin Bauer, a Principal Economist with the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB). Inclusive business is also distinguished from impact investments in that it places the impact on poor and vulnerable people and de-emphasizes impact on the environment or good governance, he said. Inclusive business relies on profit-making as an incentive to improve the well-being of low-income and vulnerable populations.

Manila Water: A business model The Manila Water Company, which provides water utility services to about seven million people in the eastern part of Manila, is an example of this business model. The company took over as the public water provider for the eastern part of Manila in 1999. Rather than focusing on wealthy or middle class neighborhoods, the company prioritized serving slum areas, in which about one in four people had access to clean, piped water. The company, part of listed conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp., connected about a million people, mostly the poor in urban slum areas, with water and made significant profits. “The business plan of Manila Water was to start with providing service to poor areas, not just do it as an add-on later,” said Mr. Bauer. “They upgraded service to the wealthy areas after they made substantial profits serving the poor fi rst.” ADB and its partners are supporting such inclusive business models through a variety of means. This includes a US$3.6 million grant that will help companies throughout Asia become better at inclusive business, or assisting the poor while making a profit. The grant will help ADB improve its expertise at making inclusive business deals with private sector companies, and

also help ADB member-countries develop policies that promote businesses that directly benefit the poor. This includes, for example, linking inclusive business startups to existing government resources, such as small business loans. Other assistance includes supporting government job creation programs that benefit the poor, such as slum upgrading programs and climate-proofi ng poor neighborhoods. Among the potential projects to receive support this year are a cacao project and seafarers scholarships in the Philippines; spice production in Cambodia and India; a water project in China; a drip irrigation program in India; and rural bank loan projects in Pakistan and Tajikistan. Prior to this most recent grant, ADB conducted market studies in countries throughout Asia to better understand the potential for inclusive business in the region. The studies looked at how many inclusive business companies are already operating in the region, how many fi nancial institutions support inclusive business, the problems the companies face and possible solutions, as well as opportunities to start new inclusive businesses. ADB’s investments in inclusive business companies have steadily increased in recent years. Six out of the 22 approved private sector projects in 2013 were considered inclusive business. This was up from 5% from the period between 2000 and 2012.

National Food Fair Part 2 in December 2014 THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to organize two editions of the Sikat Pinoy National Food Fair (NFF) this year. The fi rst one just fi nished last March 26 to 30 while the second edition is on December 3 to 7, in time for the Christmas season. DTI sees a big potential in the food sector for generating employment and developing various backward and forward linkages aside from attracting wholesale and retail buyers. “Trade fairs have been and by far, DTI’s most effective promotions strategy especially for food products. It must be noted that 50% of MSMEs belongs to the food and beverage sector. In addition, the food sector has tremendous potential to generate employment. So the DTI Sikat Pinoy National Food Fair allows us to focus on the sector where we have a competitive advantage,” DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo said during the opening ceremony on March 26. In its March event, DTI, through the

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Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT), in cooperation with DTI Regional and Provincial Offices and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), has showcased three pavilions, namely, pili nuts, seafood and coffee. With the tagline “Piling-piling Pagkaing Pilipino”, it featured specialty foods and beverages from all over the country, including such products as fruit wines and liqueurs, herbal teas and health supplements, spices and condiments, snacks and pastries, and a Filipino kitchen to prepare mouthwatering delicacies. During the opening ceremony of the fair, BDT Director Rhodora Leaño noted that the total number of

exhibitors already exceeded their target, from 220 to a number close to 240 exhibitors. With its two editions this year, DTI aims to showcase more of the best of the country’s food products and to provide more business and employment opportunities to SMEs. Another highlight of the event was the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DTI, represented by Regional Operations and Development Group Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya and the SM Malls, represented by its Executive Vice President Ricky Lim for the establishment of DTI Business Service Centers in all SM Malls nationwide.

The DTI Business Service Centers will initially cover 25 SM Malls in Metro Manila as well as SM Malls in Bacoor and Dasmariñas in Cavite, Santa Rosa and Calamba in laguna, Marilao in Bulacan, and Masinag in Antipolo. The event also featured Awareness Seminars on online marketing, licensing of food establishments or food business operators, guidelines for registration of processed and cooked foods, and duties of MSMEs as responsible taxpayers. Cooking demonstrations and a cooking contest were staged by Cook Magazine during the trade fair. For more information on the fair, you may contact the DTI through the Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT) at 751.3223, or email at bdt@dti.gov.ph. The BDT is at the ground floor of the Trade and Industry Building, 361 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City. You may also visit the fair’s website at www.sikatpinoyfairs.com, or “like” its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SikatPinoyFairs.

WE TAKE A STAND

4/25/2014 9:07:34 PM


Think Green For A Better Planet

Environment

Building Green:

An LGU Imperative Speech by Sen. Loren Legarda Forum on Green Building Initiative 23 April 2014 – Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati

THE future communities in the Philippines will vastly differ from the ones we live in today. As we witness the 21st century unfold, our nation faces a new set of technological, socioeconomic and global challenges that are more complex than any of us have ever experienced in our shared history. They dramatically alter the way we live in our communities, and at stake is the quality of life, not only of ours, but of our progeny. It is the responsibility of the government, especially local government units, to understand these challenges and to take proactive measures that will optimize our nation’s future -- to plan, build and support sustainable communities. The U.N. World Commission on Environment and Development described sustainability as a development that ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’ A sustainable community is an end goal: the government and the people share a common vision, engage each other in the intricacies, and together bring it to fruition. The fi rst step towards building a sustainable community is to correct one of the biggest misconceptions about the environment—that natural resources are infi nite. Clearly, Earth’s resources are not limitless. We are now witnessing the rapid decline of our forest cover, water supply, air quality and the demise of our biodiversity. In order to build a sustainable society, it cannot be business as usual. We need to stop consuming more than we need and start making sacrifices, including cuts in our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Asian Development Bank’s Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2012 noted that the increase in carbon dioxide emissions could rise to 10.2 metric tons per capita by 2050 if interventions to reverse the trend are not introduced.

A cursory look now proves that the 4-degree Celsius world, which may have seemed impossible 20 years ago, is not far off today. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report suggested that a 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius increase in global mean temperatures from pre-industrial levels threatens extinction of 30 percent of all species. Climate change, according to reports, threatens food security as crop yields are estimated to decline by 19 percent in Asia towards the end of the century. Rice yield in the Philippines is projected to decline by 75 percent. A 4-degree scenario doubles these impacts. A hotter global temperature will result in damaging sea levels, extreme weather and food insecurity. Flood, droughts and hunger are already issues we are dealing with today. The more frequent and stronger storms we are experiencing have been affecting our economic development as well. For instance, losses due to Typhoon Yolanda are estimated at 571 billion pesos, which represents close to five percent of the Philippines’ annual GDP. Meanwhile, losses due to typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009 were equivalent to 2.7% of the country’s GDP. Indeed, climate change has changed the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather and climate events. What has brought about the state we

are in today? Key fi ndings of the IPCC 2012 Special Report on Extreme Events revealed that climate change is “unequivocal” and that there is 95 percent likelihood that human activity is the cause of global warming. Human activity released 545 gigatons of carbon dioxide—the main greenhouse gas from 1750 to 2011. The Philippines is a minor emitter of GHG. But even as we are taking steps to demand the world’s biggest polluters to reduce their carbon usage for the sake of the planet, we cannot just wait for other parties to turn their commitment into action. We need to take care of our own backyard so to speak, and in this case we need to make that fi rst step in controlling the levels of anthropogenic pollution. We can cut our carbon emissions, improve our environment and create sustainable communities if we build green. This is why we are all here today in a triumphant mood. The Climate Change Commission Resolution No. 5, which has been endorsed by President Benigno Aquino, is an important piece in that blueprint towards creating a more sustainable and liveable nation. When we build green we help reduce our global carbon footprint, we cut down costs and we improve our citizens’ overall way of life. The implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan by LGUs makes sure that building green not

only looks good on paper but also for the planet. We must also promote community resilience. LGUs could prioritize resilience as part of their political and sustainable development agenda and make reducing disaster risk their legacy opportunity. Paying attention to protection will improve environmental, social and economic conditions, including combating the future variables of climate change. It will also make the communities more prosperous and secure than before. Initiatives could include making schools, hospitals, and other critical public infrastructure resilient against disasters. As a fundamental development strategy, building resilience would help our government sustain the country’s socioeconomic gains, and make a significant difference in poverty reduction. LGUs are responsible for building sustainable societies where building green will be a way of life. Thus, I urge our LGUs to support this with passion and commitment. I hope that there will be no extensive bureaucratic entanglements because there is no time to lose. I congratulate the Philippine Green Building Initiative, International Finance Corporation and Climate Change Commission for this initiative and I look forward to the success of this program so that fi nally all buildings and structures will be built with safety and resilience as the primary foundations. Thank you.

Destruction of Marine Life Can Increase Poverty AS the world celebrated Earth Day last April 22, Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call to protect marine biodiversity and preserve the country’s ecosystems. Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said that the country’s natural resources, especially those within our seas, are crucial to the survival of Filipinos, especially that the Philippines is an archipelago. “We are fortunate to have been blessed with abundant natural resources. In fact, we are one of the 17 megadiverse countries, home to majority of Earth’s species. Unfortunately, we are also one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots, with a large number of species that are endangered or threatened with extinction,” she lamented. “The Philippines also has one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems, characterized by extensive coral reefs, sea-grass beds and dense mangroves. But despite this richness in marine resources, about 3.9 million families still experienced hunger in the last quarter of 2013 and many of those living in coastal communities remain poor with 4 of 10 coastal residents living under poverty line,” she added. “We must all work, in our own and simple yet big and determined steps, to help resuscitate our ailing environment. Let us turn away from extractive and consumptive

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way of living and strive to make a positive impact on our natural resources—may it be by saving on fuel, energy and water consumption, recycling, proper solid waste management or growing trees,” Legarda said. “We must put an end to the exploitation and exportation of corals as well as the fishing and taking of any rare, threatened and endangered species. Our fishermen should stop the use of fi ne mesh net, explosives and other poisonous substance in our seas,” she added. Last April 22, the Senator launched a video documentary on Philippine marine biodiversity to raise awareness on the current condition of the country’s marine life and underwater resources. The project is a collaboration with award-winning director Brillante Mendoza, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Information Agency. The documentary features marine videos from underwater videographer Robert “Bobbit” Suntay and his fellow videographers Jan Acosta, Boogs Rosales and Wowie Wong from the Network of Underwater Digital Imagers (NUDI). “We celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22 and we are reminded to nurture our planet which abundantly provides us with the resources we need to survive. We are encouraged to strengthen our commit-

ment to save the Earth and contribute to the sustainability of our nation,” Legarda said, in concluding her speech. The senator also warned that neglecting our marine resources can result to hunger and poverty for millions of Filipinos. “Its (marine ecosystem) destruction affects the livelihood of coastal communities, our food supply, our tourism and our economy.”

WE TAKE A STAND

4/25/2014 9:07:38 PM


Middle East Virus

Health

Milk and oral health

is Potential Global Threat By Nicole Ann M. Aguila

A virus threat is something to be alarmed about, because it may not only occur in the Middle East, but also spread around the globe. Filipinos might think that we would not become susceptible to this kind of illness. But that is not true, because we are not superhuman. Infection by the said virus is always possible, especially because migration from country to country happens on a regular basis. These past few weeks, the MERS-CoVrelated news doesn’t fail to pop up on the news headlines. This deadly virus, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, has already taken 27 lives out of 49 infected individuals. Last August 29, 2013, a Pinay nurse who suffered from pneumonia, which is one of the severe indications of MERSCoV, has been confirmed positive for the said virus. A male overseas Filipino worker who only just got back in Manila was also tested positive for the MERS-CoV. DOH Secretary Enrique Ona believed that the OFW, who is also a nurse, had interaction with the infected person in the UAE. The male health worker was put on confi nement. “He has no symptoms. He has the virus but he is not sick with it. But he still can infect others so we put him in isolation. We can say that he’s a carrier. It means he was exposed to the virus,” Ona said. The OFW was observed for five days to see if he still has the virus. Secretary Ona also added that there is a probability that he might get sick or can infect others in two weeks. After repeating the examination by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the OFW was declared cleared from MERS-CoV virus, according to Ona.

Wellness is Life

They will also be tracing the seatmates on the plane and other people that the person interacted with so that they would be assessed, observed and quarantined if needed. This is to make sure that these people are not infected and had no symptoms. These are all preventive procedures. Government will also take up the expenditures of those who will get ill with MERSCoV or get quarantined. Undersecretary Eric Tayag said on Twitter that the Philippines became the 12th country and the first in Asia with confirmed cases of MERS-CoV. But there were reports that a Malaysian was the first person in Asia to capitulate to the said virus. “To contain MERS-CoV spread, quarantine those who had contact with known infection and isolate those who became sick after contact with a known case,” Secretary Ona also tweeted. This deadly virus can easily spread throughout the country and even become the next ‘SARS’ if it is not given sufficient attention. To be protected from it, Filipinos need to be educated about this virus threat. After all, prevention is better than cure. (Ms. Aguila is currently an intern for OpinYon. She is an incoming fourth year student in AB Communication Arts in Malayan College in Cabuyao, Laguna.)

A

new study on milk and diet has the milk for a short time and then cooling found that high levels of dairy it for storage and transportation. Ultra pasteurization, or ultra-high calcium and serum vitamin D in milk can lead to greater weight temperature treatment (UHT on your milk labels), heats the milk to a higher loss. The new study, published in temperature for a shorter time that the the American Journal of Clinical standard process. This extends its shelf Nutrition, examined over a pe- life and allows the milk to be stored unriod of two years more than 300 men and refrigerated because of the longer lasting women, aged 40-65, who were overweight sterilization. “It is not clear if a greater intake of or at risk of putting on excess weight. milk and calcium itEven with allowance for self helped to increase variables such as age, genweight loss, or if it could der, baseline Body Mass be down to a reduced Index and total fat intake, calorie intake caused the study concludes that an by replacing sugar conincreased intake of milk – taining fi zzy drinks for those already on diets with milk,” observed – led to greater weight loss. Dr. Nigel Carter, Chief The British Dental Executive of the British Health Foundation, the Dr. Joseph D. Lim Dental Health Foundaleading oral health chartion. ity in the United Kingdom, But if knowing that milk consumpwas quick to say that dentists have been saying all along that milk and water are tion leads to weight loss encourages more the only two safe drinks when it comes to adults to swap sodas and fruit juices for maintaining good teeth and general oral milk, “then in terms of oral health it is defi nitely a good thing,” he said. health. Reducing the intake of drinks that conMilk, which contains significant amounts of saturated fat, protein and cal- tain high levels of sugar will protect teeth cium as well as vitamin C, has been re- against decay, and drinking less fi zzy ported to reduce the risk of many diseases drinks will help decrease risks of dental in babies. Cow milk contains, on average, erosion, he said in a press statement. “People often do not realize that it is 3.4 percent protein, 3.6 percent fat, and 4.6 percent lactose, 0.7 percent minerals and how often sugar occurs in a diet, rather supplies 66 kilo calories of energy per 100 than how much sugar, that makes the difference to the condition of the teeth,” Dr. grams. The largest producers of dairy products Carter pointed out. “Each time someone eats or drinks and milk today are India followed by the something containing sugar, their teeth United States, Germany and Pakistan. The top 10 per capita consumers of cow are under attack for an hour, before the milk and cow milk products in the world balance in the mouth is corrected,” he are Finland, Sweden, Ireland, The Neth- said. “Minimizing how often these aterlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, tacks occur is a vital part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums,” said Dr. Carter United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. French chemist and biologist Louis whose foundation is an advocate of brushPasteur in 1863 invented pasteurization, a ing teeth twice a day for two minutes with method of killing harmful bacteria in bev- fluoride toothpaste, and visiting a dentist erage and food products. Pasteurization as often as recommended. kills harmful microorganisms by heating

THE DENTIST IS IN

MY TOWN

T

HE summer heat is driving more people to spend their breaks in Tagaytay City. To most Metro Manilans, Tagaytay is the next option to Baguio City. This is, however, misplaced. Tagaytay can never be cooler than Baguio and, most of all, it defi nitely cannot offer the kind of rich, mystical culture that the Cordillera has. Tagaytay, in fact, is losing its bucolic charm and giving way to an urban frenzy that, if it runs away, will make it looking like any other burgeoning Philippine city, with the same malls, same cafes, and same space-gnawing condominiums. Intoxicating Aroma When we first transferred here more than a dozen years ago, we were seeking for a quiet environment. Our humble house was hemmed in by a coffee plantation on one side and a pineapple farm on the other. And whenever the coffee flowers bloomed, the air would be filled by an intoxicating aroma. Whenever I would take my early morning walks, birds of various colors would dart from one clump of trees to another. But these are all gone. Even the fireflies that used to light the huge camachile tree in front of our house have left for good. Today, there are high build-

ings puncturing the blue skies of the chartered city. Except for those who have the wherewithal to buy units in them, I have yet to meet somebody who is ecstatic about the condominiums. The consensus is that they are ugly, perhaps expecting that Tagaytay retain its country air forever. To the credit of Ayalas, they have made their own versions of condominiums here follow the contours of the land, carefully working around old trees. There used to be a Metro Tagaytay Master Plan which stipulated strict restrictions on how high structures could be built in the city. The idea was when you look at Tagaytay from Laurel or Talisay in Batangas, for instance, there wouldn’t be any edifice jutting out and violating the undulating horizontal lines. The Master Plan was also clear on the principle of easement of views - that no structure should be built that would obstruct the view of neighbors. Tall buildings should be in the inner districts, with much regard for the environment. The planners weren’t saying so but they probably meant: go slow on the carbon footprints. But, today, impelled by mounds of cash, developers cannot resist building tiers upon tiers of rooms with a commanding view of Taal Volcano – a magical mirage shimmering on

an ever-blue lake. Mushrooming Edifices Just a few years ago, there was hardly anything else to do in Tagaytay but to settle into a meditative groove. You get infected by the prayerful vibes that come from the scores of churches, chapels, and retreat houses that densify the city. For your dine-out dates, there were just Josephine’s, Diners, and Kaye Ryan. If you want to go dancing, there was One Bagger. For groceries and banking, you had to motor down to Alabang. In one sweep of a wand, restaurants with differentiating market positions have sprung up everywhere in Tagaytay. I have nicknamed a cluster of restaurants as the bulalo belt, all of them jostling for customers who hanker for hot beef soup and heavenly bone marrow, a fare to die for. Starbucks has three outlets within a five kilometer stretch. The strongest, highest grossing Starbucks in the Philippines is in Tagaytay, that is why its management send their new baristas here for them to perfect their caffeine preps. Government Initiatives Tagaytay was probably among the fi rst movers as a smoke-free, plastic-strict city. To the city hall’s credit, it has been able to prevent billboards from proliferating in the city. The

MyPAD Boboy Yonzon leaders may also want to make the city din-free. The influx of visitors have made the streets unkind to people. In a stroke of irony where the rich collaborate with the poor, the macho men in hot leather jackets and big bikes unite with the tricycle drivers in stinking sando and safe-suspect contraption in assaulting the environment. The ridge road has formed a noise tunnel for transposed urban traffic. At the same time. our barangay leaders in San Jose are apparently inutile in curbing noise in their neighborhood, with karaoke singers doing their ghastly thing 24 hours a day. Dyaskepatawarin! Don’t tell me it is a national malady like indolence is. Thankfully today, the city hall is replacing the multicolored street lamps with tall no-nonsense posts and bright streetlights. The leaders have to respond to the economic upsurge and the changing demographics of the city. Already, we are experiencing unexplained waterless days. This can really be frustratWE TAKE A STAND

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ing. It is easy to suspect that the flurry of construction and the growing number of people in the city are pressing on the capability of the local government to deliver basic needs. The city cries for wider roads with safe sidewalks to boot. Tagaytay could probably do what Dasmarinas City did and that is, do not wait for the national government and spend local money to improve at least the main arteries. The Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Route, once a farm-to-market road, has become too narrow with rumbling bumper-to-bumper traffic wasting fuel and time. Perhaps Congressman Bambol Tolentino is working on a solution now. I heard from the grapevine that Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino is contemplating on getting back the mayorship position in Tagaytay. Running the MMDA is a thankless job. Sala sa lamig, sala sa init ang ano mang gawin mo don. In spite of that, he is doing a splendid job. His bent to put hanging gardens in that dreary urban jungle probably stemmed from his stint as head of a then sleepy town. It was clean and really green. Perhaps, if ever he re-assumes the helm of the city, he would like to bring the bitter lessons of Metro Manila and this is, resist the allure of concrete and neon that only accelerate the decay of any city.

OpinYon

APRIL 28-MAY 4, 2014

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4/25/2014 9:07:40 PM


Shaping the Future

InfoTech

Moving Forward with Science and Technology

F

ORMER Technology Re- some functions of NITC have been source Center (TRC) Director absorbed by the existing Information General Ms. Chitang Nakpil & Communications Technology Ofhas defi ned “technology” in fice (ICTO), and agency under DOST. During those days, the popular a way that everybody could easily understand. She said notion was that ICT was a derivative that “technology is a better of S&T, a legal fiction that should still way of doing things”. Mr. Ito be accepted up to now. That is conCarlos, Chairman of the Philippine sistent with the view of Mr. Carlos Foundation for Science and Tech- that “technology is the application of nology (PFST) defi nes “technology” science”. This is perhaps the logic beby way of comparison, saying that hind the decision of the government “technology is the application of to place ICTO under the DOST. On science”. In a manner of speaking, a broader scale however, we are still the defi nitions of Ms. Nakpil and facing the bigger challenge of how to Mr. Carlos actually compliments make use of science so that it could each other, if we could all agree that already be applied or deployed in the “technology is the application of sci- form of technology, and I do not mean ICT only. ence, to do things in a better way”. I thought I knew everything about It is a long story how I ended up in the science and technology (S&T) TRC, until I heard from Mr. Dennis advocacy. I became familiar with TRC Cunanan, the incumbent TRC Direcway back in my days with the Min- tor General that it is supposed to be istry of Human Settlements (MHS), the repository of S&T for the good of when I was a Group Product Man- the people. On a higher scale, it is supager and Assistant Vice President of posed to be the repository of all S&T Bliss Marketing Corporation (BLISS- for the long term survival of our naMARK) which was also a subsidiary tion. In this sense, it is good to know of the Human Settlements Develop- that TRC is now under DOST. Lookment Corporation (HSDC), in the ing back however, I think it was a bad decision to inject same way that TRC was the livelihood also an HSDC subsidiary function into at that time. As a matTRC before, ter of fact, BLISSMARK because it acand TRC were next door tually marneighbors in our Makati ginalized its offices. noble role as After my stint with the repository MHS, I became a Senior of S&T. Partner of Technology I also Ventures, Inc. (TVI), a found out company founded by Mr. Ike Señeres that under its Arthur Alvendia who charter, TRC is was also a former Director General of TRC, just like Ms. Nakpil. tasked with the official role of bringIt was in TVI that I learned hands on ing out inventions to market. Until how to apply science in the form of now, I did not know that another govtechnology, in the manner that Mr. ernment agency has this function. I Carlos has described. Looking back, thought that the Technology ApplicaMr. Alvendia showed me how to turn tion and Promotion Institute (TAPI) technologies into businesses, how to under the DOST was the only agency bring technology based products into that was tasked with this function. I do not mind the fact that there would the mass markets. During my stint with the Philip- be a duplication of functions if these pine Consulate General in New York two agencies would work together, City, I became an officer of the Science because what is important is to bring and Technology Advisory Council out Filipino inventions to market. As (STAC), an organization of expatriate a matter of fact, that should not be a Filipino scientists and technologists problem at all, because TRC and TAPI that was attached to the Department are both under DOST. I think that it would be a good idea of Foreign Affairs (DFA). STAC was also closely associated with the Brain to revive both STCC and NITC, but Gain Network (BGN), an association this time under one council, following of Filipino students in America who the legal fiction that ICT is actually a were working for the transfer of for- derivative of S&T. This time however, I think that the jointly revived council eign technologies to the Philippines. Upon my return to the DFA Home should be led by the private sector, in Office in Manila, I was assigned as the spirit of Public and Private CoDirector of the Science & Technology operation (PPP). Since the idea is to Unit (STU) under the Office for Eco- bring out Filipino inventions to marnomic Cooperation (OEC) headed by ket, it should have the active particiDFA Undersecretary Federico M. Ma- pation of the DOST and the Departcaranas. In that capacity, I also super- ment of Trade & Industry (DTI). Bringing out Filipino inventions to vised several offices that were under Dr. Macaranas, namely STAC, BGN, market is just one way, the outbound Technological Information Promotion way. Bringing in foreign technologies System (TIPS), Return of Knowledge is the other way, the inbound way. and Technology (RKT) and the Trans- The problem now is that there is a fer of Knowledge thru Expatriate Na- technology gap in the inbound way, because it takes many years before tionals (TOKTEN). Also in that capacity, I was desig- foreign technologies are applied or nated as the DFA representative to the deployed locally. Something has to be Science & Technology Coordinating done in order to shorten this technolCouncil (STCC), the National Infor- ogy gap, so that in would only take mation Technology Council (NITC) months, and not years. One way or and the Steering Committee for the the other, the government should Balik-Scientist Program in coordina- make it easy for foreign technologies tion with the Department of Science to be quickly applied or deployed lo& Technology (DOST). Sad to say, cally. For feedback, email iseneres@ both STCC and NITC are now defunct. STCC is as good as dead, but yahoo.com or text +639083159262

SCIENCE WORKS

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Net Stunned By Bug An analysis on the discovery of the Heartbleed bug and netizen security

By Allysa Faye Greganda IT’S time for tech companies to fund a team that constantly checks the strength of everything that is in the internet. These days, we depend on the Internet for half of our lives. We enjoy its benefits, but surely no one wants to be victimized right within the tip of his own fingers. Out of the 7 billion people alive as of this moment, 2 billion are actively using the internet. You are actually one of those 2 billion people who risk personal information, transaction records and confidential details with an average of 30,000 hacking attempts every day. The figures do speak of something. But the question is, how sure are you that you’re not a part of the 30,000 incidents per day? We are not new to the tactics of hacking— the stealing of data that can be possibly used to access bank accounts and whatnot. There is a long history of serious hacking incidents that have caused companies to shut down and lose millions of consumers. Take Mt. Gox as the perfect example. This is the world’s largest bitcoin exchange company, and it has been hacked of $450 million some months ago. To hack a website or a person’s account, it usually requires direct contact and the person unknowingly giving permission to inject a virus that will get through the encryptions. Just weeks ago, the internet community was stunned when three engineers discovered the Heartbleed bug that’s been in existence for two years already. No programmer has ever thought that a bug, a simple programming error, can be the biggest flaw in the history of the internet. WORLD WEAK WEB Last April 3, 2014, engineers from Codenemicon and Google found out about this serious hole in the internet. For the non-techie’s information, the internet is a virtual world. There are a lot of places to visit there, and these are called websites. Each website has its TLS (transport layer security protocols) to filter information, and to keep and protect them. Using this method will keep our personal details from being stolen by hackers. But why is it vulnerable to be attacked if TLS is supposed to secure information? The hole in the websites came from a software called OpenSSL. This software as well is an implementation of the TLS. In other words, OpenSSL is like an operating system used by website hosts. This software is created by a group of programmers and is offered online for free. This is the only available software for TLS. That is why 66% of websites according to Netcraft’s April 2014 Web Server Survey uses OpenSSL. And this 66% as well has been using

the latest version of OpenSSL, which is recently discovered to contain a vulnerable code for a span of two years, since its release last 2011. Because it is the only available software, even less-visited websites use this, including government websites in the Philippines. Yet, no one knew if someone noticed the bug earlier. Someone could have, but the person never reported it because he might have taken advantage of the weakness. There are many rumors about the possible abuses made before the bug was discovered, yet those were not proven. DEBUGGING THE PROBLEM The good news is, 33% of websites in a span of two years were safe from the vulnerability especially the most-accessed social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Yahoo and others . The other good thing is, Open SSL was able to release a solution, a patch file just a week after the report to cure the problem. It was announced that the internet community is safer, but not totally until everyone has updated their TLS. The least a normal user can do is to constantly change passwords as frequent as possible. Users should always countercheck if the websites they are trying to access are safe enough to engage with. We should also keep updated if any new mode of attack is spreading. This incident should be taken up seriously. Hacking is illegal and is considered a serious crime. We should not be relaxed about it because a number of victims were caught unguarded. Hackers break into systems for personal, and often criminal reasons. Everyone should get involved. Google and Facebook are just fortunate enough to hire skilled programmers to defend its system from intruders. But how about the others? How about the safety of the entire community? Since the internet is a virtual realm, then just like in the real world, there must be a team to ensure the security of the netizens. There is always a tendency to commit human error. However, two or more heads are better than one, as they say. (The author is a graduating student of AB Communication in the University of Perpetual Help System Laguna. She is currently working as an intern for OpinYon.)

The Php600K Gaming PC YOYOTECH’S Aurum 24K sports a spectacular interior as is water-cooled, not aircooled. The Aurum 24K isn’t just a fast PC. Many manhours have been invested to add lots of customization to make the PC unique. Called the XDNA Aurum 24K, the PC actually retails for £7979 in the UK, and if you paid attention in school you’ll know that 79 is the atomic number for gold, while Aurum is Latin for gold. Chemistry and Latin facts aside, the PC sports an incredible specification that is likely to be blisteringly fast not just in games but at anything you can throw at it too. Yoyotech has chosen Intel’s Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition processor, which it

has tweaked to run faster than it does out of the box, boosting its frequency to 4.6GHz. N V I D I A’s Titan graphics cards were the most droolworthy of 2013, and Yoyotech has included not one but two of them. It also has a gargantuan 64GB of Corsair memory, a 512GB solid state disk and 2TB hard disk, all housed in a Corsair Obsidian 900D tower case, which has been modified to hide

cables and give the inside a super-clean look. (Antony Leather)

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etc. Better Than Gold A teacher asked her students, “Children, if you could own one mineral what would it be?” One boy said, “I would choose gold. Its worth lots of money and I could buy a BMW.” Another boy said “ I would want platinum because its worth more than gold and I could buy a Porsche.” The teacher asked Pedro, “Pedro, what would you want?” Pedro said, “I want to own silicone.” “Why would you want silicone?,” asked the teacher. “Well, my mother got some,” Pedro replied. “Ever since then, there’s always a BMW or a Porsche sitting in our driveway.”

THE AUCTION

A woman woke up and told her husband about her last night’s dream. “I was at an auction for d*cks. The big ones sold for Php40,000 and the tiny ones for Php400.” The husband says, “What about one my size?” His wife responds, “Didn’t get a bid,” and then laughs to herself. The husband wants revenge, so the next morning he tells his wife about his dream last night. “I was at an auction for vaginas. The really tight ones sold for Php90,000 and the loose ones for Php900.” His wife says, “What about ones like mine?”

The husband smiles and says, “That’s where they held the auction.”

PRIORITIES

A man wanted to get married. He was having trouble choosing among three likely candidates. He gives each woman a present of Php15,000 and watches to see what they do with the money. The fi rst does a total make over. She goes to a fancy beauty salon gets her hair done, new make up and buys several new outfits and dresses up very nicely for the man. She tells him that she has done this to be more attractive for him because she loves him so much. The man was impressed. The second goes shopping to buy the man gifts. She gets him a new set of golf clubs, some new gizmos for his computer, and some expensive clothes. As she presents these gifts, she tells him that she has spent all the money on him because she loves him so much. Again, the man is impressed. The third invests the money in the stock market. She earns several times the Php15,000. She gives him back his Php15,000 and reinvests the remainder in a joint account. She tells him that she wants to save for their future because she loves him so much. Obviously, the man was impressed. The man thought for a long

time about what each woman had done with the money he’d given her. Then, he married the one with the biggest boobs. Men are like that, you know. There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer’s research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

BE STRONG

An escaped convict, imprisoned for 1st degree murder, had spent 25 years of his life sentence in prison. While on the run, he broke into a house and tied up a young couple who had been sleeping in the bedroom. He tied the man to a chair on one side of the room and his wife on the bed. He got on the bed right over the woman, and it appeared he was kissing her neck. Suddenly he got up and left the room. As soon as possible the husband made his way across the room to his bride, his chair in tow, and whispered, “Honey, this guy hasn’t seen a woman in years. I saw him kissing on your neck and then he left in a hurry. Just cooper-

ate and do anything he wants. If he wants to have sex with you, just go along with it and pretend you like it. Whatever you do don’t fight him or make him mad. Our lives depend on it! Be strong and I love you.” After spitting out the gag in her mouth, the half naked wife says: “Dear, I’m so relieved you feel that way. You’re right, he hasn’t seen a woman in years, but he wasn’t kissing my neck. He was whispering in my ear. He said he thinks you’re really cute and asked if we kept the Vaseline in the bathroom. Be strong and I love you, too.”

THE WRONG MOVIE

A guy with a black eye walks into a bar and orders ten bottles of beer. The bartender says, “Having a tough day, huh?” The guy says “Yeah. My wife and I were doing the dishes, and she turned to me and said ‘Why don’t we ever make love like in the movies?’ So I bent her over the kitchen table, yanked her pants down and rammed it in. I jackhammered her and slapped her on the ass as I pummeled her. Then I pulled it out, turned her around and blew my load all over her face.” The bartender said “Wow! But

MYSTERY NEWS 500M Year-Old Embryo of Unknown Animal Found THE fossils come from the Cambrian, a period dating from 540 million to 485 million years ago and known for an explosion of diversity. Some of the organisms that appeared during the Cambrian, such as the bug-like trilobite, had exoskeletons and other hard parts that fossilized nicely. Others, including sponges and worms, were made of soft tissue that rarely preserves. Researchers Jesse Broce of Virginia Tech, James Schiffbauer of the University of Missouri and their colleagues were searching for these rare soft-tissue fossils in limestone from the Hubei province of southern China when they found something even more rare: tiny spheres, including some with polygonal patterns on their surfaces. These itsy-bitsy fossils are most likely fossilized embryos, the researchers report in the March issue of the Journal of Paleontology. The fossils come from the third stage of the Cambrian, dating back to around 521 million to 541 million years ago. [See Images of a Giant Cambrian Creature] “We found over 140 spherically shaped fossils, some of which include features that are reminiscent of division-stage embryos, essentially frozen in time,” Schiffbauer said in a statement. The researchers began their investigation by attempting to dissolve fossils out of A CAMBRIAN emthe limestone from bryo fossil exposed China’s Shuijingtuo by acid etching on formation with acid, but rock. The polygonal that method seriously pattern suggests damaged or destroyed that the embryo the spherical fossils. was in the multicelResearchers then handlular blastula stage chiseled the rock into of development. millimeter- or centiCredit: Broce et al meter-sized chunks, exposing the fossil sur-

faces manually. From there, the researchers investigated the spheres with a variety of techniques, including slicing them into thin sections, which can be viewed under a microscope. The scientists also imaged the fossils with X-ray and scanning electron microscopy and X-ray techniques. The results showed specimens with a phosphaterich envelope surrounding a ball of calcite. (The organic compounds that once made up the embryos have long since mineralized.) Some of the spheres had polygonal patterns that look very similar to those seen on fossilized embryos from Markuelia, a Cambrian worm-like creature. The researchers believe that these specimens are blastulas, which are an early, multicellular stage of embryonic development. It remains a mystery what these embryos would have grown up to become. Fossilized embryos from a variety of species pop up occasionally in the fossil record, from a 380-million-year old fish with an embryo still in her belly to dinosaur embryos still curled up inside their eggs. (Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer/ LiveScience.com)

what’s up with the black eye?” The man replied, “Turns out we watch different movies.”

ALLIGATOR ACT

A guy walks into a bar with a pet alligator by his side. He puts the alligator up on the bar. He turns to the astonished patrons. “I’ll make you a deal. I’ll open this alligator’s mouth and place my genitals inside. Then the gator will close his mouth for one minute. He’ll then open his mouth and I’ll remove my unit unscathed. In return for w itnessing this spectacle, each of you will buy me a drink.” The crowd murmured their approval. The man stood up on the bar, dropped his trousers, and placed his privates in the alligator’s open mouth. The gator closed his mouth as the crowd gasped. After a minute, the man grabbed a beer bottle and rapped the alligator hard on the top of its head. The gator opened his mouth and the man removed his genitals unscathed as promised. The crowd cheered and the fi rst of his free drinks were delivered. The man stood up again and made another offer. “I’ll pay anyone Php1000 who’s willing to give it a try”. A hush fell over the crowd. After a while, a hand went up in the back of the bar. A woman timidly spoke up. “I’ll try, but you have to promise not to hit me on the head with the beer bottle”.

Russian City Sees Fireball In The Sky

RESIDENTS of Murmansk, a city in Northern Russia, reported seeing a huge fi reball tearing through the nightsky. The event occurred at 2.10am local time Saturday and was caught by several dashboard cameras, according to Russia Today. The authenticity of the videos hasn’t been confi rmed yet. The bright object was seen just days before the annual Lyrid meteor, which is expected to peak April 21 and 22, according to The International Business Times. Meteors, the bright fl ashes of light streaking across the sky, are fairly common. However, several of these meteors are never observed as they occur during the day or at remote places on Earth. A meteor making it to the earth’s surface is a very rare event. About 99.99 percent of meteors comWE TAKE A STAND

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Laughs and The Extraordinary

pletely disintegrate before reaching the surface, according to The American Meteor Society. Last year, a large rock landed near Chelyabinsk in Russia. The meteorite explosion injured over 1,000 people. The radiation caused skin and retinal injuries in several people. The Chelyabinsk explosion was the largest meteorite explosion in the world since 1908, according to IBT. Several studies have been conducted on the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Russian Academy of Sciences researchers have reported that the rock that hit Russia last February exploded with an energy of nearly 500 kilotonnes of TNT, according to the Guardian. Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic researchers published a paper November, 2013. The study reported that the Chelyabinsk meteorite might have been a part of the asteroid 86039.

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APRIL 28-MAY 4, 2014

13 4/25/2014 9:07:44 PM

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