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Report

Volume 2 - Number 33 • September 3-16, 2012

Strategic Analysis and Research by the

Center for Strategy, Enterprise & Intelligence As other countries see their labor costs go up, the Philippines will remain competitive due to the sheer abundance of workers joining the labor force ~ ″A Youthful Population Helps Make the Philippines an Economic Bright Spot in Asia,″ The New York Times, August 27 But just having people is not good enough. We need to educate them ~ National Competitiveness Council private-sector co-chairman Guillermo Luz

3 Moving the Poor to Safer Ground

NATION

Before the next mega-flood, the government must redouble its efforts to move more than one million creek-, river- and lakeside Filipinos out of harm’s way • Let’s talk about this: A consultative approach to resettlement

10 The Sereno Court Begins

With ecologically friendly products, more and more companies are finding ways to care for the environment and the bottom line at the same time • The new Chief Justice: Who is Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno?

WORLD

17 Haves vs. Have-Nots Derailed Rio+20

BUSINESS

25 How To Green Your Brand

TECHNOLOGY

33 The Computerized Crystal Ball

Global economic inequality has been a central impediment to undertaking a common, comprehensive planet-wide cooperation on climate change • Changing weather: Developing nations have gone from confrontation to cautious engagement in the climate-change discourse

With ecologically friendly products, more and more companies are finding ways to care for the environment and the bottom line at the same time • There and back again: Toyota’s hybrid battery recycling program • Jolly, green Asian: The region’s sustainability drive

How Big Data can shed light on human behavior and predict what lies ahead • Big Data basics: The growing business of mining mountains of information • No surprises: Asia is tipped to lead the growth in data analysis

HEALTH/LIFESTYLE

CONTENTS

NATION

41 More than Just a Game

Addiction or not, the spreading habit of online gaming is taking its toll on young people and their families • As hot as kimchi: South Korea has fast Internet connections, more than 25 million online gamers — and, some say, a national obsession • Cold turkey: Former gaming addicts show the way back to the real world • The serious business of fun and games: The world’s top 10 gaming companies in 2009 took in over $24 billion in revenues,

WORLD

BUSINESS

TECHNOLOGY

POINT & CLICK You can access online research via the Internet by clicking phrases in blue

HEALTH/LIFESTYLE

Center for Strategy, Enterprise & Intelligence provides expertise in strategy and management, enterprise development, intelligence, Internet and media. For subscriptions, research, and advisory services, please e-mail report@censeisolutions.com or call/fax +63-2-5311182. Links to online material on public websites are current as of the week prior to the publication date, but might be removed without warning. Publishers of linked content should e-mail us or contact us by fax if they do not wish their websites to be linked to our material in the future.


Now, the CenSEI News & Strategy Alerts Starting this issue, Briefing Notes from the Center for Strategy, Enterprise & Intelligence will begin running in the revamped and retitled CenSEI News & Strategy Alerts at the end of every section in the publication (where News on the Net used to run). The CenSEI NSA Briefing Notes were originally written and disseminated over the past couple of weeks before the Report’s publication as part of a special daily service to CenSEI NSA subscribers. Under this service, CenSEI NSA clients in business, politics, government, diplomatic and international bodies get several SMS or online alerts every hour containing breaking news and strategic commentary and recommendations on them. In addition, CenSEI analysts email daily Briefing Notes providing more information, analysis and advisories on selected issues, such as the surge in global food prices, the Apple-Samsung patent battle, and Mar Roxas’s appointment as local government secretary. These Notes are updated and published in The CenSEI Report, to provide our readers with the same strategic insights and imperatives sent several days ahead to CenSEI NSA subscribers. The hourly Alerts and daily Notes benefit from the same strategy and policy expertise that goes into every article in the Report, honed by decades of assessing and responding to the most significant developments in world, national, business, technology and social affairs. CenSEI News & Strategy Alerts and Briefing Notes answer the need among policy and decision makers for quick advice and action recommendations on rapid developments on the international and domestic fronts. On the looming threat of global food price hikes, triggered by the worst U.S. drought in decades, our Briefing Note cautions that the Aquino administration’s policy of limiting rice imports by the National Food Authority, may limit the NFA’s ability to counter hoarding and profiteering if food prices again spike, as in 2007-08. As for the Apple-Samsung legal wrangle, while many reports and commentary have been quick with supposed impact and implications of the San Jose, California, jury verdict, our Briefing Note points out that the final court decision isn’t due till the judge makes his own ruling on September 20. The Note also cites a couple of online analyses indicating jury failings which could later water down the billion-dollar award to Apple, if not reverse it on appeal. As always, CenSEI looks behind the blaring headlines and gets to the real import in the news. For readers who may wish to sample the CenSEI NSA service, we are offering a two-week free trial, during which prospective NSA clients would receive SMS and online Alerts and Briefing Notes. Just send your name, organization, cellphone number, and email address to report@censeisolutions.com.


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Moving Filipinos to Safer Ground

STRATEGY POINTS The government admits that only 9,000 to 10,000 slum dwellers will be relocated by the end of year, or half of the annual target of 20,000 families The ₱325-billion flood control master plan of the government will displace 787,106 individuals, but the government expects many more times that number will benefit Resettlement projects should include livelihood programs for displaced households

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The government needs to redouble its efforts to move people out of harm’s way. Can it do so before the next flood strikes? By Pia Rufino

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he massive flooding induced by days of torrential monsoon rains in August affected over four million people or nearly one million families in Metro Manila, the Ilocos region, Southern and Central Luzon, and Western Visayas, according to Aug. 17 data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. A total of 215,763 families (989,002 people) were forced to leave their homes, of whom 48,784 families (212,632 people) took refuge in 656 evacuation centers and 16,979 families (776,370 persons) in the houses of relatives and friends. A total of 12,962 houses were ravaged in the Ilocos, Southern Luzon, Central Luzon, and Western Visayas regions. The Philippines ranks third in the world in terms of vulnerability to disasters, based on WorldRiskReport 2011 by the United Nations University, the academic arm of the U.N. The study evaluates the vulnerability of 173 countries to natural hazards. In a recent report by Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) “Special chapter of Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2012: Green Urbanization,” which tackles environmental sustainability and rapid urbanization

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in the region, 6.81 million people are found to be vulnerable to coastal flooding and 3.71 million to inland flooding in the Philippines as measured in 2000 -- placing the country fourth among Southeast Asian countries in terms of number of people vulnerable to flooding, behind Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. (See tables below)

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The most populous city in the country, Quezon City, is 38th among 40 Asian cities vulnerable to inland flooding listed in the ADB report, with 2o% of its population and 9% of its area at risk from flooding. Phnom Penh in Cambodia leads the list, with 99% of both its population and land area at risk from inland flooding. (Refer to Table 6, p. 16)

Flood Vulnerability in Southeast Asia Population and Area at Risk of Coastal Flooding, 2000 Economy Brunei Darussalam

Urban Population at Flood risk

% Population at Flood Risk

Urban Land Area (km2) at Flood Risk

% Urban Land ARea at Flood Risk

24,965

11.2

256

24.2

Cambodia

281,944

15.0

137

21.3

Indonesia

22,720,666

27.9

8,176

26.4

Malaysia

3,687,052

26.5

3,775

28.1

Myanmar

4,512,823

36.2

1,087

24.2

Philippines

6,807,578

27.4

1,872

22.8

Singapore

550,057

14.0

62

12.0

Thailand

12,471,874

60.0

9,207

34.8

Viet Nam

12,862,429

73.9

3,877

66.4

Sub Total

63,919,387

36.1

28,448

31.1

Population and Area at Risk of Inland Flooding, 2000 Economy Brunei Darussalam

Urban Population at Flood risk

% Population at Flood Risk

Urban Land Area (km2) at Flood Risk

% Urban Land ARea at Flood Risk

1,634

0.7

14

1.3

Cambodia

1,428,121

76.0

641

100.0

Indonesia

4,394,972

5.4

2,417

7.8

Malaysia

302,835

34.0

276

26.1

Myanmar

495,254

3.6

749

5.6

2,361,353

19.0

1,050

23.4

Philippines Singapore

3,713,398

14.9

968

11.8

Thailand

6,070,291

29.2

7,002

26.5

Viet Nam

6,716,973

38.6

1,893

32.4

Sub Total

25,484,820

14.7

15,010

16.3

Table from Special chapter of Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2012: Green Urbanization by Asian Development Bank, Aug. 2012, p. 15

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The ₱352-billion government flood control program, which covers 11 infrastructure projects, will displace 735,000 people but the government expects five times more than the number or over four million individuals will benefit Moreover, the report says vulnerability to flooding will increase with urbanization. ADB notes that the scale of urbanization in Asia is unprecedented--more than half of the world’s megacities (cities with 10 million or more people) are now in the region and another 1.1 billion people will be added to Asia’s urban population in the next 30 years. ADB predicts the number of people at risk of coastal flooding to rise from about 245 million in 2010 to roughly 350 million by 2025. Likewise, it says the number of urban Asians at risk of coastal flooding is projected to increase from over 300 million in 2010 to 410 million by 2025.

The ₱352-billion plan. In a bid to reduce the

vulnerability of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces to flooding, the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) presented a ₱351.7-billion flood-control program that would run up to 2035, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Aug. 12. Patrick Gatan, head of DPWH’s Project Management Office for Major Flood Control Projects told the Inquirer the plan covers 11 infrastructure projects that would require the resettlement of at least 787,106 people, mostly illegal settlers. An Aug. 15 Inquirer follow-up report revised that original estimate to over 735,000 people, and quoted Gatan as saying that the original proposed budget

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was just an initial estimate and could still go up. WThe report includes a list of the priority control projects and the number of people to be displaced and the number of people expected to benefit from the projects. (See right table) As part of the master plan, DPWH Secretary Singson said the government will relocate 125,000 families from flood-prone areas in Metro Manila and about 62,500 families around Laguna lake from next year until 2016, according to an Aug. 15 Manila Times report.

Accelerate relocation program. Vice-President

Jejomar Binay, who also chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, in an Aug. 11 statement called for immediate implementation of a national government plan to relocate informal settler families (ISFs) from danger zones. He noted that Metro Manila has 580,000 ISFs, of which 104,000 are illegal occupants at waterways. Binay said the government and the private sector must now work together to accelerate the construction of medium-rise buildings (MRBs) and new town settlements for informal settlers in danger zones. Last year, the government announced a ₱50-billion program to provide on-site or in-city housing for more than 100,000 families living near danger zones

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over five years or 20,000 families a year until 2016, based on an Aug. 16 Inquirer article. President Aquino approved ₱10 billion last year for the program implementation, and promised a P10-billion annual allocation for resettlement projects until 2016, when his term ends. In a Sept. 2011 Inquirer article, Joey Salgado, Binay’s media officer, said that about 1,750 MRBs are needed to rehouse 105,000 families in Metro Manila. “Based on National Housing Authority (NHA) standards, each MRB will be five stories high with 60 units per MRB … The standard cost per MRB, inclusive of land development, is about ₱34.5 million (which puts the total project cost at ₱60.4 billion),” Salgado elaborated.

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However, the recently departed Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, who headed a task force responsible for relocation projects at the time, admitted that only 9,000 to 10,000 informal settlers would be relocated by yearend, half of the annual target. Asked about when the houses would be built, Robredo told the Inquirer: “That’s difficult to say.” Among the challenges, he said, were the difficulty in finding relocation sites, long bidding processes and the rigorous consultation with the illegal settlers. In an Aug. 14 Interaksyon article, Robredo said that however challenging, the government will follow on-site, in-city, near-city housing, which the law mandates. He said relocation sites have been identified in Pasay City, Quezon City and Manila, and

FLOOD CONTROL PLAN AFFECTED POPULATION PROJECTIONS Project

People to be Displaced

1. Marikina large dam and Pasig-Marikina River Improvement

People to Benefit

330,708

1.6 million

2. Malabon-Tullahan River Improvement

39,456

298,000

3. Meycauayan River Improvfement

35,320

250,000

4. East Mangahan Floodway & Cainta-Taytay River Improvement

24,832

227,000

3,200

25,600

114,000

114,000

30,278

104,000

299,879

1.5 million

9. Improvement of inflow rivers to Laguna Lake

26,633

260,000

10. Manila Core Area Drainage Improvement

24,000

270,000

5. West Mangahan Area Drainage Improvement 6. West Laguna Lakeshore Land Raising 7. South Parañaque-Las Piñas River Improvement 8. Land raising for small towns around Laguna Lake

11. Valenzuela -Obando-Meycauayan River Improvement

No estimates provided

Table originally published in “735,000 people to be displaced by flood control projects, says DPWH,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug. 15, 2012

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Socialized housing and resettlement projects shall be located near areas where employment opportunities are accessible ~ Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, Sec. 22

bidding for 9,000 medium-rise housing units was started this year. (Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 Section 22 states that “socialized housing and resettlement projects shall be located near areas where employment opportunities are accessible.”) Speaking in the Interaksyon article, Erik Villanueva, deputy executive director of the non-profit research and advocacy institute Institute for Popular Democracy said several association of informal settlers have submitted their resettlement plans for the DILG and NHA to consider in implementing the P10-billion housing program this year. Villanueva stressed: “Informal settlers along waterways, estimated at 104,000 families, are not opposing relocation; they want to avail of it.”

₱5.5 billion to NHA for relocating illegal settlers. In June, the NHA received ₱5.5 billion to

relocate illegal-settler families from calamity-prone areas, according to a June 4 DBM press release. Per NHA, under the program, 12,227 house and lot

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packages, 10,188 housing units, and 16,527 lots will be provided to beneficiary families nationwide. Of the total fund, at least ₱4.16 billion will go to NHAadministered rehousing activities, of which around ₱2.7 billion will be used to relocate ISFs living in high-risk areas in Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, and Pampanga.The highest provision goes to NCR where ₱2.3 million will be used for 5,568 house and lot, 1,320 housing units.Meanwhile, ₱1.006 billion will go to local government units (LGUs) outside Metro Manila.

The challenges. A Nov. 2009 Policy Note from

the Philippine Institute for Development Studies on housing reforms for the poor, a summary of which was posted by Ross Tan on the East Asia Forum site on March 2010, presents several factors which hinder housing production and resettlement programs in the Philippines. According to the summary of Marife Ballesteros’ policy note, most LGUs, who are supposed to be important implementers of housing projects, “lack the capacity and resources for shelter and urban

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Moving Filipinos to safer ground

management,” and “are not often keen to accept low-income migrants for relocation, due to limited social services and economic opportunities, and housing maintenance costs.” Resettlement costs are increasing, making LGUs dependent on national subsidies. The policy note also cites lack of coordination among agencies in charge of resettlement project and lack of opportunities and services in the relocation sites as challenges. The policy note also provides identifies a number of key areas for government reform, summarized as follows: • A reliable and sustainable poverty database system for identifying suitable beneficiaries, in conjunction with a national resettlement policy to provide a common framework for resettlement approaches, housing packages, and entitlement, and a common fund for

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resettlement, with the NHA as lead agency • A system of incentives to encourage and empower LGUs to perform their roles in providing shelter, including working with the national police to curtail squatting syndicates • Development of public-private partnership as a key strategy in resettlement projects, while rationalizing and improving tax incentives for shelter needs and increasing public expenditure on housing • A favorable environment for housing finance through ensuring the financial health of state-owned housing finance institutions and encouraging the entry of housing microfinance institutions, while improving the bankability of the poor through community and livelihooddevelopment programs.

Livelihood opportunities. The country has not

been very successful in providing employment,

The importance of public consultation An information campaign aimed at affected people is outlined in the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) in Sept. 2011 for the Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement project (of which Phase II of a four-phase project was 99% completed as of June, as reported in The Philippine Star on June 23). According to the RAP, project awareness campaign among government officials, general public and students in the areas of proposed construction work – Manila, Makati, and Pasig Cities – and consultation of the affected families on their relocation preferences were conducted in April, July, and August, 2011, to ensure peaceful relocation before December, 2013, when further construction is to commence. Out of the 58 households consulted, 31 households, or about 53%, chose social housing of the LGUs outside Metro Manila while the remainder chose in-city relocation. The total estimated cost for preparation and implementation of resettlement plan for the 58 households is ₱40.4 million.

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Moving Filipinos to safer ground

Resettlement programs which do not take into consideration the proximity of relocatees to livelihood has been less than successful worldwide, according to the joint 2009 World Bank-Philippine government post-disaster assessment

livelihood opportunities, and adequate services to many of the families transferred under relocation or resettlement programs, according to the National Economic and Development Authority’s assessment in Chapter 5 of the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 (p. 174). According to the joint Nov. 2009 World BankPhilippine government assessment, “Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng: Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Main Report,” resettlement programs which do not take into consideration the proximity of relocatees to livelihood “has been less than successful worldwide.” The report says affected families should always be consulted and immediately be offered with temporary housing near their sources of livelihood. The provision of long-term livelihood can be done through the following measures: • In-city resettlement close to existing employment • Provision of new, ample income opportunities in housing sites outside Metro Manila • Affordable transport and/or housing facilities for wage earners of resettled households who work in the city

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The report also highlights the importance of effective urban land use saying that with the high cost of land in Metro Manila, “verticalization” – the development of vertical houses or buildings in more compact settlements – is a “logical solution.” “Resettlement of flood victims in Metro Manila offers an opportunity to develop new, more appropriate ways of developing the area. Cities such as Singapore and São Paulo that have successfully addressed the issue of slum upgrading have done so through more intensive use of urban land,” the report says. According to the report, the damage and losses in the housing sector induced by Ondoy and Pepeng, which hit the country in 2009, is estimated at ₱34.4 billion. The typhoons destroyed about 220,000 houses in Metro Manila and across Luzon, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. More than ₱90 billion will be needed to rehouse families living around water-hazard areas and to provide 94,000 new housing units to households whose homes are damaged or destroyed.

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The Sereno Court Begins In advancing reform, new Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno must first win the respect of magistrates across the land, and rebuild unity and trust in the Judiciary By Atty. John Carlo Gil M. Sadian STRATEGY POINTS New Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno faces the same issues that brought down Chief Justice Corona: SALN questions and presidential ties In dispensing with seniority and tradition, President Aquino’s choice removes one key source of respect and authority in the judiciary Chief Justice Sereno is right to call for dialogue, but may have done the very opposite by restricting interviews and media briefings

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno takes her oath of office before President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III in Malacañang on August 25. Looking on are her husband Mario Jose Sereno (holding the Bible) and her children Maria Sophia A. Sereno and Jose Lorenzo Sereno. Chief Justice Sereno makes history as the first female Chief Justice of the land. She will be serving as Chief Justice for 18 years Supreme Court

S

ince ancient times, a blindfolded woman balancing scales has symbolized the institutions of justice. Now, for the first time in history, a lady magistrate heads an Asian nation’s judiciary, and for nearly two decades, barring death, disability, resignation or removal. Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno’s tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, if she serves until her mandated retirement in 2030, would cover four presidents and outlast all justices now in the High Court. After a much-delayed process to select the successor to impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, made even more controversial by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s efforts to get the post, the Judicial and Bar Council broke tradition on August 13 by including in its shortlist of eight names three nominees other than the usual five most senior High Court justices. And on August 24, eleven days after receiving this shortlist, President

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Aquino made his own bit of history, selecting the youngest among the 15-member tribunal as its new head, who is also his first appointee to the High Court. With just two years of experience as a judge, Sereno now faces the tough task of healing deep wounds and rebuilding shattered trust in the judiciary after the bruising Corona impeachment, not to mention

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pursuing sweeping reform to clear clogged court dockets and reduce inducements and influence compromising judges. And the long march to change begins with regaining respect and credibility for the Chief Justice, gravely damaged in the Senate trial and media propaganda against Corona. Hence, Chief Justice Sereno must show the nation that she is free from the alleged financial issues and presidential influence for which her predecessor was impeached. And she must win the broad support of the Judiciary and the law profession, whose efforts are crucial for judicial reform to advance. In both these imperatives, however, the new head magistrate faces early obstacles.

only the five most senior magistrates for Chief Justice. Presidents themselves from Corazon Aquino to Gloria Arroyo respected seniority, usually appointing the most senior associate justice. In rare deviations, the second most senior magistrate was selected: Artemio Panganiban in 2005, partly because he would retire ahead of the more senior Reynato Puno, who succeeded him in 2007; and Renato Corona in 2010, after the most senior justice, Antonio Carpio, declined nomination, believing that the Arroyo appointment would violate the election ban.

Seniority and tradition have helped ensure that those appointed to lead the judiciary enjoy respect from both judges and other members of the law profession. Judging from the attendance at Sereno’s Tradition set aside. Ever since the JBC was Palace oath-taking, the bypassing of eleven more established in 1987 until 2010, it had nominated senior justices, including then-Acting Chief Justice and top JBC vote-getter Antonio Carpio, did not go down well STATEMENT OF ASSETS, LIABILITIES AND INCORRECT WORTH with most of the 13 other High Court members. Only four of them attended: Martin Villarama, Mariano del Castillo, who has a live impeachment complaint in Congress hanging over his head; and Sereno’s fellow Aquino appointees Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

Shortly after assuming office, Sereno released a copy of her SALN on August 30, only to pull it out for some “corrections.” The two versions are shown with substantial differences GMA News

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Besides setting aside seniority, Sereno’s appointment cut off the chances of all incumbent justices to become Chief Justice, since she would retire later than them all. The Manila Times reported that eight of the more senior Justices were “devastated” by Sereno’s appointment. Notably too, of the eight JBC members, Supreme Court Justice Diosdado Peralta,

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who chaired the deliberations, and retired High Court justice Regino Hermosisima, who has served since Ramos’s time, did not vote for Sereno.

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How the JBC voted

In her first en banc session with the other justices, the new Chief Justice thanked her colleagues for attending, called for dialogue, and pledged to make public her SALN. Justice Teresita de Castro, who criticized Sereno’s dissenting opinion on the Hacienda Luisita case, said “it is our duty” to be present at the en banc session. As for dialogue, it is not clear if Sereno consulted other justices on her revamp of the three High Court divisions on her first day as Chief Justice. She also altered the practice of the Supreme Court spokesperson providing media the en banc meeting highlights right after the Tuesday session. Instead, she herself issued a press release the following day.

Psychological incapacity? Besides seniority

and tradition, the required psychological test for JBC nominees might have been disregarded as well, posing further obstacles to Sereno’s quest for respect. The Manila Times had reported that she got a score of only 4 — second-lowest in a scale of 1 to 5 and considered “unsatisfactory” — in the psychological examination required by the JBC for the Chief Justice aspirants.

The JBC tally sheet shows that each member was given eight votes for their preferences for Chief Justice. Notably, Justice Peralta only cast five votes, and he gave them all for the incumbent magistrates of the Court except Sereno. Also worth noting is that Senator Escudero was the only member who did not vote for Carpio JBC Photo

Asked about the test, JBC member Jose Mejia, who represents the academe, neither confirmed nor denied Sereno’s result. Instead, he wondered how the broadsheet got hold of the strictly confidential report. The La Salle professor added that the psychological report is only one of the factors the council considered. This despite a JBC practice never to nominate anyone with a grade below 3 for any judicial position.

when asked about it, Sereno told media: “Di na muna natin iyan i-aaddress [We will not address that for now]. Today is the day of thanksgiving.” Meanwhile, the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Atty. Roan Libarios, president of the national lawyers group Integrated Bar of the Philippines, discounting news of Sereno’s test grade: “If there had been a problem, the JBC would not have qualified her.”

Malacanang shrugged off as “unverified” and “unconfirmed” the alleged test result. For her part,

The reported psychological assessment reportedly described Sereno as “dramatic and emotional.”

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It also said: “she appears energetic and all smiles and agreeable, but with religious preoccupation in almost all significant aspects of her life. She projects a happy mood but has depressive markers too. There is a strong tendency to make decisions based on current mood thus, outcome is highly subjective and self-righteous.” There was speculation that the test leak could have been done to discredit Sereno and another candidate with Aquino links, Solicitor-General Francis Jardeleza. If so, it might have had the opposite effect, prompting the President to appoint Sereno before further news cut her down in the public eye ahead of the August 27 deadline to name a new Chief Justice.

Arroyo man to Aquino lady? A further issue facing

the new Chief Justice is her perceived leanings toward President Aquino, her 1980s college schoolmate at Ateneo. The administration repeatedly lambasted and eventually ousted Corona for allegedly having close ties and showing undue favor to former president Gloria Arroyo, whom he had served as chief of staff and legal counsel. The first Article of Impeachment against him accused him of consistently voting for Arroyo in major cases, though the House prosecutors decided not to even take up the charge at the Senate trial. If patterns of voting and legal opinions would be the basis for gauging political leanings, however, then Chief Justice Sereno seemed to show at least as much favor toward President Aquino as Corona was accused of toward Arroyo. Since becoming Aquino’s first appointee to the High Court in 2010, Sereno has consistently taken his side in cases with strongly worded dissents in politically sensitive cases against the so-called “Arroyo justices.” Most significant of these was her dissenting opinion on the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmers, favoring nearly ₱5 billion government payment for the land, more than 25 times the majority’s valuation.

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In the petition questionong Aquino’s first Executive Order creating the Truth Commission was questioned, Justice Sereno, then just newly appointed, immediately sided with the Palace. In her dissenting opinion she said the majority decision favored by two-thirds of the court “discarded the elementary rules of logic and legal precedents” when it invalidated the commission for discriminating against the past administration. Here she joined the voting tandem of Senior Associate Justice Carpio and Associate Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, both known to vote against Arroyo. When the Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against a Department of Justice Watch List Order barring Arroyo and her husband from leaving the country for medical treatment, Sereno again dissented along with Carpio and Mendoza and two other Aquino appointees Reyes and Perlas-Bernabe. Her dissenting opinion divulged confidential deliberations among the justices, and would later be used by the impeachment prosecution in trying to show Corona’s alleged partiality toward the Arroyos. In his own opinion favoring the TRO, Justice Roberto Abad bristled: “If our deliberations cannot remain confidential, we might as well close down business.” In reviewing its November 2011 decision to distribute Hacienda Luisita, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed it in April. Still, Sereno dissented in insisting that payment for the land be “based on their fair market value as of January 2006” instead of 1989, when the plantation should have been parceled out for having failed to properly implement the stock distribution scheme keeping the estate intact. Justice De Castro then signed the main decision with a note expressing her “vehement disagreement with Justice Sereno’s opinion which will put the land beyond the capacity of the farmers to pay, based on her strained construction/interpretation of the law.”

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How the judiciary, the law profession and the public eventually assess Sereno’s impartiality or lack thereof, may depend on sensitive cases due for decision. Among them: Arroyo’s petition to void the joint Commission on Elections-DOJ probe on which her non-bailable electoral sabotage case was based; Aquino orders questioned before the Court, including EO2 dismissing alleged Arroyo “midnight appointees”

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and just recently affirmed by the Court of Appeals; and administration measures postponing elections and appointing officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and empowering a Cabinet panel to abolish state firms created by law. But even more crucial to judicial independence besides high-profile High Court cases are the

Who is Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal-Sereno? President Aquino’s first appointee in the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, was the Court’s twelfth most senior magistrate prior to her appointment as Chief Justice. An economics graduate of Ateneo de Manila, she took law at the University of the Philippines, graduated cum laude, and placed 14th in the 1984 Bar exams. She then went on to obtain a master of laws degree from the University of Michigan. At age 51 in late 2010, she was one of the youngest appointees to the Supreme Court and would serve until 2030, barring death, disability, resignation or removal. She was part of the think-tank of the Asian Institute of Management before her appointment to the High Court. Serving as government counsel in different cases, one of her most controversial cases was the Fraport case filed by the German government against the Philippine government concerning the NAIA Terminal 3 Project. Before Corona was impeached, the Palace stated that the “next chief justice” must be in the mold of Sereno. During her one-and-a-half-hour JBC interview, Sereno spoke with a heightened degree of passion, so when asked where she gets such passion, she responded that she was born that way: a person with enthusiasm for life. She also said that lady justices “have strong intuition, can take in so much work and burdens.” Thus, she said she could take on the task of being Chief Justice because she believes that she “can lead fellow justices even if she often gives dissenting opinions.” When asked whether she can heal the Judiciary, she responded by asking what there was to heal, arguing that despite heavy dissenting opinions against one another, the Justices still managed to get together for lunch and laugh at each others’ jokes. She also said that despite being the youngest in the High Court, she does not see any problem leading the other Justices since older people had worked under her in the past. Sereno also took the chance to clarify that she did not push for a 10 billion peso just compensation for the Cojuangcos in the Hacienda Luisita case. She said that she merely dissented as to the time the “taking” of the hacienda would be determined and that no value was ever discussed during the deliberations. The new Chief Justice is married to Mario Jose E. Sereno. They have two children, Maria Sophia and Jose Lorenzo.

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endorsements by the Judicial and Bar Council for magistrate positions. As JBC head, Chief Justice Sereno wields much clout in determining which judges gets recommended for higher courts. If those who often rule in favor of the administration or its allies and friends frequently get promotions, then judicial impartiality may weaken.

Another SALN conundrum. With her predecessor

having been voted out for failing to declare major assets in his SALN, it’s no surprise that as her first official act as Chief Justice, Sereno reportedly ordered the full disclosure of the SALNs of the magistrates of the High Court. If Sereno were to institute reforms in the Judiciary, the revocation of A.M. No. 92-9851-RTC, the 1992 resolution restricting disclosure of justices’ SALNs, would be a good start. Soon after Corona’s conviction in late May, the Supreme Court issued A.M. No. 09-8-6-SC reversing the two decadesold policy of SALN secrecy. But no wealth disclosures have been released since. Last week Sereno rightly set the example by releasing her own asset declarations for 2009 and 2010, the latter slightly revised. Now she may need to reconcile the figures with her supposed income, including purportedly hefty earnings from the Phlippine government itself. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) disclosed in a report that Sereno declared exactly the same total assets in her two SALNs — ₱17,996,810.82 — despite having received far more income than her usual pay at the time. She issued a revised 2010 statement last week, but even that was just ₱44,000 higher.

Those numbers apparently did not account for her fees as special counsel to the Philippines in arbitration cases abroad, including the case filed by German

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airport operator Fraport over its investment in the NAIA Terminal 3 Project. Sereno was among elite lawyers who together billed the government ₱2.4 billion in “aggregated” expenses. Asked whether the JBC checked Sereno’s SALNs, council member Atty. Maria Milagros N. FernanCayosa admitted that they only “cross-checked” whether the declarations matched the nominees’ yearend bank balances. Cayosa added: “If we really like a comprehensive determination of the fitness, which would include the financial background, financial integrity exactly, I will admit we have somewhat limited capabilities for that.” If the JBC had been less than stringent in checking SALNs, expect Sereno’s doubters and detractors to dig much deeper. The pressure to account for the NAIA 3 earnings may yet increase with the tax evasion case filed last week by the Bureau of Internal Revenue against Corona, his wife and one daughter over allegedly undeclared income based on his bank deposits. How Sereno responds to SALN and other issues will likely be restrained by her avowed resolve to “return the Supreme Court to its days of dignified silence.” After one and a half years of quietly bearing President Aquino’s repeated public attacks against him and High Court decisions, Corona launched his own media blitz at the start of his Senate trial in January, responding to the propaganda campaign against him and his family. In addressing SALN, impartiality and qualification issues, not to mention the formidable challenge of judicial reform, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will need far more than dignified silence to quiet her critics and muster support for her leadership and her agenda for change in the judiciary.

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News & Strategy Alerts Nation

After Robredo, Roxas takes charge • Roxas’ appointment as DILG chief effectively bolsters LP’s prospects in next year’s national elections as well as through to 2016 • Roxas’ standing in the party, as well as his plans for the 2016 presidential elections, will hinge greatly on LP’s performance in and outside the polls • Roxas is expected to continue Robredo’s good governance

President Benigno Aquino III officially announced on Friday, August 31 the appointment of erstwhile Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas as the next Interior and Local Government chief, replacing the late Jesse Robredo. Cavite Representative Joseph E.V. Abaya, meanwhile, will take over Roxas’ responsibilities in DOTC. As both Roxas and Abaya -- party president and secretary-general, respectively -- are from the ruling Liberal Party (LP), the twin appointments effectively bolster the party’s prospects in next year’s national elections as well as through to 2016. With Roxas at the DILG helm, he can help broaden support for the party from among local officials and orchestrate the LP campaign next year. Roxas has ensured that he has a free rein in running his new department, including control of the police and not just the local government, by easing out Undersecretary Rico Puno of DILG. It can be recalled that, when his late predecessor Robredo was appointed DILG chief in 2010, effective supervision of the police was given to Puno, reportedly resulting in a power struggle within the department.

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With his appointment, Roxas’ standing in the party, as well as his plans for the 2016 presidential elections, will Representative Joseph Abaya to DOTC hinge greatly on LP’s performance in and outside the polls. Roxas’ earlier pronouncement that he has no plans of running for president in DILG incoming Secretary Mar Roxas 2016 may still change if his work at DILG can help build up enough clamor later on for his candidacy. As DILG Chief, Roxas is expected to continue Robredo’s good governance initiatives, to buttress his profile for future polls. To build broad support and raise his profile further, Roxas should also use his post to push reforms like job creation, infrastructure and disaster response by LGUs with national government help.

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WORLD

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From Rio to Rio+20: Coasting in Neutral but Momentum Is Slowing

Global inequality has been a central impediment to achieving a common, comprehensive climate policy By Bill Huang and Jerome Balinton STRATEGY POINTS Recent news indicates that the world’s ice is melting faster than previously imagined Major carbon-emitting countries have made some progress in reducing the intensity of their emissions, but developing countries’ efforts, while moderately successful, have been overwhelmed by increased electricity consumption The Kyoto Protocol places the responsibility of reducing carbon emissions on developed, industrialized countries, but emissions from developing countries have caught up and will exceed them in the near future Scholars suggest the best way to address the problem of greenhouse-gas emissions is to get major emitters together, regardless of whether they are developed or developing countries

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In

July and August, some news stories might not have made major headlines around the world, but perhaps they should have.

A July 20 story from the Integrated Regional Information Networks of the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that a major new study found that glaciers in the Himalayas that feed major south Asian rivers were melting more rapidly than before, at least in part due to soaring global temperatures. A July 25 BBC story reported that scientists from the U.S.’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) found “unprecedented” melting in Greenland’s ice sheet, as the area covered by thawed ice jumped from 40% to 97% in just four days. According to the story, such a pronounced degree of melting across Greenland’s ice sheet has not occurred since 1889. Saving the worst for last, the Aug. 28 news story in The Telegraph would seem to be depressing enough, reporting that the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean had

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From Rio to Rio+20: Stuck in neutral but on an incline

melted to its smallest point ever, according to data from Nasa and the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The 4.1 million square kilometers of sea ice was reported to be 70,000 square kilometers less than the previous low recorded in Sept. 2007. Apart from that news, already depressing in itself, the Telegraph story also quoted one scientist positing that the news might indicate that climate-change alarmists might have been too reticent, as climate change might be proceeding and at a greater magnitude in a number of areas. Another scientist reported that the Arctic region is now losing 155,000 square kilometers of ice every two years. Capping the story was a mention that according to data from the Washington-based Center for Global Development, nations including China, India, and the United States were reducing the intensity of their carbon emissions, but the effort was overwhelmed by the surge in power consumption in developing nations. An Aug. 29 Agence France-Presse story posted on the Center for Global Development’s site reported that from 2004 to 2009, high-income nations reduced their carbon intensity by 5.5%, which outpaced their 2.7% growth in electricity consumption, but a decline in carbon intensity of 1.3% in developing countries was more than offset by a 34% surge in electricity consumption. In June, nations gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 years after the Rio Earth Summit, to reaffirm their “commitment to sustainable development and an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable future for our planet,” as expressed in a July 24 draft resolution.

‘A world at a loss for what to do.’ Days before

the Rio+20 meeting, however, United Nations

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Environment Programme executive director Achim Steiner said, during the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Pontifical Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro’s Fair Ideas conference, “If you look at the official negotiations now, you get an image of a world that is at a loss for what to do … To come here 20 years after the first Rio summit and see the depressing picture of what’s happened since should shake us out of our complacency … The summit should be a moment of introspection for the sustainable development community.” For his part, International Institute for Sustainable Development executive director for Europe Mark Halle, in his “Life After Rio” commentary, says that the real disappointment of Rio+20 comes in the “failure to agree on any serious reform of sustainable development governance (page 2).” According to Halle, developing countries expressed doubts on the integration of green economy as the new guiding paradigm of economic development for the “fear of resurgence of trade protection, dominance of richcountry technology, and commoditization of nature.” “The event was called simply because an anniversary was approaching, not because the international community was building towards important consensus on key issues and required a high-level event to secure the necessary breakthroughs,” Halle maintains. The World Resources Institute’s acting president, Manish Bapna, described the Rio+20 as “more of a whimper than a roar.” In a statement posted on the WRI website, Bapna said the summit fell short because of “economics and political crises on the global stage, the challenge of taking on complex issues, and the struggle of coming to a unanimous decision among the diverse views.” While he acknowledged these were real challenges, he maintained nonetheless that they should not be excuses for inaction.

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The Copenhagen summit of Dec. 2009 did not push for global measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions

The limitations and failures of Kyoto and Copenhagen. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in

Kyoto, Japan on December 11, 1997, entered into force on February 16, 2005, and expires in December, 2012. It sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of 5% against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the protocol places the burden on developed nations – who are principally responsible for the current high levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere as a result of 150 years of industrial activity - under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (According to a New York Times Dec. 2011 note on the Kyoto Protocol, the protocol did not impose mandates on developing countries, including emerging economic powers and sources of global greenhouse gas emissions like China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. The note goes on to say that some major countries say they will not agree to an extension of the protocol “unless the unbalanced requirements of developing and developed countries are changed.” The U.S., which is not a party to the protocol, maintains that any successor treaty must apply to all major economies, developing and developed.)

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The Copenhagen Climate Change Summit of Dec. 2009, which was supposed to achieve the agreement that would become the successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, did not push for global measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which would have addressed global warming. According to Saleemul Huq in his chapter “Climate and Energy,” in “Beyond Rio+20: Governance for a Green Economy,” published by Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, the failure of the Copenhagen summit stemmed from the reluctance of the two biggest emitters, namely the U.S. and China, to agree to meaningful reductions in their emissions.

The North-South impasse. According to

John Whalley and Sean Walsh’s Dec. 2009 policy brief,“Bridging the North-South Divide on Climate Post Copenhagen,” for the Center for International Governance Innovation, the most basic impediment to global climate governance is the North-South divide between the developed countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the developing, non-OECD countries in terms of environmental priorities and perceived responsibilities. For the authors, movement across this divide is the “single most important element in a successful conclusion to the climate negotiations.” In “Inequality and the Global Climate Regime: Breaking the North-South Impasse,” published in Dec. 2008 in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, authors Bradley Parks and J. Timmons Roberts identify inequality as a central impediment to global cooperation on climate-change policy. According to them, inequality and justice have been central issues at every major environment

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The NYT report quoted Stern as saying: “All the major players are going to have to be in with obligations, with commitments that have the same legal force … And that means there’s no conditionality,

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GHG emissions growth

billion tons CO2e, includes land-use change 120

Projections>>

100

<<Historic

80 60

NON-ANNEX I

40 20 0

ANNEX I 2100

Since then, the standoff has continued. According to John Broder’s Dec. 2011 New York Times article, China “would be open to signing a formal treaty limiting emissions after 2020 – but laid down conditions for doing so that are unlikely ever to be met.” On the other side, Todd Stern, American climate change envoy during the Durban Summit, said the “US would be happy to discuss a formal treaty” and then spelled their own conditions.

HISTORIC AND PROJECTED GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS OF DEVELOPED AND DEVELOPING

2050

According to Parks and Roberts, South countries (e.g., China) fear limits on their efforts to grow economically and care for the basic needs of their people, but powerful industrialized counties (e.g., the U.S.) refuse to curtail their own excesses unless poor countries do the same.

In “Alternative Architecture for Climate Change – Major Economies,” published in the European Journal of Legal Studies in Sept. 2011, Leal-Arcas wrote that the Kyoto Protocol was doomed to face difficulties from the beginning, because it places the responsibility of reducing greenhouse gases emissions only with the developed countries, as if they were the only sinners of climate change.

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They concluded that “high levels of inequality make it very unlikely that a north-south consensus will spontaneously emerge on the basis of a single fairness principle.” The North-South divide in climate-change negotiations is unlikely to be resolved in the absence of aggressive efforts to address issues of inequality and justice, the authors maintain.

A deal between US and China – which might take a long time to achieve, if ever – would be a development that reflects law professor Rafael Leal-Arcas’s thinking “that a better (and arguably fairer) way to tackle the climate change issue today is by bringing together the major greenhouse gas emitters, irrespective of their GDP.”

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In their paper, they identified three broad types of inequality in climate-change negotiations: climaterelated inequality, inequality in international environment politics, and inequality in international economic regimes.

they’re not conditional on receiving technology or financing, there’s no trap doors, there’s no Swiss cheese in that kind of an agreement.”

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conference since 1972’s UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm: the 10th anniversary conference in Nairobi in 1982; the Rio Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992; Rio+5 in New York in 1997, and the Johannesburg Summit in 2002.

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In this chart, Annex 1 refers to emissions of developed countries, while Non-annex I refers to emissions of developing countries, per the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Chart from Alternative Architecture for Climate Change – Major Economies, Rafael Leal-Arcas, European Journal of Legal Studies, September 2011

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In the near future, developing countries will be the major polluters as well as the major victims of the consequences of climate change

Leal-Arcas said that a more plausible solution to cut greenhouse-gas emissions is to involve major emitters. It was also argued that climate change is a developingcountry problem too, as predictions indicate that in the near future, developing countries will be the major polluters as well as the major victims of the consequences of climate change, especially countries near the equator, according to Daniel Farber, as cited by Leal-Arcas. Major emitters (whether developed or developing countries), which are responsible for historic, current, and future emissions, should therefore be the ones to take action.

Aiming for green growth in Asia, the Philippines.

In “Climate Change Mitigation and Green Growth in Developing Asia,” an Asian Development Bank Institute July 2012 paper, authors Stephen Howes and Paul Wyrwoll say that the negative reportage of the 2009 UNFCCC conference in Copenhagen resulted in an obscure, yet important outcome. Acknowledging the international reality of catastrophic climate change and acting on related domestic concerns, Howes and Wyrwoll wrote that governments in “developing Asia” – the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam – have begun developing ambitious climate policy.

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Howes and Wyrwoll said climate change mitigation and green growth have progressively emerged on the agenda of the governments of developing Asia. They announced quantitative national targets for mitigating climate change with motivations such as: access to secure and affordable energy, technological advantage and renewable energy as a growth engine, local environment problems and green growth, vulnerability to climate-change damage, and the limitations and benefits of domestic motivations for climate-change mitigation.

From contestation to participation to engagement In “Developing Countries and Global Environmental Governance: From Contestation to Participation to Engagement,” Adil Najam of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy observed that over the last three decades, there has been a perceptible transformation in both the substance of the global environment discourse and in how the developing countries of the South have responded to the global environment discourse. In the study, Najam traced the journey of developing countries from contestation to engagement in the global environment enterprise. In his 2005 peer-reviewed paper posted on Peru’s Instituto del Bien Comun site, Najam wrote that developing countries did not start off as demandeurs of global environment governance. He said that the pre-Stockholm era was exemplified by a politics of contestation by the South; the Stockholm-Rio period was a period of reluctant participation as a new global compact emerged around the notion of sustainable development; and the post-Rio years have seen the emergence of more meaningful, but still hesitant, engagement by developing counties in global environmental politics.

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According Howes and Wyrwoll, the motivations of developing countries in Asia have given rise to a range of pledges and targets relevant to climate-change mitigation, in the areas of emissions, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and deforestation (as summarized in the table below).

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Meanwhile, the United Nations has lauded the Philippines’ climate-change laws as “best in the world,” according to a May 2012 Philippine Daily Inquirer report. According to the report, UN special disaster risk reduction envoy Margareta Wahlstrom said, “You do have now an excellent legal framework

CLIMATE-CHANGE MITIGATION TARGETS FOR MAJOR ASIAN ECONOMIES Emissions PRC

Renweable Energy Targets

Energy Efficiency

40% to 45% emissions intensity (2005-2020) 17% to 25% emissions intesity (2005-2020)

11.4% by 2015 15% by 2020 up from 8.3% in 2010

16%

India

20% to 25% emissions below BAU

15% by 2020 up from - 4% (2010) 20,000 MW solar by 2020

10,000 MW energy savings by 2020

Indonesia

26% to 41% emissions below BAU

15% by 2025 (incl. nuclear)

1% average annual Forestry as net carbon sink by 2030 energy intensity (20052025) elasticty of electricity/ GDP to <1 (2025)

Thailand

30% energy emissions below BAU

20.3% by 2020

8% energy intensity (2005-2015), 15% (2005-2020), 25% (2015-2030)

Forest cover to be 40% of total land mass (target introduced in 1991, 2010 level is 37%, up from 25% in 1998)

Vietnam

-

5.6 by 2020 9.4% by 2030 up from 3% (2010)

elasticity of electricity/GDP from 2 (2010) to 1.5 (2015), to 1 (2020)

forest cover to 16.l2 million ha in 2020 from 14.3 million ha (2010)

Japan

Conditional 25% emissions below 2000 levels

16.0 TWh by 2014 30% energy intensity (2006-2030)

Australia

5% and 25% emissions below 2000 levels

20% by 2020, up from 8% in 2007

Rep. of Korea 30% emissions 6.08% by 2020, below BAU in 2030 up from 2.7% in 2009

energy intesity

Deforestation

(2010-2015)

forest cover by 40 million ha by 2020 from 2005 level forest cover to 21.7% by 2015, from 20.36% in 2010 forest cover by 20 million ha by 2020 from 2010 level

-

-

Planned offset scheme as part of domestic carbon market

-

-

Table from “Climate Change Mitigation and Green Growth in Developing Asia,” Howes and Wyrwoll, Asian Development Bank Institute, July 2012, p. 16

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for disaster risk reduction and an excellent legal framework for climate adaptation. The basis [of the laws] is really for empowering local governments.” Wahlstrom was referring to the Climate Change Act of 2009 (RA 9729), and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (RA 10121). RA 9279, which created the country’s Climate Change Commission, was authored by Sen. Loren Legarda, who also co-sponsored RA 10121.

The need for a global coordinated response.

In Chapter 7 of its “World Resources 2002-2004” publication, the World Resources Institute wrote: “It is not enough to confine our environmental governance to the local or national level only. The global biosphere behaves as a single system, where the environmental impacts of each nation ultimately affect the whole. … The interconnectedness of the global environment is beyond dispute. Few would disagree that coordinated international action is essential to protecting Earth’s climate, preserving its biodiversity, and managing its marine and other common resources … But constructing such a system, and maintaining its effectiveness in the face of the many competing interests of nations, has proven exceedingly difficult.”

Given that the world’s environment is continuing to deteriorate despite global efforts to address climate change, it is apparent that a comprehensive global consensus on what needs to be done is vital, and that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions should be seen as a shared responsibility of both developed and developing countries. A treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol with a comprehensive and legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be a big step in achieving the effective international governance of the environment needed to address climate change.

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News & Strategy Alerts World

The looming global food crisis Amid poor harvests and rising grain prices worldwide, plus falling local rice stocks and devastating floods, the Philippines must act to avoid a repeat of the 2007 rice hoarding and price hikes

Fears of rising food prices have returned amid the worsening drought in the United States, the world’s largest grower of corn; weak monsoon rains in India, and other weather phenomena affecting harvests in different parts of the globe. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index, which measures monthly changes in international prices of selected food commodities, averaged 213 points in July 2012—12 points up from June, though still below the peak of 238 reached in February 2011. The FAO blamed a jump in grain and sugar prices. The International Food Policy Research Institute said a global food crisis may “hit us very soon,” Bloomberg reported on August 14. However, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund noted the crisis was still not as widespread as the one in 2007-08. In China, grain output exceeded 500 million metric tons annually since 2007, with a 4.7% increase to 571 million MT last year, as reported by The China Daily. Wang Jimin, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science’s agricultural economics and development institute, notes that after successive years of growing domestic harvests, China will not be easily affected by global grain supply and prices.

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So far, the food spike has not hit the Philippines. However, there could be a rise in prices due to supply chain disruptions from recent monsoon floods in rice-producing areas of Central, Northeastern and Southern Luzon. Moreover, as in 2007-08, rice costs could skyrocket if people shift to the staple from pricier corn and wheat, or if exporting nations again limit grain sales to ensure local food supplies. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala reported minimal effect on third-quarter harvests. However, national rice stocks are sharply down. According to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, total inventory as of July was 1.91 million metric tons, 16.3% lower than the June level of 2.29 million MT — and 36.6% less than the 3.02 million MT in July 2011. Plus: more typhoons and floods could still hit, as they did up to December last year. Moreover, there are some doubt about the government’s goal of rice self-sufficiency by next year, as targeted in its 2008-2013 FIELDS program. Asian Development Bank advisor Lourdes Adriano warns that the objective may not be feasible, especially with factors like a growing population and climate change. Self-sufficiency could also make the global rice market thinner, causing prices to be more volatile. “The recent food price crisis exposed the fragility of the global food system,” co-authors Sophia Murphy and Timoty Wise of Tufts University state in an article following their report, “Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms since 2007.” The report suggests among others: • The 2007/08 global food crisis was an important catalyst for change, such as renewed attention to agriculture development • The world needs policies that discourage biofuels expansion, regulate financial speculation, limit irresponsible land investment, encourage buffer stocks, move towards agro-ecological practices

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instead of fossil-fuel dependence, and reform agricultural trade rules that support food security objectives A 2011 FAO report, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World,” raised key points: • High and volatile prices are likely to continue due to increasing consumer demand from rapidly growing economies, population growth, and expanding biofuels programs, among other factors • Safety nets are crucial for alleviating food insecurity in the short-term and for providing a foundation for long-term development • Investment in agriculture remains vital in sustainable long-term food security For the Philippines to shield itself from the impending world crisis, the ADB report noted that in order to stabilize prices, some rice-producing Asian countries “relied on a combination of international trade, buffer stocks, import or export monopolies, and domestic procurement.” The last two measures bear repeating. In 2007-08 crisis, the government made hoarders pay by flooding the market with affordable rice, both imported and locally procured at increased farm prices. ThenAgriculture Secretary Arthur Yap recalled how some merchants pleaded for time to unload their stocks before the government unleashed its rice, but he refused. And after Ondoy and Pepeng megafloods wiped out Luzon’s main rice crop in September 2009, the government again bought rice heavily in 2010, prompting accusations of over-importation from the next regime. Today, the Aquino administration prides itself in reducing the National Food Authority’s imports and letting the private sector hold more of the nation’s stock. If the speculators return, they could well make the government pay for slashing its grain reserves below the level needed to fight off profiteering.

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How to Develop a Green Brand By Victoria Fritz

STRATEGY POINTS A green brand is one that successfully combines performance and perception in being profitable, ethical and ecologically responsible There are two approaches to green marketing: the functional and the emotional Though more people now want to buy what they perceive as green products, price remains a hurdle, because people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always think the environmental benefit from a product justifies a higher price Basic rules of thumb: minimize sacrifices required of consumers, assure product quality and availability

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How to develop a green brand

In

these times of greater environmental and social awareness, companies see the importance of being known as a “green” brand. “Green” means that the company manages not only financial but also social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities. Consequently, those determined to be green brands receive recognition and an improved reputation.

“The best green brands are .. profitable, ethical, and ecologically responsible,” according to Jez Frampton, Global Chief Executive of Interbrand, a global brand consultancy company. Interbrand, in partnership with Deloitte, has been evaluating the world’s top brands based on performance as well as the public’s perception of their green credentials since 2010. Their report, “Best Global Green Brands 2012,” ranks the top 50 companies according to these criteria, with Asian car manufacturer Toyota topping this year’s list.

Studying a brand’s performance and perception. The report noted that companies

are now taking significant steps to reduce their social and ecological impact and conveying this message to their consumers. Hence, the screening process for choosing the green brands includes a careful study of a brand’s actual performance as well as market perception. Deloitte assesses each brand’s performance based on six main categories: 1. Governance – policies to manage environmental impacts and execute environmental programs 2. Operations – measure of energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water management, waste management, and toxic waste management 3. Transportation and logistics – company’s performance in measuring, reporting and mitigating the environmental performance of

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their transportation and logistics, business travel and commuting 4. Stakeholder engagement – level of engagement with their relevant stakeholders 5. Supply chain – measuring, reporting, and mitigating environmental performance of their supply chain 6. Products and services – green attributes of its products in terms of efficiency, sustainable production, and use of life-cycle assessment, among others. A brand’s perception is measured according to six main elements: 1. Authenticity – perceived credibility of the brand’s environmental claims 2. Differentiation – how differentiated the brand’s green efforts are perceived to be vis-à-vis their competitors 3. Presence – consumer awareness of the brand’s green activities and its green reputation in the market 4. Relevance – assessment of the relevance of the brand’s environmental claims; comparing the perceived importance of the brand’s green activities with the brand’s green perception 5. Consistency – of the brand’s various green communication 6. Understanding – level of understanding of the brand’s green activities as a whole. The overall green brand score is calculated as a qualified net of the standardized performance score and the standardized perception score. In cases where performance is greater than perception, Interbrand calculates a simple average. When perception outdoes performance, Interbrand calculates a simple average and then applies a consistent discount factor based on the gap between perception and performance. This discount factor is designed to penalize brands that are not living up to public expectations.

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Ranking is based on the extent that overall score improved or regressed from the preceding year. This means achievements of the preceding year remain credited, and are added on to the current year’s achievements. To illustrate the method of scoring and ranking, Interbrand chose the top five green brands as follows:

Top Global Green Brands 2012 1

Toyota

-02.56

2

Johnson & Johnson

03.89

3

Honda

-00.38

4

Volkswagen

04.20

5

Hewlett-Packard

11.72

Partial table from “Best Global Green Brands 2012,” Interbrand

It may come as a surprise that three out of the top five green brands are car manufacturers, since cars are a major source of carbon emissions. But that is probably the reason carmakers are making the most effort to protect the environment in the first place.

Functional and emotional positioning strategies. Developing a green brand is possible

using a variety of steps. A 2005 study, “Green branding effects on attitude: functional versus emotional positioning strategies,” by Hartmann et al of Universidad del Pais Vasco in Bilbao, Spain, sought to test suggested green positioning strategies against one another, and see their effect on perceived brand positioning and brand attitude. The authors observed that positioning a “green brand” requires active communication and differentiation from its competitors through its environmentally sound attributes. Furthermore, they classify greenbrand positioning strategies as functional or emotional (page 11). A functional approach builds brand associations by conveying information on environmentally sound product attributes that are advantages over competing brands. These attributes include production process, product use, and disposal. For example, a car brand can boast significantly lower emissions. However, this strategy has its limitations. It may not deliver individual benefits to its buyer, and therefore may not motivate the customer to purchase.

There and back again What is a green brand, in more concrete terms? In the case of Toyota, a quick look at Toyota’s website reveals its recycling initiative, among other efforts. The following video illustrates Toyota’s Hybrid Vehicle Battery Recycling System, tracing the battery through a complete loop from sale through disposal, shredding, production and reassembly in a new vehicle. In this instance, a brand has not only created an earth-friendly process, but also communicated it effectively to its stakeholders in this user-friendly video.

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The research study proposes two things: First, greenbrand positioning has two approaches - functional and emotional. Second, green-brand positioning improves brand attitude

Which works best in improving brand attitude? The research study thus proposes

two things. First, perceived green-brand positioning has two approaches – functional and emotional. Second, green-brand positioning improves brand attitude. The question posited by the research study is: Which strategy has the strongest effect on brand attitude? The study surveyed 160 management seniors, aged 22 to 26, with 56% female respondents. The sample was deemed appropriate for the brands (4 smallsized cars, and one experimental green car) they were exposed to in the study. They were each shown advertisements on individual computer terminals, and then were asked to respond to a set of questions. The sample was divided into four groups – one control and three experimental groups. The control

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group was exposed to a regular car (Mercedes A-class). Experimental groups were shown a hypothetical car (Mercedes ATMO). The first experimental group was shown an experimental ad based on functional brand positioning strategy, by stating its fuel efficiency. The second used the emotional approach, embedding the brand in nature scenery. The third combined both strategies.

FUNCTIONAL VS. EMOTIONAL APPROACH IN IMPROVING BRAND ATTITUDE 1.5 Merecedes ATMOS (Combined Posit.) 1.0 NATURE (Emotional)

Instead of, or in conjunction with, a functional approach, the company can choose from three different types of emotional brand benefits: 1. Feeling of well-being from contributing to the improvement of the environment 2. Personal satisfaction from exhibiting his/her environmental consciousness to others 3. Having sensations normally experienced through contact with nature; embedding the brand in pleasant imagery of natural environments evokes vicarious nature experiences.

Merecedes ATMOS (Emotional Posit.) 0.5 Merecedes ATMOS (Functional Posit.) 0.0

Renault

Opel

Mercedes A Class

Fiat

0.5

-1.0 -1.0

Seat

-.05

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

Graph from “Green branding effects on attitude: functional versus emotional positioning strategies,” Hartman et al, Universidad del Pais Vasco, 2005, page 18

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~ Minimize sacrifices asked of consumers ~ Assure them of quality ~ Bring the products within easy reach

Perception improved significantly on the functional scale with the functional approach ad, and improved on the emotional scale with the emotional ad. The greatest increase happened, however, with the combined functional-emotional strategy. In terms of attitudinal effects, it was found that that the emotional dimension on brand attitude has a significantly higher effect. Results show that there are indeed two approaches of green-brand positioning. Likewise, green-brand positioning does improve brand attitude. On the research question, the findings “suggest a stronger influence of the emotional latent dimension of green positioning on brand attitude in this specific case.” However, the authors caution against using emotional positioning exclusively, because the effect of both approaches on brand attitude is positive. The combined functional and emotional strategy still led to the strongest perceptual shift.

A Global Guide.” One rule is to minimize sacrifices asked of consumers. Few will pay more for greener products; additional product value is what they will pay for. Assure them of quality at the same time. Also, bring the products within easy reach, since consumers will not go out of their way just to buy green products. This was echoed in the U.S. results of the 2011 ImagePower Green Brands Survey, as represented in a slide show, “Green Brands, Global Insights 2011.” Cohn & Wolfe (described in slide 31), Landor Associates (slide 33), and Penn Schoen Berland (slide 35), together with Esty Environmental Partners (slide 32), conducted the research and analyses from 1,200 online interviews conducted in April and May 2011. Findings show that concern for the environment rebounded to pre-recession levels and consumers “want to buy green, but price remains a hurdle.” According to the survey, 62% of respondents regard cost as the biggest barrier to buying green products, 65% believe the added cost of green products is more than 10%, but only 22% are willing to pay the premium. In other words if prices were the same, a consumer is likely to buy what he perceives as a green

Rules for marketing green products. In terms of consumers actually parting with their money over “green” advantages, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) shares guidelines in the Marketing section of their 2002 primer, “Business and Sustainable Development:

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product. Up to 73% of U.S. consumers say it is very or somewhat important to buy from green companies (slide 19). Furthermore, most consumers trust advertising to inform them about green products (slide 26). One important survey result is that consumers are most likely to buy green personal care, grocery and household products. Though the complete list was not included, respondents were asked: “How ‘green’ would you consider this brand to be (1-10 with 10 being the highest)? Ranking was based on their scores. The top five are as follows:

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Consumer education is important. One

important aspect of green marketing is consumer education. This is according to Jacquelyn Ottman, head of J. Ottman Consulting, which was established in 1989, is a pioneer in green marketing, and lists several Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. government among its clients. According to her blog entry of October 26, 2011 (which is also an excerpt in her book, The New Rules of Green marketing: Strategies, Tools and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding), Ottman says consumer education could spell success for a campaign. She cited the case of Whirlpool,

Top U.S. Green Brands 2011 1. Seventh Generation

“They are very forthcoming in their work to keep environmental impact to a minimum in their products and in their company”

2. Whole Foods Market

“It is my impression that they are committed across the board to selling organic foods grown under green conditions, that they are concerned about the carbon footprints of their products in terms of purchasing local or regional foods, and that they emphasize recycling, minimization of energy consumption, etc.”

3. Tom’s of Maine

“Their products are all natural and their packaging is made from recycled materials. They also use sustainable practices in their business.”

4. Burt’s Bees

“Because all of their products are natural and organic. They care about the environment which is reflected in their packaging and products.”

5. Trader Joes’

“They are concerned about their suppliers being green, they are always advertising sustainable products and they really seem to care”

TCR compilation of data from “Green Brands, Global Insights 2011,” Cohn & Wolfe, Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland, Esty Environmental Partners, slide 15

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How to develop a green brand

Sustainable brands in the Asia-Pacific region In Asia, sustainable brands are recognized through the Asian Sustainability Rating™ (ASR™), an environmental, social and governance benchmarking tool developed by Responsible Research and CSR Asia. The research methodology uses 100 indicators covering the four categories of sustainability –General, Environment, Social and Governance. It examines the publicly available information of the companies, including: annual reports, sustainability reports, corporate communications, press releases and website information. According to the 2010 report, the following 10 countries and territories were studied: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. In the country reports, ASR ranked the Philippines 9th out of the 10, which calls for greater efforts among local companies to address sustainability issues. South Korea topped the list, while China was the laggard. A total of 542 companies covering 12 sectors were included in the research study: banking, consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, health care, industrials, information technology, materials, other financials, real estate, telecommunications, and utilities. During that year, Ayala Land was chosen the leader among Philippine companies, with an ASR of 77%. San Miguel Corporation and Jollibee were the laggards on the list, garnering ASRs of 11% and 9% respectively. For the year 2011, Petron Corporation was named the top Philippine company in the 3rd ASR due to its focus on sustainability in combination with profit goals, according to a June 4, 2012 news release by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Petron was ranked seventh among of 29 Asian companies in the energy sector, and made it to the top 10% of 750 companies in the Asia-Pacific region, which was defined as Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The full 2011 results have not been made available yet.

who in 1990 won a $30-million award from the U.S. Department of Energy for introducing the first CFCfree refrigerator. Consumers, not knowing what CFC was, were unwilling to pay the 10% premium for the improvement. She added that educational messages could help boost involvement, enhance imagery and increase credibility. It’s not enough to present a green product. She emphasizes the need to explain how a product can

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safeguard one’s health, or protect the environment. If you can concretize benefits through illustrations and statistics, you make buyers feel their choices make a difference. Ottman shared the example of the Pepsi recycling campaign in 2008, “Have We Met Before?,” where Pepsi printed “fun facts” from the National Recycling Coalition on their cans, such as “Recycling could save 95% of the energy used to make this can,” and “The average person has the opportunity to recycle 25,000 cans in a lifetime.”

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News & Strategy Alerts Business

The economy slows in the third quarter The Philippine economy performed better than forecast with a 5.9% GDP growth in the 2nd quarter 3rd quarter GDP growth is expected to slow down as indicated by the composite leading economic indicator, lower business confidence, and weather disturbances

The Philippine economy performed better than forecast in the 2nd quarter of the year, achieving a 5.9% gross domestic product (GDP) growth according to the government’s statistics agency, the National Statistical Coordination Board.

under the composite index -- (1) money supply, (2) total merchandise imports, (3) wholesale price index, (4) visitor arrivals, (5) hotel occupancy rate, (6) number of new businesses, and (7) consumer price index – all contributed negatively to the composite figure. Business outlook on the economy is also less optimistic for the 3rd quarter of the year, according to the latest Business Expectations Survey by the country’s central bank.

This 2nd quarter performance puts the 1st semester GDP growth to 6.1%, still on track to achieving government’s target of 5-6% growth for the entire year. However, the country’s economic performance may continue to slow down in the 3rd quarter, as can be gleaned from several indicators.

Factors, according to the survey, which may negatively affect economic performance in the 3rd quarter include: (a) lower seasonal demand during the quarter; (b) weather disturbances; (c) global developments such as the risk of a China slowdown, slow recovery in the US and the protracted sovereign debt and banking crises in the Eurozone; (d) volatile commodity prices; and, (e) expectations of oil price hike.

The composite leading economic indicator slid for the 3rd quarter of the year, indicating “a possible slowdown of economic activity in the country for the quarter,” according to the statistics agency. Seven indicators

Due to the onset of the rainy season, economic activity from both the public and private sectors is expected to slow down, even with government’s pronouncement of accelerating spending in the latter half of the year, following a lower-than-programmed deficit in the 1st seven months of the year. Largeticket infrastructure and other construction projects usually taper off because of the rains. Agricultural damages may also result from typhoons during the season, bringing down the sector’s GDP contribution.

PH GDP Quarterly Growth (Constant Prices)

Source: National Statistical Coordination Board

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Despite the projected 3rd quarter economic slowdown, the full-year target of 5-6% is achievable and, it should be noted, the business expectations survey does indicate a highly optimistic business outlook for the 4th quarter of 2012, which may help boost the yearly figure.

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Divining the Future, Digitally How Big Data can shed light on human behavior and predict what lies ahead By Tanya L. Mariano

STRATEGY POINTS As the digital age allows for the creation, storage, and analysis of very large amounts of information, Big Data – unlocking insight from huge piles of data –has emerged as a top tech trend TCR presents some of the ways Big Data is being used to better understand human behavior and predict future trends to promote health, international development, disaster preparedness, and better decision-making overall

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O

ur world has become hyper-connected. Mobile phones and the Internet have connected not just people – through text, e-mail, instant messaging, and tweets – but our various digital devices – smart phones, iPods, and tablets – with each other. Whether we’re keeping in touch with family abroad or figuring out how to get to the latest place to be, chances are we have a digital device on hand to help us. Call it a consequence of the information age: we don’t have to write everything down on paper anymore, because our notebook computers, smart phones, and tablets create data trails for us to retrieve. From files and photos stored in a cloud-storage service, GPS data and instructions, electronic records of our purchases, and more advanced applications, such as sensors for gathering weather information, we generate and collect an unprecedented amount of data. In fact, IBM estimates that we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data everyday, and that 90% of the data available today was created in the past two years alone. This, plus the rise in computing power for data analysis, has ushered in the age of Big Data, where the huge amount of information available can be leveraged to elucidate the present and the future. Today, it’s not just business enterprises that are taking advantage of Big Data. Even the United Nations has launched a project that uses real-time data and analytics for international development. From predicting flu outbreaks, the odds of winning a case in court, long-term climate patterns, and war zone events, to describing the changing dynamics in human relationships, many are already turning mountains of information into actionable insight.

The U.N.’s Global Pulse. The United Nations (UN) is hoping to re-purpose the process of data

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mining and analysis – something big businesses have employed for some time now – to support the wellbeing of global populations. An initiative of the UN Secretary-General, Global Pulse was launched in 2009 and “hopes to contribute a future in which access to better information sooner makes it possible to keep international development on track, protect the world’s most vulnerable populations, and strengthen resilience to global shocks.”

What is Big Data? Big Data has certainly received considerable hype in the past couple of years. In 2010, McKinsey named it one of the “ten techenabled business trends to watch” and in a 2011 report counseled that firms must take Big Data seriously in order to remain competitive. The International Data Corporation predicts that Big Data technology and services will be worth $16.9 billion in 2015 from $3.2 billion in 2010, growing seven times faster than the overall information and communications technology market, while Deloitte foresees that over 90% of Fortune 500 companies will likely have Big Data initiatives by the end of 2012. As reported in Forbes in August, a 2012 Gartner study predicts that Big Data will bring “transformational benefits to enterprises within 2 to 5 years” and will allow enterprises to outperform competitors by 20%, while a 2012 World Economic Forum report recognizes its potential benefits to the developing world. By 2020, tech experts surveyed by the Pew Research Center this year believe that “the vast quantities of data that humans and machines

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The project’s toolkit aggregates the best of existing technologies available in the public domain for real-time analysis, data collection, visualization, and collaborative decision-making. Where gaps exist, it works with the open source community to develop the needed tools. The first technology out of the project is HunchWorks, a network ecosystem that allows users to gather and analyze data and be peer-reviewed, all at the same time.

will be creating by the year 2020 could enhance productivity, improve organizational transparency, and expand the frontier of the ‘knowable future.’” But what exactly is it? In this podcast featuring David Corrigan, the director of product marketing for IBM’s InfoSphere explains that the phenomenon of Big Data is the attempt to unlock insight from the ever-growing mountain of information that is increasingly becoming available. Aside from the sheer amount of information, the number of sources and the types of data are also on the rise, Corrigan adds. . Podcast: “What is Big Data? And why does it matter?”

In this 13-minute podcast, David Corrigan, director of product marketing for IBM’s InfoSphere, talks about what Big Data is, the technologies fueling this revolution, who can benefit from it, and what opportunities lie ahead IBM Corporation

Corrigan also discusses the opportunities that organizations, big and small, can uncover by tapping the large piles of data available to them.

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So far, the UN initiative has: • Looked at how social media can help investigate the changing job conditions in Ireland and the U.S. by relating user-generated content to official employment statistics, • Monitored food security issues through an analysis of news reports by French language media, • Predicted changes in the price of bread in six Latin American countries by scouring the Web for online prices, • Examined data from social network Twitter to better understand how people in the U.S. and Indonesia cope with global crises, and • Conducted a global survey via mobile phones to get a snapshot of the state of well-being of citizens in over 30 countries.

analyzing a huge data set of events from 2004-2009, as logged in the Wikileaks Afghan War Diary, could predict the place, time, and intensity of “future” incidents of violence that happened in 2010, reports Australian science magazine Cosmos.

Below is an introductory video to Global Pulse:

Says Sanguinetti, “The models didn’t use information about military planning or political events … You would expect these things to have a substantial impact but even without considering those we were able to reconstruct quite accurately the distribution of events.”

The researchers examined over 75,000 events that occurred before 2009 – including local clashes, planned military activities, and spontaneous searches – and developed statistical models to “predict” events in 2010. According to the news report, Guido Sanguinetti, lecturer in informatics and co-author of the study, and his team were able to predict regional conflict in provinces such as Helmand and even lesser-known areas, such as Sar-e-pol.

Quantitative legal prediction. Those from the

The UN’s Global Pulse Project, launched in 2009, uses data mining to advance international development YouTube/Global Pulse

Predicting war zone conflicts using Wikileaks. In a study published in the Proceedings

of the National Academy of Sciences in July, University of Edinburgh researchers showed how

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legal field are also constructing databases and using algorithms to try to foresee case outcomes, and it just might change how lawyers manage costs and related matters, how they craft arguments, and how they decide where or even whether they should file a lawsuit, according to a July 2012 Law Technology News article.

There remain challenges in gathering usable, comprehensive data that computers can interpret, but already quantitative legal prediction has started “coming in at the edges of tasks that lawyers do,” the article quotes Michigan State University College of Law assistant professor Daniel Katz as saying.

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‘Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone’ ~ “What is Big Data?” IBM Corporation

According to Katz, tasks that involve reasoning can be supplemented and even replaced by predictions generated by a computer. “It’s not going to end lawyering ... but I definitely think some percentage of tasks that lawyers do are going to be replaced by machines and/or technology,” he adds. Reports Law Technology News, a number of companies are already capitalizing on the potential of quantitative legal prediction. TyMetrix mines data accumulated from $25 billion in legal spending since 2009 and uses the information for their products, including the $2,500 “Real Rate Report” that benchmarks the rates of law firms. Harlan Institute, a non-profit organization that works to educate high school students about the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court, and justice system, has come up with a Supreme Court “Fantasy League” called FantasySCOTUS.net, where over 10,000 lawyers, students, and Supreme Court followers predict the Supreme Court’s decisions, with an average accuracy rate of 60%. Users accurately predicted the nomination of Elena Kagan as the 100th Associate Justice in 2010. LexMachina, which specializes in patent litigation, is “the one startup that is perhaps closest to achieving the promise of quantitative legal prediction,” according to the article. The company, which was spun out of the IP Litigation Clearinghouse at Stanford

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University, has been building and organizing a database for intellectual property concerns for 10 years now.

Better climate forecasts. Several groups are also

sorting through heaps of data to better understand the earth’s natural forces.One such company is EarthRisk. It analyzes large amounts of historical weather data and measures the odds of “market-changing bad weather up to 40 days in advance… twice as long as the most farseeing conventional forecasts,” according to a March 2012 Forbes news report. Founded by meteorologist Stephen Bennett and based in San Diego, EarthRisk caters mostly to power producers, utilities, and energy traders, entities that are severely affected by extreme weather events and would benefit from looking as far ahead as possible. Some of their clients include a hydropower-dependent Pacific Northwest utility that uses the company’s TempRisk service to predict snowmelt, as well as Spanish energy giant Iberdrola Renewables, whose U.S. operations use EarthRisk services to plan its purchases of natural gas. A related undertaking is the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), and its associated Cyberinfrastructure Program. The OOI is a long-term program funded by the U.S. government’s National Science Foundation that seeks to “provide 25-30 years of sustained ocean measurements to study climate variability, ocean

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circulation and ecosystem dynamics, air-sea exchange, seafloor processes, and plate-scale geodynamics.” The Cyberinfrastructure Program shifts the focus from expedition-based data gathering to more “persistent, controllable observations” through a suite of sensors that are interconnected, and entails developing infrastructure for the next 25 years. In this podcast moderated by Dana Gardner of Interarbor Solutions and posted on Briefings Direct, Michael Meisinger, Managing Systems Architect for OOI Cyberinfrastructure, says, “Ocean sciences, as a discipline, hasn’t yet received as much infrastructure and central attention as other communities. So the OOI initiative is a very important project to bring this to the community... It has an almost $400 million construction budget, and an annual operations budget of $70 million for a planned lifetime of 25 to 30 years.”

Google Flu Trends. Tech giant Google analyzes

search queries to trace flu trends in a number of countries around the world. They found a close relationship between the number of people who search for flu-related topics and the number of people who actually have flu symptoms, and when compared with traditional flu surveillance systems,

rises in flu-related search terms did in fact coincide with actual flu outbreaks. The following graph illustrates how estimates of flu trends based on search engine queries very closely match actual data from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan.

JAPAN FLU ACTIVITY AND GOOGLE FLU TRENDS ESTIMATES Google Flu Trends estimate

Japan data

Influenza estimate

1,467 1,100 733 387

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Interactive graph comparing flu activity in selected countries with Google Flu Trends estimates from Google. org (user input required)

The results of Google’s study were originally published in the journal Nature in November 2008. Podcast: “Cloud and Big Data come together to give scientists unprecedented access to essential climate information”

Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, talks about the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) with Matthew Arrott (OOI Project Manager), Michael Meisinger (OOI Managing Systems Architect), and Alexis Richardson (Senior Director for VMware Cloud Application Platform) Podcast/Briefings Direct

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Google’s tracking of flu trends may even help hospitals prepare for an influx of sick patients. A study published in June 2012 by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland found that a rise in Internet searches for information on flu correlate strongly with a subsequent rise in people coming into a hospital emergency room with complaints of flu-like symptoms, according to a media release from Johns Hopkins. This is believed to be the first time that data from Google Flu Trends is shown to be strongly correlated with a surge in emergencyroom activity.

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By 2020, tech experts believe Big Data “could enhance productivity, improve organizational transparency, and expand the frontier of the ‘knowable future’” ~ “The Future of Big Data,” Pew Research Center

Health surveillance at 2012 London Olympics.During the recently concluded Olympics

in London, where the presence of over half a million people living in close quarters could have spelled a health-care nightmare, the U.K.’s Health Protection Agency built what many consider to be “the world’s largest health surveillance system” by centralizing information from hospitals, clinics, general practitioners, infirmaries, and health-care hotlines across the U.K., reports Popular Science. The system measured and monitored the state of public health almost in real time, allowing authorities to rapidly identify, diagnose, and contain outbreaks. While the system might still be imperfect, it is, nonetheless, a model not just for future Olympics Games but also for the future in general, as the world’s population continues to grow and cities become more crowded, says the article.

the information could one day be used for a smartphone app that warns users when they’ve entered a place with high flu incidence, or alerts them when they’re at risk of coming down with the flu in the next few days. The video below shows a heat-map visualization of flu prevalence in New York City: Writes Sadilek on his university webpage, “The finegrained epidemiological models we show here are just one instance of the general class of problems that our system solves. Other domains include understanding of the public sentiment around your company or products, the diffusion of information throughout a population, and predicting customer behavior.”

Using Twitter to predict when you will get sick. Another similar initiative comes from the team

of Adam Sadilek of the University of Rochester in New York, using data from social network Twitter, as reported in New Scientist in July 2012. By analyzing 4.4 million tweets from over 630,000 users in New York City for over a month in 2010, the researchers were able to predict with about 90% accuracy when someone will get sick up to eight days before they exhibit any symptoms. According to the article,

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A heat map of flu prevalence in New York City, observed through data publicly available on Twitter. Red spots correspond to higher flu incidence

YouTube from website of Adam Sadilek, University of Rochester

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Asia-Pacific region to drive Big Data growth The Asia-Pacific region will post the fastest growth in the world in terms of data-center investments and will account for 25% of worldwide data-center infrastructure expenditure by 2016, due mainly to efforts by companies in China and India, according to research by Canalys, as reported by ZDNet in July 2012. Overall data-center infrastructure investment is expected to grow by 6% and reach $128 billion by the end of 2012, and will expand steadily over the next four years. Likewise, a June 2012 article by Forbes reports that Phil Carter of International Data Center in Singapore believes Asia could someday lead in the field of Big Data, even though Asian organizations currently lag behind companies in Europe and the U.S. in terms of business intelligence, data warehouse, and analytics investment. “The notion of the emerging Asian enterprise is a real one. Not ones and twos but hundreds of organizations are looking to compete with the large-scale multi-nationals by using technology as a differentiator,” he adds. Carter believes telecommunications companies will lead the way and banks will soon follow, after which governments will utilize Big Data for intelligence purposes and the measurement of citizen sentiment. Another July 2012 article by ZDNet reports that, as costs related to data-center construction and operation rise in traditional tech hubs like Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Singapore, the Asian countries of India and Malaysia have emerged as the next potential data hotspots. Says Mayank Kapoor, industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, this is because Malaysia and India offer lower costs, have robust domestic demand, and are making improvements in information and communications technology infrastructure.

Mobile communications reveal male-female dichotomy in relationships. Apart from predicting the future, Big Data has also proven valuable in trying to better understand human behavior.

Researchers at the University of Oxford looked at 1.95 billion cellphone calls and 489 million text messages from a network provider in a European country and found that “men and women follow different relationship patterns during their lifetimes,” reported Scientific American in April 2012. The study, which was published in Nature, covered 3.2 million subscribers, which represent 20% of the country’s mobile phone users. Among its findings are

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that a person’s best friend during their 20s and 30s is someone of similar age from the opposite sex, the “peak age for partner parlance” is 27 for women and 32 for men, and that at age 50 and up, the quest for companionship begins to win out over romantic aspirations. The researchers conclude that biology forms female behavior, which in turn affects male behavior, all of which seem to imply a natural matrilineal inclination in society. With current cutting-edge undertakings plus forecasts of continued growth in this industry, expect big things from Big Data in the coming years.

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News & Strategy Alerts Technology

The Apple-Samsung patent wars There’s still many more legal tussles ahead, but Apple’s court victory has spawned fears of less innovation and more monopoly The ongoing patent war between Apple and Samsung came to a climax on August 24. A nine-member U.S. jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on all but one of Apple utility and design patents cited in the case, and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. On September 20, the judge will make his own ruling based on the jury verdict. The Cupertino, California company promptly declared it would move to ban the sale of eight Samsung devices. And Reuters reported that Apple aims to get as many as 17 more Samsung products, including its new flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, banned in a separate action in federal court. Samsung will appeal the August 24 verdict. Computer World’s JR Raphael says it is too early to assess it, but cites possible jury failings which undermine the decision. Abovethelaw.com noted that it took three days to address 700 mostly technical questions, while CNet questioned the jury’s expertise. But for now, Apple is ahead. In its infographic infographics, The Wall Street Journal lays out the claims of both parties and the jury’s decision on each patent issue. The market quickly reacted to the court decision. On Wall Street, Apple stock hit a record $680.87, while in Seoul trading, Samsung lost 7.5%, slashing $12.5 billion from its value, according to GigaOM and Reuters reports. Google, whose Android software is used by Samsung devices, fell 2.41% to $662.29. The verdict will not drive Samsung out of business. The $1.05 billion in damages corresponds to just

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vs. 1.5% of its annual revenue, and affected products are not sold in the U.S. in significant quantities according to an Associated Press article. It remains to be seen whether Samsung’s newer lines would be affected. But if the hearing slated for September 20 forbids U.S. sales of the Samsung devices, it’s likely Samsung will try to dispose of affected products at lower prices. There could also be a rush to purchase more competitive, high-end Samsung gadgets before the ban takes effect, driving up their prices. In AllThingsD.com Samsung warns: “Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices.” ZDNet cites fears of Asian mobile users that Samsung innovation may slow down and Apple may become monopolistic, constricting consumer choice. Apple may have won the case, but there’s a danger that it could be perceived negatively as an innovation killer who would rather compete in court rather than in the market. This could impact the company’s value in the future and affect purchase decisions among consumers. Google, developer of the Android operating system that Samsung devices run on, could be indirectly affected. In the GigaOm report above, JP Morgan predicts the verdict could increase pressure for other Android OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to better differentiate their products, while Barclays doubts this particular ruling will leave a significant dent on Android’s “global momentum” but that a potential sales injunction versus Samsung could affect Android’s U.S. presence.

• September 3-16, 2012

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HEALTH/LIFESTYLE

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Online Gaming: Addiction or Just â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;High Engagementâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;? While the experts debate how to characterize it, the problem is taking its toll By Joanne Angela B. Marzan

poor vision

24/7 ketchup stain

bloodshot eyes

burger trash muscular degeneration

cockroach

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long tattered nails

STRATEGY POINTS There is an ongoing debate among experts as to whether excessive gaming should be considered as an addiction and therefore elevated to the category of a mental disorder Those that support classifying gaming abuse as an addiction cite numerous instances where excessive gaming has led to the untimely death of a gamer, along with recent studies that show that the brain structure and activity of moderate to excessive gamers and gambling addicts are similar Those opposed to labelling excessive gaming as an addiction believe that further studies are needed to prove that gaming is a compulsion in itself, and not a symptom of an underlying mental or social problem

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D

uring the onslaught of typhoon Ondoy in 2009, a photo of three boys playing what appeared to be online video games while halfsubmerged in water went viral. It is uncertain where this photo was taken but one might wonder what these boys could have been doing to make them oblivious to their environment, not to mention risks to their health and safety? In an attempt to understand how the brains of moderate to excessive gamers worked, a study was conducted in Berlin, Germany, the participants of which were 154 healthy 14-year old kids who, at an average, played video games 1.5 hours during weekdays and 2.3 hours on weekends.

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identify striatal function driven by dopamine as a core candidate promoting addictive behaviour. Of note, it has recently been demonstrated that pathological gamblers have an increased striatal dopamine release while losing money, a biological signal that may hinder the termination of gambling,” the study explained.

Another view of dopamine. Dr. Judy Willis,

a neurologist and middle-school teacher, talked about the relationship between dopamine and excessive video-game play in her Oct. 2011 column in Psychology Today on “Radical Teaching.”

According to the 2011 study, “The Neural Basis of Video Gaming,” published in Translational Psychiatry, the adolescents who became a part of the research showed brain structures similar to those of gambling addicts. “The key finding of higher volume in left ventral striatum associated with frequent video game playing is in conceptual accordance with findings of enhanced dopamine release during video game playing and excessive gambling in Parkinson’s patients due to dopaminergic medication,” the study revealed. Psychology Today defines dopamine as the “neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers,” and “helps regulate movement and emotional responses.” A deficiency in dopamine would result in Parkinson’s disease while people with “low dopamine activity may be more prone [to] addiction.”The ventral striatum is the “reward center” of the brain. “Greater dopamine release in the ventral striatum has been shown in Parkinson’s patients with addiction, obsession and gambling compared with Parkinson’s patients without these symptoms. These findings

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Gaming, come hell or high water

Chart of dopamine pathways from “Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care,” National Institute of Drug Abuse

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“The fuel that compels computer game perseverance and can also motivate academic or other skill learning is the brain chemical, dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that, when released in higher than usual amounts, goes beyond the synapse and flows to other regions of the brain producing a powerful pleasure response,” Dr. Willis said. Dr. Willis added, “the reward from the release of dopamine prompts the brain want to repeat that action and receive more dopamine-pleasure.” So, much like a gambler who continues playing despite continued losses, an excessive gamer would also keep on playing in the hopes of overcoming the next game challenge or level. “These bursts of pleasure drive the brain to seek the next burst, so gamers upon reaching the next level want to continue on playing, even through increasing challenge and frequent failure,” Dr. Willis warned.

Scientific community still not in agreement. While this latest discovery might have bolstered the belief of some experts that excessive gaming is an addiction, Rotterdam-based Erasmus University’s Antonius J. van Rooij, in his 2011 Ph.D. thesis, “Online Video Game Addiction: Exploring a New Phenomenon,” observed that the scientific community has not yet reached a consensus on whether gaming abuse should be regarded as an addiction. Rooij defined video game addiction as “a loss of control over gaming, leading to significant harm [p.11].” “Scientists are still strongly divided about the necessity to label problematic gaming as an addiction. In fact, while some authors argue in favor of creating an official diagnosis for video game addiction … others argue that the concept of

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The serious business of fun and games In August 2010, Software Top 100 compiled the top 25 gaming companies in the world based on 2009 software revenues. According to Software Top 100’s list, the top 25 gaming companies amassed 2009 revenues of just under $30.7 billion, of which the top 10 gaming companies, as listed below, account for just over $24 billion. 1. Nintendo With estimated revenue of $6.8 billion in 2009, the Japanese multinational company revolutionized gaming experience when it introduced the Nintendo Wii in 2008. Three of the top 10 highest grossing video games worldwide, according to www.digitalbattle.com, were developed and published by Nintendo, namely: Mario Kart Wii, Nintendo’s most profitable game ever, with revenue reaching $1.4 billion as of 2011 and over 28 million copies sold; Wii Play, with revenue of $1.25 billion and over 27 million copies sold, and; New Super Mario Brothers Wii, already with $1.2 billion in revenue two years after its release in 2009. 2. Activision Blizzard In 2009, the estimated software revenue of the company was $4.3 billion. The Sta. Monica, California-based Activision Blizzard, Inc. has under its portfolio four of the highest grossing games of all time, according to Digital Battle: World of Warcraft (designed and published by Blizzard), the highest grossing video game of all time, with an estimated revenue of more than $10 billion in the last decade; Call of Duty: Black Ops (designed and published by Activision), with an estimated revenue of more than $1.5 billion at second place; Modern Warfare 2 (designed and published by Activision) is at

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Online gaming: Addiction or just ‘high engagement’

number eight, with revenue amounting to $780 million; and Modern Warfare at tenth place earning $700 million. The company’s portfolio also includes other popular games, such as Starcraft and Diablo.

ten list is the developer and publisher of popular video games, such as Castlevania, Contra and Dance Dance Revolution. In 2009, the Tokyo-based company earned $1.6 billion.

3. Electronic Arts Electronic Arts (EA) is the creator and publisher of The Sims, the ninth-highest grossing video game ever on Digital Battle’s list, with an estimated 2011 software revenue of $740 million. Based in Redwood City, California, EA’s 2009 revenue amounted to $3.7 billion. In fiscal 2012, its website said that EA posted GAAP net revenue of $4.1 billion. Other games created by EA are Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™, and Mass Effect™.

7. Ubisoft French company Ubisoft is the only European company that made it to the top ten list, with $1.2 billion in revenue. Some of the company’s cash cows are Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance and Prince of Persia.

4. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) Based in San Diego, California, Sony Online’s software revenue in 2009 was $1.9 billion. Some of its best-selling online games are EverQuest®, EverQuest® II, Champions of Norrath®, PlanetSide®, Free Realms®, Clone Wars Adventures™, and DC Universe Online™. Its most popular game, however, is the Gran Turismo, which reportedly earned $850 million as of 2011, making it the seventh highest grossing game of all time, based on Digital Battle’s list. 5. Microsoft Games Microsoft Games develops and publishes games for Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Windows and Windows Phones. In 2009, the company earned a total of $1.7 billion. Its bestselling games for Xbox are: Halo series, Gears of War, Fable and Project Gotham Racing, while the Age of Empires series is Microsoft’s most popular PC game. 6. Konami Digital Entertainment The second Japanese company to enter the top

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8. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. In 2009, this New York City based company earned revenue amounting to $916 million. Based on its website, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. has two wholly-owned labels: Rockstar Games, which developed and produced Grand Theft Auto series (according to 2011 figures from Gaming Battle, Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas are the fourth- and seventh-highest grossing video games ever, with revenues of $1.35 billion and $850 million, respectively) and 2K , the developer and producer of 2K Games, 2K Sports and 2K Play. 9. Square Enix Based in Tokyo, Japan, Square Enix earned an estimated $916 million in software revenues as of 2009. Its popular games are Final Fantasy, which sold over 100 million units worldwide; Dragon Quest, with over 58 million units sold, and; Tomb Raider, which sold more than 35 million units. 10. Toy Head Quarters (THQ) THQ is an American company based in Agoura Hills, California, with an estimated 2009 revenue of $909 million. Some of its products include the following series: Saints Row, Darksiders, Metro, WWE and Homefront.

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Report

‘Some worry that gaming addiction might be in fact a different name for high engagement or that it is merely the expression of an underlying, primary psychological problem’ ~

Antonius J. van Rooij

video game addiction is hardly based on scientific facts, but rather on media hysteria … . Some worry that game addiction might in fact be a different name for ‘high engagement’ or that it is merely the expression of an underlying, primary psychological problem ... . Moreover, it seems that the empirical evidence at hand is insufficient to reach definitive conclusions regarding ‘game addiction’ (Council on Science and Public Health, 2007) (p.11),” Rooij discussed. A June 2007 Associated Press story on the Fox News site reported that a major council of the American Medical Association (AMA), just before the association’s annual policy meeting, was going to recommend that the AMA ask the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to include video-game addiction as a mental disorder in the latter’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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Two months later, an article on the Psych Central mental health social network site reported that the AMA’s Council of Science and Public Health “backed away from its own recommendation after the outcry from mental health and addiction experts from across the country.” “There is nothing here to suggest that this is a complex physiological disease state akin to alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders, and it doesn’t get to have the word addiction attached to it,” Dr. Stuart Gitlow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, was quoted as saying in the Psych Central article. Instead, the AMA asked the American Psychiatric Association to consider the issue in its process of updating the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, scheduled to be completed this year. In Jan. 2011, a CBS News article reported that the clamor coming from some doctors to classify gaming addiction as a mental disease was alive once again. In advance of the AMA’s annual policy meeting, the report stated that, “A leading council of the nation’s largest doctors’ group wants to have this behavior officially classified as a psychiatric disorder, to raise awareness and enable sufferers to get insurance coverage for treatment.”

Not an official disorder, at least not yet.

More recently, Dr. Charles O’Brien, chairman of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) Committee told CNN in an August 6 interview that more research is needed before they can classify Internet, gaming or any other habit as an official disorder.

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“We think (Internet addiction) is something. I even went to Beijing to visit a hospital that is dedicated to what the Chinese call Internet addiction, and it was full of young men who had been brought in by their parents because they had been spending hours a day

South Korea’s gaming problem At 15.7 mbps, South Korea has the fastest Internet in the world.

And according to an Oct. 2011 The Daily Beast article, “more than half of the nearly 50 million people” in South Korea are online gamers. In fact, the same article revealed that the country’s undeniable passion for online gaming has produced professional champions, such as Jung Myung-hoon and Yo Hwan-lim. According to a Wikipedia page, the Olympics of the gaming world called the World Cyber Games (WCG) began in South Korea with no less than the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Information and Communications, and Samsung as the co-sponsors of the first-ever WCG Challenge held in Yongin, South Korea, in 2001. But just 10 years after the first WCG, the South Korean government has adopted legislation to curb the perceived Internet and gaming problem in the country. In November 2011, the country passed the “Shutdown Law,” which restricted online gaming access of teenagers 16-years-old and below from 12:00 midnight to 6:00 a.m.

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and neglecting their studies and their health, even, playing these various games. Typically it’s ‘World of Warcraft’ that they’re playing. But they don’t really have what we consider to be evidence (that this is a disorder),” Dr. O’Brien clarified.

of another law that would “regulate the amount of time a student spends with video games in a 24-hour period.” In an Aug. 5 documentary that is part of its series on “Gaming Reality,” CNN looks at South Korea’s gaming problem. According to psychologist Hwang Sang-Min, “Internet addiction is the most significant issue in South Korea.” The term Internet addiction is used in this documentary to also mean online gaming addiction. When asked by CNN why online gaming has become a cultural phenomenon in South Korea, Sang-Min answered, “In Korean society, people do not feel they have the freedom and the kind of power to change their own social roles and their own identities.” He added though that the lure of online gaming is that in the virtual world, wealth or education is insignificant. “Especially young people, they simply give up their real world and just escape,” Sang-Min observed.

“The law is designed to limit Korean youth’s late night gaming as well as online game addiction. It also aims to ensure Korean youth get six hours of sleep each night, with online gaming banned between midnight and 6am,” said a November 15 article posted on www.kotaku.com. In addition, an NBC News article said that the South Korean government is mulling the passing

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CNN’s “Gaming Reality” discusses the South Korean gaming culture

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Still a reason for concern. Whether gaming

winds up being classified as a full-fledged addiction or a symptom of some other underlying problem, recent headlines might still provide sufficient reason for concern.

A February 11 blog entry by one ShezCrafti entitled, “Gaming to Death: Six Woeful Tales of People Who Died Playing Video Games,” included a list of compulsive gamers who have died while playing video games. The list showed that, except for one gamer who died during an Xbox marathon, Massively MultiPlayer Online Role Playing Games (MMPORPGs) may be the most susceptible to abuse.

According to an Aug. 2 report in The Australian, which cited United Daily News, an 18-year-old boy in Taiwan died after playing online video game Diablo 3 for 40 hours straight in July. The article said it was the second death in Taiwan in 2012 from playing video games, following the death of a man in New Taipei after playing for 23 consecutive hours in February.

A Wikipedia page on MMORPG described these games as a “genre of role-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world.” Based on the Guinness

Unfortunately, these are not the first deaths involving excessive gaming.

Book of World Records, the most popular MMORPG, with 9.1 million subscribers as of August 2012, is World of Warcraft (WoW).

Getting out of a virtual world In a 2007 study for the Digital Games Research Association, “Leaving a Never-Ending Game: Quitting MMORPGs and Online Gaming Addiction,” professors Ichia Lee, Holin Lin, Chen-Yi Yu of National Chengchi University and National Taiwan University interviewed 12 gamers who consider themselves “addicted to a MMORPG sometime in the past, but no longer addicted to that game or have stopped playing altogether.” Their main findings: 1) The factors that contributed to gaming also influence the player in his decision to stop; 2) “(M)ultiple factors influencing gamer decisions are intertwined when leading to a final decision to leave a game,” and; 3) Gamers are “continuously conscious of the effects of their excessive playing and are aware of social expectations from important people in their lives.” The study also provided some tips on how its subjects and other self-confessed gaming addicts were able to curb their huge appetite for playing MMORPGs: 1. Do other things, e.g., falling in love, joining a club, finding a time-consuming job, purposefully going out with friends, and playing other games—especially free-to-play games with enforced time limitations. 2. Remember the difference between real and virtual worlds. 3. Eliminate game access—the “cold turkey” option. 4. Welcome catastrophes and take advantage of them. Let your account be hacked and looted so that all of your money and equipment disappears.

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ShezCrafti shared in her blog that as a previous player of WoW, she witnessed how too much gaming led to the loss of a job, child neglect, dropping out of school and divorce.

Understanding the attraction of MMORPGs.

networks and the immersive nature of the virtual environments. On the other hand, Yee describes motivation factors as “real life pressures or problems that can use Attraction factors as outlets.”Below are some motivational factors that are addressed by making MMORPGs as outlets.

In his study, Yee identified the three factors that make MMORPG attractive: rewards cycle, relationship

Dr. O’Brien also expressed the same observation as Yee in the aforementioned CNN article. “There are some people who are seeing a therapist and it’s interpreted that they’re sort of escaping into a computer and using this to deal with their anxieties. Or maybe they have bipolar disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder. But these are just theories. There needs to be some evidence based on a significant number of cases.”

But while it is easy to blame the creators of MMORPGs for making the games never-ending, Ubisoft gaming behavior research scientist Nicholas Yee, in his 2002 study, “Ariadne: Understanding MMORPG Addiction,” showed that gaming abuse is not a oneway street. Yee discussed the attraction as well as the motivation of players for playing MMORPG.

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MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS SAID TO BE ADDRESSED BY MMORP Motivational Factor

MMORPG Outlet

Attraction Factor

Low Self-Esteem

Being Competent and Powerful

Achievement

Poor Self--Image

Being Beautiful and Attractive

Immersion

Lack of control over their own lives

Being In Control

Achievement

Trapped by Circumstances

Making a Difference

Relationship + Achievement

Undervalued

Valued and Needed

Relationship

Making and Sustaining Relationships

Simplifies Communication

Relationship

Stress and RL Problems

Evasion and Avoidance

Imersion

Table from Ariadne: Understanding MMORPG Addiction, p. 14

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Online gaming: Addiction or just ‘high engagement’

‘We know that brain can change in adulthood, but the burning question is whether the video gaming is the cause or the effect’ ~ Dr. Luke Clark

Not necessarily an addiction? Meanwhile, those

Bakker, a former hard-drug addict himself, is not convinced that the young gamers who go to his clinic can be considered addicts.

Dr. Luke Clark, who researches gambling at Cambridge University, likewise believes that more studies need to be done in order to be able to correctly classify gaming as an addiction. “We know the brain can change in adulthood, but the burning question is whether the video gaming is the cause or the effect, and that still needs to be answered,” Dr. Clark told The Daily Mail’s Mail Online in a November 2011 article.

“[T]he more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers - this is a social problem,” Bakker told BBC News in November, 2008. “Eighty per cent of the young people we see have been bullied at school and feel isolated. Many of the symptoms they have can be solved by going back to good old fashioned communication,” Bakker explained. What his clinic was able to do to help the kids was provide “a place where they feel accepted and where their voice will be heard.”

But while experts continue the debate on whether or not to call excessive gaming an addiction, more and more children and adults become exposed to the virtual world of gaming. And while most gamers are probably able to go on with their lives and consider gaming just a hobby, some have found themselves stuck in fantasy-land. It is important, therefore, that structures in the home and school be strengthened and relationships nurtured, so that most gamers can find enough reason and resolve to leave the lure of Azeroth.

who are not convinced that excessive game play is an addiction have found an unlikely ally in Keith Bakker, founder of the Smith & Jones addiction clinic, the first clinic in Europe to provide treatment for gaming abuse.

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News & Strategy Alerts Health/Lifestyle

With the floods, leptospirosis surges Public awareness of leptospirosis and other flood-related diseases must be heightened, in light of the surge in number of patients Government should ensure that public hospitals have an adequate supply of medicines for floodrelated diseases, especially in anticipation of many more rainy days to come PhilHealth’s new policy to reimburse hospitalization costs of leptospirosis patients, even nonmembers, helps mitigate the impact of the disease among poor communities

All government hospitals in Metro Manila were put under Code Blue alert due to the rising number of leptospirosis cases attributed to the recent monsoon floods. The Department of Health noted that 783 leptospirosis cases including 34 fatalities were reported from August 5 to 22 in 20 government hospitals in the metropolis.

If the high demand for the drug persists, government should consider boosting its stock of the medicines to ensure that it has adequate supply for public hospitals, especially in anticipation of many more rainy days to come. The Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, in its Leptospirosis Guidelines, notes that peak incidence of leptospirosis cases and deaths occur during the months of July to October -still a full two months remaining.

The country also recorded 2,374 leptospirosis cases from January to August 11, about 70% higher than the 1,395 cases reported in the same period last year.

The DOH said it has distributed doxycycline capsules – an antibiotic drug used to treat leptospirosis-- to all local government units in Metro Manila to help in the prevention of leptospirosis in evacuation centers. However, there appears to be a need for government to intensify its campaign to heighten public awareness of the disease, in light of reports such as this, which indicate low public awareness and lack of the antibiotic drug in several affected communities. Prices of anti-leptospirosis drug also need to be regularly checked to ensure that they remain stable. President Benigno Aquino III in August already warned a medicine company, which allegedly increased the price of doxycycline by 750 % -- from ₱10 to between

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₱50 to ₱75 -- to take advantage of the increased demand for the drug.

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Source: Office of the President website

The recent pronouncement by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., as reported by BusinessWorld, that even those leptospirosis patients who are not enrolled in the health insurance program, shall be reimbursed as case rate of ₱11,000, helps in mitigating the impact of the disease, especially among poor communities. Government should also be prepared for the expected rise in the incidence of other flood-related diseases -like dengue, malaria, Hepatitis A, and E. coli infection – and do the same awareness campaign suggested above, most especially in easily identifiable vulnerable areas. Public hospitals should likewise make sure that they have adequate supply of medicines for these other diseases.

• September 3-16, 2012

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TCR Volume 2 Issue No 33