Anyone who’s ever spent much time in the Philippines would be aware that local WiFi access can be somewhat “challenging” at times. Even the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry admits that it has among the “slowest and expensive Internet access not only among the ASEAN member states but also globally”
Nonetheless, progress is being made towards broadening access to locals and visitors with the progressive roll-out of Pipol Konek via the Philippines Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Pipol Konek is a free public access facility with (currently) around 2000 live sites nationwide including ~700 in Manila NCR and ~130 in Cebu. The ultimate objective is to have 200,000 live sites by 2022.
The daily data limits certainly aren’t huge – 50Mb for instant access and up to 300Mb for registered users – but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Full details, including instructions and a live map of sites, are at the Pipol Konek website.
The ADB has just released its flagship statistical report for 2018. Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2018 presents the latest statistics on a comprehensive set of economic, financial, social, environmental, and SDG indicators for the 48 regional members of the ADB.
A heads up for commuters that the Manila’s Car Park From Hell – otherwise known as EDSA (Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare) – is currently undergoing a trial banning driver-only vehicles during peak hours.
The Metro Manila Council approved the ban on August 7th and ‘peak hours’ are defined as 7am – 10am & 6pm – 9pm (weekdays). A ‘dry run’ is currently underway with the full implementation expected on 23rd August.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty as to how the ban will be enforced but penalties of PHP1000 will be likely. Grab and other ride share drivers will still be able to enter EDSA to pick up but it must be from “the nearest” entry and, after drop-off, exit EDSA at “the first exit”.
For some reason, I’ve had a lot of questions lately about personal safety in Manila and the Philippines more generally. Mainly from people who are considering visiting for holiday or work but have been ‘warned’ about safety, often by friends or relatives who last visited during the Marcos era.
The security situation in Manila especially is very much exaggerated – frankly, I feel safer walking around Manila at 2 in the morning than in my home town of Melbourne. Except for a number of war-torn provinces in Mindanao where the military have been clashing with Muslim extremists for decades, the Philippines is generally a very safe place to be and, petty crime aside, the risk of physical violence or danger is extremely low. The chances of falling victim to property or violent crime are minimal if you stay alert, are observant of your surroundings and don’t flaunt your valuables.
That said, there are a few specific points to be aware of: Continue reading “A Quick Word About Safety in Manila”
This week, in an historic first, the Philippines Supreme Court is hearing arguments for the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
In a move that’s surprising to some, President Duterte has expressed his in-principle support to same sex unions.
Last week (May 16th) the Philippines Senate passed the Innovative Startup Act, a measure which aims to give local business entrepreneurs a better chance of succeeding in the industry by providing tax breaks and other forms of assistance.
Senate Bill No. 1532, authored by Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, seeks to support innovative startups through financial subsidies like tax breaks and grants, easier business registration procedures and technical assistance and training programs.
Innovative startups will enjoy exemption from fees and charges for the use of equipment, facilities and other services from government agencies such as testing and fabrication facilities.
Under the bill, the benefits will include: (1) waived application fees; (2) Refund of fees for the permits and certificates; and (3) Expedited processing of permits and certificates.
The measure also includes a provision for Ten Billion-Peso Innovative Startup Venture Fund that entrepreneurs can apply for. This fund will be administered by the Department of Science and Technology.
Other benefits include research and development grants, exemption from fees and charges, exemption from fees and charges levied by the national government agencies for the use of equipment, facilities, or services availed by the innovative startup, access to applicable benefits and incentives provided by the Intellectual Property of the Philippines; and Subsidy for Visa application, renewal, or extension of foreign owners, employees, and/or investors of an innovative startup and support service provider, and exemption from the alien employment permit.
Contact me for further information or assistance in applying.