21 September 2007

A Frankenstein project

I'VE BEEN reading through the transcript of yesterday's Senate committee hearing on the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN), courtesy of Manolo's liveblog over Inquirer Current, including the resources he pointed to, like PCIJ's transcript of ASec Lorenzo Formoso's powerpoint and Yuga's take on the project itself.

And in the end, I get the feeling that just like the CEP, the NBN started out as a good idea that later metamorphosed into some sort of a Frankenstein project, no thanks to the usual suspects in the Arroyo regime.

Why is this so? Let me offer the following:

1. If I'm not mistaken, it is intended to be a purely government network, connecting the center (Manila) to its subnational branches (regional, provincial and city) all over the archipelago. If this were the original intent, then both the AHI and Arescom proposals will fit the bill, since what remains of these agencies post-devolution in 1991 (with the exception of DepEd) are concentrated at the urban centers of the country.

But then somebody decided to include all municipalities into the picture, and when the smoke cleared, tadaaah, only ZTE fits the bill!

2. It is apparent that VOIP calls within the network is the only compelling service -- the killer application, if you will -- that government agencies will derive from project. In this context, having VOIP capabilities will make sense, eliminating the cost of long-distance NDD calls among central and sub-national offices. But then one must ask: how much of the current P4 billion government expenses for telecommunications go to NDD calls? I have a feeling this has been going down, eaten up by spending on mobile communication (which the NBN does not cover).

3. One selling point for the NBN is the connectivity it will bring to the Community e-Centers, giving far-flung communities "affordable access to a variety of services using ICT, such as Internet, e-mail, fax, computer training, distance learning, online services and other kinds of services/information beneficial to the community." In short, an internet cafe in the most distant barangays of the country.

These are fine, but then again, one must ask: is the national government really serious about providing online services to its constituents in these far-flung areas, which is what the CeCs should equally provide as frontline service?

Just check Malacañang's portal for instance. Under online services, the following are available: Passport Application and Renewal; Driver’s License Application and Renewal; Birth, Marriage, Death Certificates; Taxpayer Identification Number; Tax Payments; and Reporting Complaints.

Try them out and what do you find? A dead link for passports, and only one truly online service (NSO's birth, marriage and death certificates) that allows online payment by debit and credit cards, and door-to-door delivery of the certificates applied for. The rest do not involve financial transactions or are merely informational: clients will still need to visit the nearest government branch, deal with government workers, fill up papers forms, pay the required fees, et cetera et cetera. To think that the Philippines passed its E-Commerce law in 2000 yet!

4. Most, if not all, of the discussions thus far have viewed the NBN from the top -- from the point of view of Malacanang and its departments, from Congress and even the Manila-based media. But how about the bottom, or the grassroots if you will?

If many Filipinos anyway seem to prefer trying their luck in foreign shores, isn't it logical that the basic services relative to getting a job abroad -- like passporting and the POEA and OWWA certifications -- should be prioritized for online delivery?

Or if information about job opportunities is critical, these are made available online -- a localized JobsDB.com search services, particularly for seasonal work, easily comes to mind as a potential killer application. Imagine if this is made available to all towns and cities, or even provinces to start with.

5. Finally, if the DepEd remains as the only national government department with presence at the community level, it boggles the mind why Secretaries Lapus and Mendoza did not try to reconcile their respective programs-- as Senator Alan Peter Cayetano correctly pointed out -- and come up with a unified initiative that will focus on distance education as another killer application that will justify the humungous financial requirements of the NBN.

Which is why I do not trust this administration at all.

3 comments:

mschumey07 said...

At the end of the day, only one thing pops up in my mind, do we really need it?

The government should not borrow just because a loan is offered? And if we really need to borrow, we should should use it in addressing the most pressing problems.

The CEP worked in Thailand because the king subsidizes it. And they may lack teachers but certainly not classrooms.

It was all about getting kickbacks and I'm glad it was exposed.

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店經紀,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店工作,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,

,

Easy Rider Jacket said...

i love your work and its surprisingly helped me and i am grateful for the information given..Thanks for sharing