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Philippine IT Newsbits

July 23 saw a group of IT professionals celebrate the issuance of Executive Order 125 which makes the National Information Technology Council or NITC the lead institution for IT in the country. Under the EO, the National Computer Center (NCC) is also mandated to support the council by providing technical and professional assistance. Furthermore, the EO125 replaces EOs 34, 35 and 36 which hoped to centralize all government's IT-related projects bidding and management, thereby expanding NCC's powers and functions. Many believed that having only one agency manage the bidding and implementation of IT-related projects of the government would cause bottlenecks and impede the growth of IT in the country.

A Web site for the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization program is in the works. This is in line with the Estrada admnistration's commitment in ensuring transparency and full disclosure of government transactions. The site will feature all information and details of the bidding as well as the bidders. It is said that P10 billion has been allocated for the the AFP modernization program.

UNISYS Philippines won the $38 million systems integration contact bid for the Land Transportation Office Information Technology (LTO-IT). It will integrate LTO's

The Philippine Long Distance Telecommunications (PLDT) has acquired Smart Communications, Inc. This after the phone giant issued P37.0 billion in new common shares to Smart's shareholders, Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and First Pacific Group. This move by PLDT was predicted to enhance PLDT's competitive competition. It will enable PLDT to be globally competitive by offering fully integrated services such as voice, cellular, internet and data transmission.

Filipinas: Isang Kasaysayan, is a CD-ROM retelling Philippine history through the Ayala Museum dioramas launched by the Filipinas Heritage Library, and electronic research center on Philippine history. The CD, which has 63 dioramas with narratives, considers the large social milieu alongwith the ordinary lives and events that make up the country's historical heritage.

President Joseph Estrada signed into law Republic Act 8748, an act amending RA 7916 (The Philippine Economic Zone Authority Law) and the Year 2000 Readiness Act. The two laws are the government's countermeasures against the adverse effect of the millenium bug and which will hopefully attract foreign investors. The Year 2000 act serves as the "government's guarantee" that services in telecommunications, finance, health care, utilities, manufacturind and other key activities shall not be compromised by the onset of the year 2000.

However, a survey commissioned by the USA Today newspaper revealed that the Philippines is among the worst prepared for the Y2K problem. The same survey showed that China and Indonesia are among the countries which are least prepared for the potential Y2K crisis. The US, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Bermuda are the countries polled to be the most prepared.

The Estrada administration urged the public over the weekend to help it pressure companies to put on the fast-track their efforts to become Y2K-ready. Last June, the President signed the Y2K Disclosure Law, which requires government agencies and private companies to regularly update the public on their Y2K-readiness efforts. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Y2K Law also provides for an independent third party auditor to review and validate Y2K compliance efforts undertaken by a private and government entity within the mission critical sectors.


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