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Politics is getting in the way

Posted:? Mar 24, 2008 2:06 PM
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Author:JDF

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I hate to bring the politics thing but it is true. Why the design scene in the Philippines has not flourished inspite of good-caliber engineers (many of whom are working abroad) is that there is too much politics involved. Now, do the Philippines need a new government to fuel the design activities in the country? Not necessarily. What the government  needs to realize is that there is huge potential in the country, as epitomized by the handful of design works there. Engineering can help modernize a lot of things going there.
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Reply:Politics is getting in the way

Posted:? Apr 1, 2008 3:45 PM
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Author:JDF

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The message below quotes JDF's post.
I hate to bring the politics thing but it is true. Why the design scene in the Philippines has not flourished inspite of go......

- Yup, it is easy to blame it on (bad) politics. But I guess, the industry itself needs to step up its efforts in terms of promition too. Media can also play an important role by spreading the good news.

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(3) Reply:Politics is getting in the way Posted:? Apr 12, 2008 4:08 PM
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Author:CrabTree

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I agree that "too much politics" does rob the technology sector of much-needed government attention, but then there are also other forces at work here. One, is engineering education in the Philippines able to produce a talent pool--not just a few outstanding individuals--that could compete in the world design arena? Two, even if we are able to produce world-class talents, are there enough local design firms to employ them and pay at world-class rates? And three, are design firms even interested to invest here given the cheaper options offered by neighboring regions? The growth of a country's design community hinges largely on how well it meets the challenge of global competition. While government push is a major influential factor, it is not the sole driver as global market forces all come into play.
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(4) Reply:Politics is getting in the way Posted:? Apr 16, 2008 2:40 PM
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Author:ATPV

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^ Nicely put. My two cents on some of the factors you raised:
- Engineering education: I believe the engineering graduates of the Philippines are able to perform and compete in the world design arena. Last February at the NIDays Manila event, a Filipina NI applications engineer demo how to use NI's PXI tools for a TiVo/RF test, which from my previous attendance only showed Singaporeans doing the demos. At the same event, a demo from two Ateneo profs also showed a cost-effective and innovative student testbench built at around $8k-$12k that can prove beneficial for engineering students if replicated across the country.

- In terms of local firms, there is IMI Phils which is also establishing a growing footprint abroad. There are also other homegrown small-scale businesses that are into design and test, which I believe need exposure. About the pay, that is something sensitive to tackle.
But I think, since the shift of action into Asia, there are big players entering the country such as TI and NXP (and NI by mid-year), I believe opportunities are opening up for engineers here and it means that these global players are recognizing Filipino talent, which sheds light on the third factor you mentioned.

Back on topic, I believe that politics, not just in the Philippines also comes into play, albeit in any industry. What is really needed to push the semiconductor industry's development in the country include more open government policies and a supportive environment, rid of red tape, hype corruption, yada yada. I think also the government is realizing the potential of the country to shine in the semiconductor industry, hence opening doors to some big players in the industry.
I do hope so that the government will intensify its efforts to help raise the quality of engineering education to produce more able graduates and attract more design activities in the country.
yannie edited at Apr 16, 2008 2:41 PM
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(5) Politics is getting in the way Posted:? May 16, 2008 9:17 AM
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Author:Maynard Delfin

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Certainly, politics is a major factor in the Philippines. Although we have skilled workers, the population of the laborers is surpassing the number of companies employing them. The government's budget allocation toward technology and modernization should be refocused in addressing the demand for skilled workers who can be an asset in the semiconductor and engineering industries.     
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(6) Reply:Politics is getting in the way Posted:? May 16, 2008 11:03 PM
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Author:abbong

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Filipinos starting to design chips

By Dennis Posadas

While many people know that Filipinos can design and develop good quality software, very few people know that Filipinos are capable of designing microchips.
For the uninitiated, these microchips are those black plastic things mounted on the green PC boards you see inside computers. If you open those plastic packages, you will see a thin sliver of glass, actually a piece of silicon. And if you look closely enough with a powerful microscope, you will see some lines and patterns etched on the piece of silicon.
These lines and patterns, are actually microcircuits. On an Intel Pentium microprocessor, for example, there are several million transistors. These chips are extremely complex, requiring teams of designers and test engineers to insure that these are designed and built to work in various conditions.
Multinationals like Intel, Rohm, Canon, and some small firms do some aspects of chip design here. The University of the Philippines Electrical Engineering department has a chip design laboratory where students take turns on the workstations round the clock, and send their designs to a wafer fab in Taiwan for actual fabrication. Other local universities like De La Salle, Ateneo, USC and Mapua are also introducing chip design programs for their electronics engineering departments.
I spoke with Vic Gruet, who runs a small chip design firm at the UP Ayala Technopark called Symphony Consulting, about the state of chip design in the Philippines. Vic, a Wharton and Moore School double degree holder from the University of Pennsylvania, also heads the Electronics Industries Association of the Philippines, Inc. Vic gave me an overview of their current state and plans for the future:

CURRENT STATE
Vic said that there are roughly 600 to 700 chip design engineers in the Philippines. Around six to seven companies that he knows of are engaged in IC design -- Intel, Rohm (Japan), Canon, Lexmark, Sanyo, BitMicro, and Tsukiden. The locals, like EAZIX (Ayala IMI), Blue Chip (Ateneo), and Symphony, are also going there. These chip design engineers were trained mostly in UP Diliman, though -- La Salle, Ateneo, San Carlos, St Louis, among others -- are trying to develop their own chip design programs. Many of the large companies also train their staff in-house. The Department of Science and Technology’s (DoST) Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) is also a source of chip designers.

MOVING FORWARD
In July 2004, Vic said that they sought the help of the BoI/DTI and the Manila Economic Cooperation Office (MECO) in Taiwan, to link up with the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Promotion Office (SIPO), that is affiliated with the prestigious Taiwanese research center, Industrial Technology Research Institute or ITRI.
Also in 2004, ITRI officials, and Johnson Yang, who is from a prominent Taiwan property development firm came here accompanied by representatives from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs.
In May 2005, representatives from DoST, SEIPI, Board of Investments, attended a Taiwan-Asia IT summit to build relationships. This was followed by a 10-man delegation from Taiwan, including those from their prestigious research center, ITRI, and from their universities. They visited our chip design centers and semiconductor companies like UP, ASTI, IMI Ayala and PSi Technologies, and agreed that collaboration may be beneficial to both countries.
In December 2005, Taiwan sent two instructors to hold a training course in chip design layout. Eighteen local engineers attended, including students from UP and Ateneo.
The Taiwanese instructors commented that Filipino chip design engineers "easily pick up skills and learn very fast," Vic said.

THE GOAL
Because wafer fabs cost around $3 billion to build these days, it is probably unlikely (though not impossible) for these to be done here. Maybe prototyping fabs will happen here, bigger versions of the fab equipment that they have at the UP National Institute of Physics.
But because these contract wafer fabs (or foundries) are only two hours away by plane in Taiwan, the so-called "fabless" chip companies and design service companies can exist here. These are design firms that design and market their own chips or are contracted by big companies like IBM, Sony, Philips, etc. to design custom chips, or their subsections.
These designs are then sent to places like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC) or Chartered Semiconductor in Singapore who fabricate the chips.
IC design services are the electronics engineers’ equivalent of back office designs in architectural and engineering design services, or BPO in other fields.
Vic says that they are "working with DoST, DTI, UP, and expatriate Filipinos to bring to the Philippines chip industry practitioners to help beef up our marketing and sales efforts, and improve our design business process. We also have to set up a way of sharing expensive IC design software tools."
Although they are hampered by the nondisclosure agreements that some industry engineers who want to teach have to deal with, nevertheless, with concentrated attention and pooling of limited resources, Vic feels that we can make a go at it.
This May 2006, some of our local chip design and semiconductor test companies will be manning a booth at the SemiTech 2006 Conference in Taipei, the largest exhibit conference for the semiconductor industry.
Hopefully, their quiet efforts will get them noticed, and attract more companies to consider designing their chips here

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(7) Reply:Politics is getting in the way Posted:? May 17, 2008 11:10 AM
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Author:abbong

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The message below quotes abbong's post.
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(8) Reply:Politics is getting in the way Posted:? May 18, 2008 8:08 AM
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Author:abbong

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Prime Minister Calls India's Universities 'Teaching Shops'

New Delhi ? India?s prime minister, who last year described the country?s universities as dysfunctional, has again lashed out at them, calling them ?teaching shops and degree-giving authorities? that have lost their tradition of research-oriented teaching.

?I say this as someone who has been a teacher,? Manmohan Singh said on Friday in a commencement address at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. ?I have often said that I have strayed into politics by accident but my preferred career was teaching. I recall that in the days I used to be a student and a teacher, universities placed great emphasis on doing research along with teaching.?

Since taking office, in 2004, the prime minister has often criticized the state of India?s higher-education system. Last year he lambasted the governance of state universities and described them as below average. ?A dysfunctional education system can only produce dysfunctional future citizens,? he said then.

On Friday Mr. Singh said his government had spent more money on public education than any other recent administration. But ?it is not enough to spend it on buildings and salaries alone,? he said. ?Some of it should be earmarked for research ? and for providing scholarships to promising students.? ?Shailaja Neelakantan
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(9) Reply:Politics is getting in the way Posted:? May 20, 2008 8:56 AM
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Author:Jose Jr

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It is so easy for us to start blaming politics for anything that does not succeed or for anything that fails. 
Although I do not disagree with your comments below, I also believe that the private sector needs to do its part in investing in Philippine talent. Sad to say that today the brain drain that is happening in the Philippines will continue for as long as the country does not turn itself around. 
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(10) Reply:Politics is getting in the way Posted:? May 24, 2008 9:05 AM
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Author:abbong

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Advanced Research and Competency Development Institute The Advanced Research and Competency Development Institute or ARCDI is a non-stock, non-profit, self-sustaining foundation. It provides high-quality and cost effective training and competency development support to semiconductor and electronics industry players. ARCDI was born out of the need to address the widening gap between engineer’s skills and industry needs, and increase the availability of skilled manpower for high technology industry. ARCDI offers training modules on specific competency areas which are centered on industry requirements. The curriculum is developed and delivered by acknowledged subject matter experts in various fields of the industry. The theories and best practices learning are supported by laboratory equipment and instrumentation workshops. ARCDI began its operations in February 2004. For its first year, 15 technical courses were offered which gathered 778 participants from 60 companies. Setting the strategic direction, ARCDI is strongly supported by an 11-member Board of Trustees whose members are the leaders of the industry, government and academe. The Executive Director is responsible for the operations management of ARCDI, and tasked to implement its various plans and programs. Located in Northgate Cyberzone in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, ARCDI is in close proximity to main industrial areas. Its training facilities include 3 lecture rooms, 2 computer rooms and 1 Test laboratory room. Each room is equipped with modern training equipment. Mission and Vision To enable globally competitive Philippine high-technology companies by providing world-class training and competency development support to Manufacturing and Research / Development companies. ARCDI Board of Trustees as of July 2007 Welcome to ARCDI. Competition in the global environment is getting more and more intense as technological innovation and evolution continue to accelerate at a faster pace than ever before. To ensure the sustainability of the Philippine IT and electronics industries as strong engines of growth for the economy, we have long dreamt of establishing a center of excellence for the capability and knowledge building of Filipino engineers. Through the collective efforts of the Philippine government, participating academic institutions, and the private sector, that dream is now a reality. The Advanced Research and Competency Development Institute (ARCDI) was established to provide training and learning opportunities which will enable Filipino engineers to upgrade their skills and stay at the leading edge of global technological developments in both products and processes in the fields of electronics, software development, and other related sciences. Filipinos are already widely recognized to be among the most creative and talented people in the world. But in this fast-changing environment that we face, we cannot be complacent. We must keep pushing to move up the technological ladder and the only way to do this is to maintain our edge in human capital. These are indeed challenging times but these are also times of great opportunity, for our country and our industries. In view of this, I encourage you to take full advantage of the courses and facilities that ARCDI offers. It is your tool for enhancing your own global competitiveness. I also invite you to support us in this effort by becoming one of our sponsors so that we can keep on improving our programs and facilities and carrying on with this critical mission. Together, let us prove once more that Filipinos shine during times of great challenges. ~ Arthur R. Tan ARCDI Chairman President and CEO of Integrated Microelectronics, Inc. Arthur Tan Chairman President & CEO, Integrated Microelectronics, Inc. (IMI) Reynaldo Vea Vice-Chairman President, Mapua Institute of Technology Ernesto Santiago Secretary Executive Director, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI) Hector Dimacali Trustee President, Philippine Ecozones Association (PHILEA) Melba Cuyahon Trustee General Manager, Philips Semiconductors Phils., Inc. Edmundo Fortunado Trustee Managing Director, Analog Devices (Phils.), Inc. Hiroyuki Kuno Trustee President, Toshiba Info. Equipment Phil., Inc. Norberto Viera Trustee President & Managing Director, TI Phils., Inc. Lilia de Lima Trustee Director General, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Fortunato dela Pena Trustee Undersecretary, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Dennis Ibarra Trustee President & Managing Director, AMI Semiconductor Phils., Inc. ARCDI Management and Staff Cesar Quiason Executive Director Edith del Rosario Administrative Officer Tina Samonte Administrative Assistant ARCDI Members as of August 2007
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(11) Reply:Politics is getting in the way Posted:? May 26, 2008 8:53 AM
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Author:abbong

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The Philippines is considered to be the third largest English-speaking country in the world, with a young population and more than 90% literacy. Its greatest asset is its people. It has a smart, highly skilled, talented workforce, and this strength, combined with cost-competitive salaries, reliable infrastructure, and business-friendly policies makes it the outsourcing destination for some of the world’s largest and best-known firms.

In the Philippines, a dependable telecom industry and IT parks that have sprung up over the past 13 years fuel the outsourcing and export industry. The country has developed expertise in providing outsourced animation, call center and financial services of a high order.
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