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SEIPI beefs up Philippine electronics industry

Posted: 12 Jun 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines? SEIPI? semiconductor? electronics? Selena Salang?

Young: Our goal is to meet or beat last year's investment targets, which rose to $776 million in 2005 from $443 million in 2004.

Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. (SEIPI), the largest organization of foreign and local semiconductor and electronics companies in the country, recently announced initiatives that will strengthen the country's engineering capabilities and boost its competitiveness in the global market.

An electronics forum is planned for December this year to coincide with the 12th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Cebu City, Philippines. At this meeting, SEIPI will convene the top 5 MNCs and top 5 local electronics companies of each ASEAN country to promote free-trade and cooperation within the ASEAN and discuss customs procedures, duty-free electronics products and technology transfer among member nations.

"The ASEAN electronics forum aims to advance inter-ASEAN movement of electronic products," said Ernie Santiago, executive director of SEIPI. "This will give the region an advantage and may enable us to collectively compete with big players like China."

Better education
Another way for the Philippine industry to compete, said Santiago, is through SEIPI's scholarship program for engineering students. SEIPI is targeting 600 MS and 200 PhD students for courses that include materials science, microelectronics design, failure analysis/simulation and next-level applications such as multimedia, analog and RF.

"As we try to add more value to our products and they become more sophisticated, we'll simply need to have this kind of talent in our labor force. We're trying to drive the enhancement of this part of the Philippine educational system, which we find very lacking," said Arthur Young, president of SEIPI, and chairman and CEO of PSi Technologies Inc., a power semiconductor assembly and test services provider.

Santiago said that SEIPI is expecting 49 graduates from the program in the next two years30 of which are funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute. "We plan to have this as a continuing program of our industry so that we can enhance the competencies of engineers employed by SEIPI member companies."

Art Tan, CEO of Integrated Microelectronics Inc., an EMS provider, also announced that a consortium of 17 engineering universities in the Philippines is planning to have their curriculum certified by the Washington Accord. The multinational agreement recognizes equivalency of accreditation systems of member organizations, and the engineering education programs accredited by them. If the curriculum submitted by Philippine universities is certified by the Washington Accord, graduates of that accredited program will be prepared to practice engineering at the entry level in member nations, including the United States, Australia and Japan.

More capacity
Companies in the Philippines are also geared toward expansion of their facilities. In December 2005, TI Philippines Inc. completed the expansion of it facilities in Baguio City. And in a recent visit, CEO Rich Templeton affirmed Texas Instruments' commitment to continuing investment in the Philippines, said Norberto Viera, president and managing director of TI Philippines. "The demand of electronics production continues to grow, with consumer elctronics taking about half the market. This growth requires additional production capacity," he said.

"Our goal is to meet or beat last year's investment targets, which rose to $776 million in 2005 from $443 million in 2004," said Young. "This certainly looks possible because of improvements in our infrastructure and the convergence of Philippine industry goals."

- Selena Salang
Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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