Proud to be a Filipino
JAYWALKER - Art Borjal () - May 26, 2002 - 12:00am
Ernesto Aboitiz had a very meaningful statement, as shared with me by Billy Esposo, chairman of COPA, that should make Filipinos proud of their country. In his statement or speech, Aboitiz said that in his short stint with the government, he has come to appreciate the significant achievements and the great potential of the Philippines. "We do have our share of problems such as peace and order, labor and power costs which are being tackled but which will require some time to resolve," he said.
* * *
"However, we have moved forward, Filipinos (including the press, business people and myself) tend to dwell too much on the negative side and this affects the perception of foreigners, even the ones who have lived here for awhile. The negative perception of the Philippines is way disproportionate to reality when compared to countries like Columbia, Egypt, Middle East, Africa, etc.," Aboitiz suggested.
* * *
"Let us all help our country by balancing the negative with the positive specially when we talk to foreigners whether based here or abroad. Looking back and comparing the Philippines today and 1995 (the year I came back), I was struck at how much our country has progressed physically," he said.
* * *
Aboitiz asked us to consider the following: one. The great telecoms infrastructure that we have now did not exist in 1995. 1995 was the year telecoms was deregulated. Since then, billions of dollars have been invested in both fixed line and cellular networks producing a system with over 5,000 kms of fiber optic backbone at a world competitive cost. Aboitiz added that from a fixed line capacity of about 900,000 in 1995, we now have over seven million. Cellular practically did not exist in 1995, but now we have over 11 million lines capacity.
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He also said that the MRT, many of the EDSA flyovers (including the Ayala Avenue flyover), the SKYWAY, Rockwell and Glorietta 4, the Fort, NAIA terminal 2 and most of the new skyscrapers were not yet built in 1995. And if you drive to the provinces, you will notice that national roads are now very good quality (international quality asphalt roads). He said that he had just gone to Iba, Zambales last week and was impressed that even a not so frequently travelled road was of very high quality.
* * *
Aboitiz also noted that Philippine exports have increased by 600 percent over the eight years. There are many, many more examples of progress over the last eight years.

And he had additional tidbits to make us prouder of the Philippines. For example, he has been in the Philippines for 28 years. The Philippines plant is where Intel’s most advanced products are launched including the Pentium 4. By the end of the year, the Philippine operations is expected to be Intel’s biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide.
* * *
"Texas Instruments has been operating in Baguio for over 20 years. The Baguio plant is the largest producer of DSP chips in the world. DSP chips are brains behind cellphones. TI’s Baguio plant produces the chip that powers 100% of all NOKIA cellphones in the world and 80% of Erickson cellphones.
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In addition, Toshiba laptops are produced in Laguna. If you drive a Benz, BMW, or a Volvo, there is a good chance that the ABS system in your car was made in the Philippines. And also, Trend Micro, makers of one of the top anti virus software PC-Cillin develops its "cures" for viruses right here in Eastwood Libis. When a virus breaks in any computer system in the world, they try to find a solution within 45 minutes of finding the virus.
* * *
"By the end of this year, it is expected that a majority of the top ten U.S. call center firms in the U.S. will have set up operations in the Philippines. This is one area which I believe we are the best in the world in terms of value for money. America Online (AOL) has 1,000 people in Clark answering 90% of AOL’s global e-mail inquiries. And Proctor & Gamble has over 400 people right here in Makati (average age 23 years) doing backup office work to their Asian operations including finance, accounting, HR, and payments processing," Aboitiz said.
* * *
"Among many other things it does for its regional operations here in Manila, Citibank also does its global ATM programming locally. And this is the first year ever that Philippines will be exporting cars in quantity, courtesy of Ford Philippines. Next time you see business associates, tell them the good news," he stressed.
* * *
"A big part of our problem is perception and one of the biggest battles can be won simply by believing and by making others believe," he concluded.
* * *
McDonald’s has been getting a beating lately as a result of a store it is constructing near the Balayan church in Batangas. No less than disrespect for Filipino heritage has been raised by the critics involved with the preservation of the country’s historic sites.
* * *
There is something deceiving, though, about the criticisms. The fact is that McDonald’s Balayan store is located 60 meters away from the church. The structure will in no way mar the church façade nor present aesthetic problems. It is also in front of a Jollibee store and across a school, the Immaculate Conception Academy. The site has been declared a commercial property and, before construction started, was used as paid parking for jeepneys and tricycles.
* * *
Even before commencing construction work, McDonald’s cleared the matter with then chairman and executive director of the National Historical Institute, Dr. Pablo Trillana. The NHI only prohibited the foodchain giant from constructing a store at the atrium of the church, but not the present site.
* * *
McDonald’s is working with the local parish and the municipal government to ensure that there is no encroachment on historic grounds. Even the architecture of the building is designed to blend with its surrounding to preserve the cultural heritage of the site.
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McDonald’s has been in the Philippines for over 20 years. It supports and champions Filipino values, as reflected in its award—winning Lolo commercial. Recently, it threw its support behind President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s call for the construction of children’s day care centers, through the Ronald McDonald Charities, its charity arm. It employs over 20,000 Filipinos.
* * *
Thanks a million and God bless the following kindhearted people who lent a helping hand to the Good Samaritan Foundation:

· R.D. of Manila, P20,000

· A regular lady donor from Forbes Park P1,000 (BPI 153070

· An anonymous lady donor from Abra, Bangued P5,000 (PMO 9068462)

· An anonymous lady donor from San Juan, Metro Manila, remitted through RCBC. P10,000
* * *
In the meantime, the Good Samaritan Foundation gave financial assistance to a distressed worker in Metro Manila who has been undergoing treatment in Camarines Sur. She is Lydia Dominguez and the amount given to her was P10,000. A new pair of crutches was also turned over to a sweepstakes vendor who, for many years, has been using an old dilapidated pair. The amount of P5,000 was given to Ramil Cabrera, a long-time visually impaired scholar of the Good Samaritan Foundation as financial assistance for his forthcoming trip to Taiwan to attend a conference on disability.
* * *
Thoughts For Today:

Don’t go for looks; they can deceive.
Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away.
Go for someone who makes you smile
because it takes only a smile to make
a dark day seem bright.
Find the one that makes your heart smile.
* * *
There are moments in life when you miss someone
so much that you just want to pick them
from your dreams and hug them for real!
* * *
My e-mail addresses: jaywalker@pacific.net.ph and artborjal@yahoo.com

ABOITIZ BORDER CELLPADDING CENTER MCONALD PHILIPPINES WIDTH
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