THE BETTER SIDE OF THE PHILIPPINES The following was written by INTEL General Manager Robin Martin about the Philippines : 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 a while. The negative perception of the Philippines is way disproportionate to reality when compared to countries like Columbia , Egypt , Middle East, Africa , etc. Let us all help our country by balancing the negative with the positive especially 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 by how much our country has progressed physically. Consider the following: 1. The great telecom infrastructure that we have now did not exist in 1995. 1995 was the year the telecom industry 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. From a fixed line capacity of about 900,000 in 1995 we now have over 7 million. Cellular phones practically did not exist in 1995; now we have over 11 million line capacity. 2. 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. 3. If you drive to the provinces, you will notice that national roads are now of good quality (international quality asphalt roads). I just went to Iba, Zambales last week and I was impressed that even a not so frequently travelled road was of very good quality. 4. Philippine exports have increased by 600% over the past eight years. There are many, many more examples of progress over the last eight years. Philippine mangoes are now exported to the US and Europe . Additional tidbits to make our people prouder: 1. INTEL has been in the Philippines for 28 years. The Philippines plant is where Intel's most advanced products are launched, including the Pentium IV. By the end of 2002, Philippine operations became Intel's biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide. 2. 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 the brains behind cellphones. TI's Baguio plant produces the chip that powers 100% of all NOKIA cellphones and 80% of Erickson cellphones in the world. 3. TOSHIBA laptops are produced in Santa Rosa , Laguna. 4. 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 . 5. TREND-MICRO, makers of one of the top anti virus software PC-Cillin (I may have mispelled this) develops its "cures" for viruses right here in Eastwood Libis, Quezon City . When a virus breaks in any computer system in the world, they try to find a solution within 45 minutes of finding the virus. 6 . Today a majority of the top ten U.S. Call Center firms in the U.S. have set up operations in the Philippines . This is one area in which I believe we are the best in the world in terms of value for money. 7. America Online (AOL) has 1,000 people in Clark answering 90% of AOL's global e-mail inquiries. 8. PROCTOR & GAMBLE has over 400 people right here in Makati (average age 23 years) doing back-up office work to their Asian operations including finance, accounting, Human Resources and payments processing. 9. Among many other things it does for its regional operations network in the Asia-Pacific region here in Manila , CITIBANK also does its global ATM programming locally. 10. This is the first year ever that the Philippines will be exporting cars in quantity courtesy of FORD Philippines. (I have an idea this article was written between 2001 - 2002, so this operation should have been on-going for the last 3 years or so. CYN) 11. The government is shedding off graft and corruption slowly but surely. This is the first time in our history that a former president is in jail and facing charges of plunder. Despite all odds, we are still pursuing the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos now enjoyed by his unrepentant heirs. Next time you travel abroad and meet business associates tell them the good news. 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. This message is shared by good citizens of the Philippines who persevere to hope and work for our country. 56,000,000 Filipinos speak, read and write in English even if we have our own national language. Speaking a second language takes a certain kind of unique intelligence. PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO OTHER FILIPINOS!!!