Friday, April 30, 2010

JOSE de VENECIA III: Senator No. 12

Ten days until Election Day in the Philippines. I thought that I should write about some of the candidates that I will surely vote for.

I am voting for Joey de Venecia III (no.12 in the list) for Senator for subjective and objective reasons. Subjectively, he has my vote because he is a family friend, a Facebook friend, a provincemate (Pangasinan), a townmate (Washington, D.C.) and a cybermate. For that kind of relationship, I would have the obvious privilege of unquestioned access to a Philippine Senator. So would my family, friends, townmates, provincemates and cybermates. To many, that alone would be enough reason to vote for him.

I am voting for Joey mostly for objective reasons. He is what I call the ideal Senator for the “E-Generation”. First he has advocated and will surely continue to promote the “electronification” of the entire country not only the urban areas but most especially the rural areas. His proposals to have a computer in every Filipino home and a cell phone for every family certainly reinforce that commitment.

In the early 1990s, I founded a company named First Convergent Communications Worldwide, Inc. At that time, I had predicted the convergence of voice, audio, print and video communications technologies. At about the same period, Joey launched his Multi-Media Telephony, Inc., reflecting a vision and a recognition that the wave of the future is in multi-media communications technologies. While pioneering the “call center” industry in the Philippines, and running one of the most efficient paging system, his company obtained a Congressional telecommunications franchise and Certificate of Public Convenience allowing it to prepare for the building and development of a broadband network conducive to the emergence of the converging technologies. He was indeed a man of action. While I had the option to buy a similar franchise, I never exercised it.

Broadband Philippines, Inc. which he founded offers a superior technology in high speed internet access, IP (Internal Protocol) Telephony and Video over IP. I know because I used it while operating in the Philippines. I could call the US for free from my car in the Philippines while in the highway or when stuck in traffic. I could also watch my cable shows in Virginia from anywhere I could access Joey’s wireless broadband network.

When Joey proposed to build a National Broadband Network in the Philippines at no cost to the Philippine Government, he wanted every Filipino to experience what I was enjoying. But his goal was frustrated by the greed and corrupt practices of what I call “the Broadbandits” led by the husband of a consenting President who would have been ousted if not for the timely support of former President Fidel Ramos and then Speaker Joe de Venecia, Jr., Joey’s father. The exposure by Joey of the Broadbandits and the First Couple’s involvement forced him to fulfill what really is his political destiny.

Electing him Senator would just be a step towards the fulfillment of a vision and mission the success of which was temporarily suspended by temporal rulers. When I mentioned “E-Generation”, I was not only referring to electronic media or communications but also to those who are concerned with economic growth (employment, entrepreneurship, equity expansion); education (e-learning, eBooks); environment; empowerment; enlightenment; ecumenism; energy independence; and excellent health care.

Literature research and empirical studies made by the World Bank cite the significant effects of broadband connection in the economic growth of both developed and developing countries. Once every family has a computer and a broadband connection as Joey proposes, knowledge and education would be accessible, available and affordable to everyone. Each member of a family can have an e-library of eBooks consisting of 4.7M pages contained in a DVD which would cost only Five (5) Pesos or about 10 US cents. All the textbooks from Grade One to Senior High School could be made available to each student or family for instant retrieval in anybody’s home. Anyone can enroll in an online college or university for self-improvement or for credits toward a degree.

The social effect is also undeniable. With Voice over IP, every home would be able to communicate for free, with loved ones who are working or residing overseas – 8 million of them.

There are now 1.7 B (Billion) users residing in 233 countries or territories accessing ICT. Globally, there are now more than 4B (Billion) mobile users. If given the opportunity, Joey with other foreign leaders would increase that rapidly. In the words of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on the positive impacts of the Internet and ICTs, “include a limitless possibility for improving human conditions in this and all nations by providing new mechanisms for education, facilitating global trade, meeting the basic needs of people, improving communication and health care, enabling economic benefits and offering opportunities for upward mobility to underserved population.”

ITU also cites negative impacts of global connectivity – “such as interference with networks and data, theft and/or disclosure of private or protected information, fraud, identity theft, money laundering, phishing, spam, and disruptions to critical infrastructure or infrastructure – work to prevent many from participating in or realizing the full benefits of the new global community.”

In order to reinforce the positive impacts, deter the negative ones and to define the “behaviors, actions and activities that can be consistently be described as unacceptable, along with the procedures to be followed when these behaviors are observed or investigated;” Philippine laws have to be passed.

Working with other nations, we have to deal with cyber criminals and cyber terrorists and should share common approaches to the criminality of such acts, including jurisdictional issues, cooperation in investigations, search and seizure of digital evidence, and extradition. For these, Philippine laws have to be passed.

A Cyber lawmaker is therefore needed. The Philippines needs someone who has the knowledge, experience, and expertise in kubernetes (cyberspace) – someone who thinks and eats it while drinking coffee in the morning; someone who chews it and dreams about it after drinking his wine at night.

That someone is Jose de Venecia III. I am voting for him as Senator (No. 12). I urge my all my friends, relatives, townmates, provincemates, classmates, cybermates and every right thinking Filipino to vote for him too. He is the Senator for the E-Generation.

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