Friday, February 25, 2005

FGD on SMITE Financing

SBGFC, DTI and the CICT will be conducting a Focus Group Discussion on Financing for Small and Medium IT Enterprises or SMITEs. This FGD will be hosted by SBGFC (Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation), an agency of DTI.

Date: March 11, 2005 (Friday)
Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Venue: SBGFC Board Room, 18th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, 139 Valero St., Makati City

Topics to be covered will include:
  • what are difficulties faced in obtaining financing for expansion purposes?
  • what are the typical uses of loan proceeds?
  • what do financing institutions need to know about financing for SMITEs?
SMITEs includes: software application developers, contact centers, medical transcription companies, animation houses, and other small/medium ICT-enabled services providers.

Only limited slots are available, so if you are interested to attend, please click on "comments" below and leave the following information:
  • name of your company,
  • website of your company (URL), and
  • "safe" email address e.g. dondi sa gmail dot com.
We will notify you by email, on or before March 7, if your registration is confirmed. Thank you.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Q&A: What do you miss?

The past two weeks have been quite hectic. I'll post the highlights soon. In the meantime, this week's Q&A comes courtesy of Manny Escosa, a college classmate:

"What do you miss about your previous life in the private sector?"

An office in the Makati Central Business District. My commute distance has tripled! Though with all the ongoing efforts to decongest EDSA (thank you, Chairman Bayani) commute time is not that bad. Fortunately, a kind soul at DTI has offered me a visitor's desk at their office. So for those lull times between meetings in Makati, I now have a place to work. Just have to make sure their PCs have a USB port (see next item).

A fast
computer. Gone are those days when I could whip out my 1Ghz notebook, sit down at the nearest wi-fi hotspot, and catch up on e-mail. Nowadays I use a Pentium III desktop at my office, which starts choking when more than five windows are open! At night, I have a Pentium 4 at home, but it only frees up when my 15-year old son decides he's had his gaming fix for the day. How do I shuttle work back and forth between the 2 machines? I've learned to trust my USB dongle (a gift from my friend Mark) to hold my workfiles.

A PDA (sob!) The week before Christmas, my wife used our CR-V to go to the parlor. Unfortunately for me, I left my Tungsten E and my Canon Ixus camera in a knapsack in the back seat. While my wife was getting her trim, someone smashed the CR-V's window and took off with my knapsack! I was miserable for a month! I would reach into my pocket and come up with ... a blank palm. Literally. Fortunately, my data was backed up on my desktop. Still, it's only now that I'm getting over the withdrawal symptoms. And I'm still saving up to buy a replacement. In the meantime, it's back to paper and pen. :-(

Private Sector Salary. Well I don't miss it as much as missing the things I might do with that salary. Like taking my son scuba diving (we worked on our Advanced Diver certification together). Or buying a new PDA to replace the one stolen from me (next time, I'm having my email address engraved onto the case). I'm simply learning to live with a cash trickle rather than a cash flow. Fortunately, my wife's a high school principal, so that helps to subsidize the tuition of our three children, ages: 15, 14 and 10.

Power Steering. The government issued me a service vehicle: a manual-transmission, 1.3 liter 1996-model Corolla. My wife thus claimed exclusive use of our CR-V (remember the parlor above?). So instead of driving an automatic, power-steering CR-V to work, I make do with "pawis" steering. On the plus side, my biceps seem to be getting bigger! Whoo hoo!

Why do I put up with it? Find out why I joined government.

Monday, February 14, 2005

My Funny Valentine

Four men and a lady. We were all supposed to be somewhere else. After all, it was 7:00 pm on Valentine's Day! But love kept us together - our love for the Philippine software industry ;-)

Dr. Emma Teodoro (seated) is the owner/president of Softtech Advantage Inc. and a founder/Director of the Philippine Software Industry Association. (Standing, L to R): Frank Holz, a 25-year resident of the Philippines, and founder of the Outsource2Philippines consulting firm. I'm next, followed by Lauro Vives, founder of XMG and finally, Mark Yambot, corporate affairs director of Microsoft Philippines.

We were at Microsoft's offices earlier this evening to draft the scope of a study for the Philippine software industry. The study will take 4 months and would have 3 phases:
  • Baseline Assessment - what is the current state of the industry? how do we compare to other software economies?
  • Industry Visioning - where do we want to go? what kind of ecosystem is envisioned to support the software industry?
  • Drafting a Roadmap - how do we get there? what policies need to be put in place? what projects or programs should be prioritized?

Once the roadmap is completed, CICT together with PSIA (the Philippine Software Industry Association) and other industry organizations will be entasked with implementing the roadmap and keeping the industry on course.

The study would cover software services (development/maintenance), packaged software distribution, wireless applications, gaming applications, and embedded systems. As the study progresses, I'll post updates and schedule of activities on the sideblog on Software Development. In the meantime, let me know if you're interested in participating in this study.

Pitch in your 2 centavos on what you think is needed to generate more jobs in the Philippine software industry.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Q&A: Why did you join government?

People come up to me with interesting questions all the time. Each Friday, I'll pick a question to answer. This week's question comes from Joey Alarilla of

"Why did you decide to join the government after 20 years in the private sector?"

First of all, it was a chance to work for a fantastic boss. (Hi sir, I hope you're reading this ;-)

Second, I felt it was time to focus my talents on helping the country. I felt tired of working for my own goals. I was looking for a challenge - a chance to contribute to the country. I prayed together with my wife and family, and we made a joint decision that the timing was right. There was an opening on the CICT, and my talents and work experience seemed an excellent fit for the position.

Third, I asked my colleagues in the private sector whether they would support me if I ever accepted the job. Industry support came from the ITFP (IT Foundation of the Philippines), ITAP (IT Association of the Philippines), PCS (Philippine Computer Soceity), and BPAP (Business Processing Association of the Phillippines).

Finally, public service is a family tradition. My sister Mardi Mapa-Suplido is one of our country's chief peace negotiators. My brother Cidni Mapa is a councilor in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.

My maternal grandfather, Dr. Cesar Ongpin, was assigned to the Department of Health's army hospital in Bataan at the time of its surrender. Thank God, he survived the 1942 Death March. He traded his silver coin collection with a Japanese guard for a chance to escape. Others were not so lucky.

My father, Domingo Mapa, worked briefly for the Philippine International Trading Corporation. My mother, Lirio Ongpin-Mapa, worked for some time with DTI's Bureau of Domestic Trade.

My other relatives who served in our government: Victorino Mapa (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1920-1921), Placido Mapa Sr. (Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretary, 1949-1953), Placido Mapa Jr. (Economic Planning Minister, 1981-1983), Roberto Ongpin (Trade and Industry Minister, 1979-1986), and Jaime Ongpin (Finance Secretary, 1986-1987).

So you could say it's in the blood.

Keep those questions coming! Or I'll have nothing to post on Fridays ...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Come to Dumaguete!

My early days were spent in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. Last October, my wife and I returned for a visit to this wonderful seaside haven. We had lunch on the boulevard, at a quaint cafe called Coco Amigos.

Home to four outstanding universities, Dumaguete is the original "university" town in the country, and is a rich source of skilled human resources. Dr. Bill Torres, former NCC Director-General studied at Dumaguete's Central Visayas University. Deputy Commissioner Kathy Heceta of the NTC finished her law degree in Dumaguete's Silliman University.

The city provides many other benefits for e-services locators. High-bandwidth fiber connections, excellent English speakers, competitive incentives, golfing, whale watching and scuba diving nearby, the list goes on.

If you're interested to find out more, please come to a forum entitled "The IT Outlook for Oriental Negros and Dumaguete City" on Thursday, February 17, 2005 at the Boracay Room, Shangri-La EDSA Hotel. This forum is part of the forthcoming eServices Philippines event organized by CITEM on February 17-18, 2005.

On hand to answer questions will be government and business executives from Dumaguete City. SPI Technologies, Asia's largest independent BPO company and one of the Global 100 Outsourcing Companies, will discuss their experiences operating in Dumaguete.

The program is as follows:

  • 11:00 Welcome by Gov. George Arnaiz
  • 11:05 Presentation: IT Outlook for Oriental Negros and Dumaguete City
  • 11:15 First Mover Advantage: The SPI Experience in Oriental Negros by Mr. Paul Hartley, Operations Director, SPI Publisher Services
  • 11:40 Open Forum

Hope to see you there! In the meantime, check out Dumaguete City's website.

Tech Venture Training in Korea

I've just received an invitation for a training event in Korea. Anyone interested to attend?

CICT is allowed to nominate two (2) government attendees and two (2) private sector attendees. Private sector attendees will have to purchase their own airline tickets. All other training expenses, accommodation, and ground transportation will be covered by the sponsoring organizations: Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Colombo Plan, and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). Thank you!

Attendees should meet qualifications set by the sponsoring organizations: proficient in English, between 30 and 55 years of age, and in good health. I would add that they should be actively (or planning to be) involved in the development and growth of IT ventures in the Philippines.

The training runs from May 2 to 13, 2005. The programme will give special emphasis on ventures in e-commerce and the Republic of Korea's experiences in creating and sustaining such ventures.
  • Topics to be covered will include: Technology Business Incubation, New Venture cycle, Models of funding, and field visits to leading IT firms.
  • Teaching methodology will include case discussion and experience sharing.
  • Faculty will include successful technopreneurs, VCs and fund managers, marketing experts, and government policy makers.
If you are interested in attending this training, let me know before February 24. Just leave a comment (include your e-mail address so I can contact you).

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

TELOF Workshop, February 10-11

I've been invited to make a presentation on "e-Business" to the planning workshop of the Telecommunications Office (also known as TELOF). TELOF is a group within CICT, and is headed by Commissioner Elberto Emphasis.

TELOF operates and maintains various telecomm facilities nationwide. Many of these facilities were privatized in the '90s, but the following are still owned and operated by the government (click on the links for detailed descriptions):
One of the conditions needed to create 1 million jobs is an adequate telecomms infrastructure. Not just within Metro Manila, but nationwide, so that the jobs can be created all over the Philippines. TELOF is facing a strategic juncture in its history. The private sector has reached historical levels of growth on the back of mind-boggling SMS and cellular services transaction volumes. New technologies such as Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, and Power Line Communications are making it easier than ever to deploy broadband networks.

Should government continue to operate its own network, especially for those hard-to-reach areas where private sector dares not tread? Should government continue spending taxpayer money to subsidize the network? Should TELOF put up its own international gateway facility (Read this Computerworld article for more info)?

Give me your comments, I'll pass them on to Commissioner Emphasis and his group as inputs to their workshop. And perhaps he'll put up his own blog too ;-)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A Series of Open Dialogues

There's a lot that could go into this blog:
  • results of the private sector workshops,
  • findings from various industry studies, and
  • "eurekas" on how to improve the ICT sector.

Then I discovered "sideblogs"! How do these help?

Let's say you're from the animation industry, and you don't want to wade through posts about the software industry, then you can go directly to the sideblog "Open Dialogue on Animation".

Other sideblogs: Software Development, Wireless Applications, Medical Transcription, and Business Process Outsourcing. Sideblogs will be linked on this site.

Suggestions for future sideblogs include:

  • the PH Domain,
  • Gaming,
  • Engineering & Design Services,
  • Product R&D, and
  • Content Transformation.

Each sideblog would be kicked off with a workshop. Workshop details will be announced on this main board.

Any suggestions on sideblogs you'd like to see?

Random ruminations and running updates on the CICT will continue to be posted right here. Now for some articles on the flagship projects: Computerworld article on CICT roadmap and article about 1mjobs.

Monday, February 07, 2005

SBD Vision and Mission

Hi, my name is Dondi Mapa. I recently accepted a job as a Commissioner with the CICT (Commission on Information and Communications Technology) of the Republic of the Philippines. I'm starting this blog as a way of sharing the challenges I face on the job, and more importantly, as a way of getting valuable inputs and feedback from well-meaning folk.

The CICT is "the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating, and administrative entity of the executive branch of Government" for ICT-related matters. (to view Executive Order No. 269, click here). The CICT is headed by its chairman, Secretary Virgilio L. Peña.

My assignment is to head the group known as the "Strategic Business Development Group" (SBD) which essentially looks after the development of the private sector. There are three other groups in the CICT:

  • the e-Government Development Group, headed by Commissioner Timmy Diaz de Rivera,
  • the Information Infrastructure Development Group, headed by Commissioner Elberto Emphasis, and
  • the Human Capital Development Group, headed by Commissioner Emmanuel Lallana.

The SBD group envisions an ICT-enabled business environment that shapes and empowers the economic dreams and aspirations of the 21st century Filipino. Our mission is three-fold, as follows:

  • to develop a world-class cyberservices cluster (cyberservices are services delivered over the net, such as offshore transcription, call handling, and business process outsourcing)
  • to promote SME competitiveness through the use of ICT (the more SMEs using ICT, the more ICT jobs there will be), and
  • to strengthen the core segments of the ICT sector (hardware, software, telecomms, consulting, and systems integration).

In the process of achieving this vision/mission, we hope to achieve the milestone of generating 1 million ICT-related jobs in the Philippines by 2010! (or even earlier, if possible).

It's clearly a big, hairy, audacious goal. In order to achieve it, our group intends to develop (or to strengthen, if already present) certain market conditions that will allow the creation of these 1 million jobs. These conditions would include access to international markets, availability of human capital, appetite for financial investment, adequate telecomms infrastructure, appropriate regulatory measures, et cetera. We'll be working very closely with other government agencies such as DTI, DFA, DOLE, NEDA, and DOST and GFIs such as DBP and LBP.

Well that's enough for now, I should think. I'd appreciate some feedback on whether the stuff outlined above is easily digested, or needs further clarification.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be coming back with postings on our "flagship projects". These 5 flagship projects bring together 25 key initiatives that were identified in workshop-style consultations with various private sector groups. I look forward to getting comments, criticisms, and of course, suggestions.

(I'll also be posting sporadic reflections on what it's like to work in government after 20 years of working in the private sector. ;-)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Commissioner Damian Domingo O. Mapa was appointed to the Commission on Information and Communications Technology in September 2004. He heads the Strategic Business Development Group of the CICT.

Prior to being appointed to the CICT in September 2004, he spent 20 years in various companies in the private sector. His private sector career includes consulting assignments in the Philippines, the United States, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Kenya and Tanzania; leading and working on various projects such as business reengineering and systems implementation.

He began his career in 1984 at SGV & Co. He has served in the following companies:

  • Unisys Philippines, where he sat on the Management Board, and was Country Manager for the Financial Services Industry (2003-2004),
  • HatchAsia, where he was co-Founder and Managing Director (2000-2002),
  • Hewlett-Packard Philippines, where he sat on the Management Board and was Country Manager of the Professional Services Organization (1997-1999),
  • Arthur Andersen Business Consulting, where he was Business Consulting Director (1995-1997),
  • James Martin + Co. (now known as Headstrong), where he was a Director on the Asian Management Board (1992-1994), and
  • SyCip, Gorres, Velayo & Co.’s Management Services Division (1984-1992), where he was promoted 3 times in 4 years, and became the youngest manager of SGV & Co. at the age of 25 (the MS Division is now known as Accenture Philippines).

Commissioner Mapa has been involved in offshore services since 1986, when he was part of the team that established Accenture’s first global offshore center. What started as a 12-person operation in the Philippines, now has over 7,000 knowledge professionals servicing clients all over the world. His tenure included postings at Accenture’s global headquarters in Chicago, and Accenture’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Tokyo.

His exposure is not limited to large multinational companies. Commissioner Mapa is also a strong supporter of small and medium-scale enterprises. He has established two business incubators in the Philippines: HatchAsia, a technology business incubator located at the Bonifacio Globalcity, and Ateneo’s JG-SOMBA, the in-house business accelerator of the Ateneo de Manila University’s John Gokongwei School of Management.

He is a recognized industry leader and a popular speaker at many industry gatherings. He is a Past President of the Philippine Association for Open Computing (PASSOC), Past President of the Unix Users Club of the Philippines (UUCP), and the Founding Secretary of the IT Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP).

In 2005, he graduated from the 11th Strategic Information Management Program, a 3-week executive program conducted annually at the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada. He is a graduate of the Honors Program of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Bachelor of Science in Business Management. He attended high school at La Salle Greenhills, and grade school at St. Louis, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. He has taught Knowledge Management at the Graduate School of the University of Asia and the Pacific.


He is the father of Rafael (born 1989), Lirio (born 1991) and Christianne (born 1994). He is married to Cherry (since 1987), who is a teacher at the Manila Waldorf Upper School. He is an elected member of the Board of Trustees of Manila Waldorf School.

He serves at his parish as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and as a Sunday School teacher. Together with Cherry, he also serves as Lay Chaplain of the Discovery Weekend Foundation.

His hobbies are ethnic drumming, golf, and scuba diving. He is a certified Advanced Open Water Diver, and is involved with the Calatagan Artifical Reef Ecology (C.A.R.E.) Program.

last updated: 12 October 2005

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