Christmas has come early for Philippine Bitcoin remittance service Rebit.ph. Rebit, one of the verticals under Bitcoin umbrella company Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), has booked an average 150 percent growth in value of transactions month-on-month since October. That’s a big jump from the usual 80 percent growth it registered during the first few months from its launch in July. The reason for the spike is obvious: remittances from overseas Filipinos usually peak in the run-up to Christmas because of holiday spending, and Rebit has been able to capture a portion of that market.
When you sell “unlimited” data plans and put speed limits on them, there’s something seriously wrong. The Philippines’ Justice department told mobile operators this in an advisory today, warning them of penalties for throttling supposedly unlimited data plans when subscribers use the internet too much. The practice of throttling or reducing internet speeds makes it difficult to perform tasks like navigating using GPS or watching a video.
Filipinos subscribed to Smart Telecommunications no longer have to go digging for their credit cards when buying that hit game or app for their Android phones. Smart, the leading mobile operator in the Philippines, announced today its customers may now make app and in-app purchases in Google Play by charging directly to their bills or deducting from available prepaid credit. The company commissioned an NTT Docomo subsidiary, net mobile AG, to implement the direct carrier billing.
HERNDON, Va. — VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a company of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), today announced that leading Philippine telecommunications service provider, Globe Telecom will leverage iDirect’s Evolution platform coupled with its X3 remote to offer corporate clients robust, flexible, and high speed connectivity that can meet their critical business needs and allow them to widen their reach in the Philippines.
Nearly five months after the initial tie-up in Singapore, today WeChat and EasyTaxi announced that its partnership is rolling out to Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Starting today, WeChat users in those three countries can flag a taxi inside the messaging app. People can do this by adding EasyTaxi’s official WeChat account inside the chat app (Malaysia: easytaximy; Thailand: EasyTaxiThailand; the Philippines: EasyTaxi_PH).
The Philippines weather agency’s prediction models are telling them that the country might see a cyclone before the end of the month. This time, though, residents will be getting real-time alerts via Google’s search engine and maps. The Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has partnered with Google’s Public Alerts service to issue alerts for tropical cyclones forming in its area of jurisdiction. FutureGov spoke with Resly George Amador, a member of PAGASA’s technical group on public alerts to find out more.
Researchers are using drones in Malaysia and the Philippines to track the environmental changes which allow malaria to flourish. Deforestation creates conditions that allow the easy spread of infectious diseases, and also indicate greater human activity. By using drones to track this, scientists can model the spread of a disease, estimate its likely impact and create early warning systems, according to a new scientific paper published this month by a team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
This week’s open dataset of the week is: Budget data from the Philippines. This is a popularly used dataset in the country, and data.gov.ph features a number of infographics and apps using the data. Budget data is useful for citizens, businesses and public agencies to see how their government is prioritising its spending. The data could be also combined with location data to see how money is allocated across a map or could be viewed by sector to see which economic or social problems the government is spending on.
Has the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch left you drooling over your screen, waiting for the new phones to hit Philippine stores? We’ve got some good news: the wait will only be a few more days. Philippine carriers Smart Communications and Globe Telecom will release the latest iPhones for postpaid plans on November 14, according to reports citing statements from both companies. Subscribers may “register their interest” in the new phones now on Smart’s and Globe’s sites.
More weather tracking and forecasting tools are leading to fewer casualties and less property damage in the Philippines, according to the Department of Science and Technology. The government is monitoring all 258 rivers in the country for signs of flooding, said Raymund Liboro, Assistant Secretary of the Department. This is part of the nationwide project – National Operational Assessment of Hazards – set up in 2012 to better prepare for rain-triggered natural hazards, such as typhoons.
Let’s admit it: part of the fun in following the Bitcoin world is not really knowing where it will go. A cryptocurrency has never reached the scale that Bitcoin appears to be getting now, so we have no benchmark with which to predict its progress. This idea holds especially true for how Bitcoin will affect developing countries like the Philippines, where it has been hailed as a solution for expensive remittance fees – but, on the other hand, some dismiss it as a technology too complex for the masses.
The Philippine government is introducing wireless internet connectivity to 600 more remote areas by next year using unassigned television frequencies. This is part of the Department of Science and Technology’s nationwide project to improve internet connectivity, so that citizens can benefit from e-government services in the long run, Undersecretary Louis Casambre told FutureGov in a separate interview.
Citizens in Metro Manila, the Philippines, can now authenticate their documents at satellite offices in four malls across the city, the Department of Foreign Affairs has announced. Previously, citizens needing an official stamp had to visit the consular office. Now, the same service is made available at malls from Monday to Saturday.
To support its open data initiative, the government needs “an effective platform for the management of environmental information that the public can use with greater efficiency,” said Analiza Teh, Undersecretary, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The government currently uses several systems both for monitoring and managing data internally, as well as publishing information and applications for citizens and businesses, said Bresilda Gervacio, Human Resource Development and Information Systems Assistant Secretary.
The Philippines’ initiative to engagement citizens in deciding National Budget priorities has been ranked the best in Asia by the Open Government Partnership. The Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Programme (GPBP) encourages local communities and civil society organisations to work with local governments in proposing priorities for the National Budget. The initiative was ranked third overall and was the only one from Asia included in the top 10 ranking by Open Government Partnership.
The Philippine Department of Justice has two approaches to enterprise mobility: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporate Owned, Personally-Enabled (COPE). Geronimo Sy (pictured), Assistant Secretary and CIO speaks to FutureGov about why enterprise mobility has become more important and the benefits of these approaches. Cost savings is one of the main reasons for implementing BYOD, says Sy. “This approach cuts device and carrier costs by allowing employees to bring their own device. It reduces the need for company-owned devices.”
The Philippines is integrating open data provisions into the draft Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, the Open Data Philippines team has announced, to bridge gaps in demand and supply of information. The team was tasked with coming up with a plan to integrate its open data activities and the bill. “This collaboration has now borne fruit, with the proposed bill containing some provisions recommended by the [Open Data] Task Force,” the team wrote in a blog post this week.
The next big thing in business is actually quite small. Like many countries in the region, the Philippines sees startups as a key part of its economic future. By the end of 2016, its key IT agency wants to have 50 local startups based in the country with a minimum annual revenue of US$230,000. The recent Philippines Startup Report suggested that the country has “great potential” to become a startup hub in the region because of its fast growth, low operating costs, minimal competition and large English speaking population.
Australia’s public service union has kicked up a stink over a proposal being assessed by the Tax Office that would see its application development and testing sent to the Philippines. The ATO has confirmed that it is thinking about handing its test and dev functions to Accenture, which already undertakes hundreds of millions of dollars worth of IT work for the agency. Under the deal, the work would be supported out of Accenture’s Philippines-based delivery centre.
It’s big news when a major corporation or non-profit, such as Wikipedia, starts accepting Bitcoin . A number of people want to have more places to spend their bitcoins. So Tech in Asia spoke with entrepreneurs in the Philippine Bitcoin space on what companies they would like to see accept the cryptocurrency. There were no restrictions placed on the people we surveyed – they could name an international company with a strong Philippine presence, or a local brand.