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01 April 2012

PNoy speech at the inauguration of the Hewlett-Packard Executive Briefing Center

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the inauguration of the Hewlett-Packard Executive Briefing Center
[Delivered at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, on March 29, 2012]
Secretary Greg Domingo; Mister Brian Humphries; Mister Ryan Guadalquiver; Mister Emmanuel Mendoza; of course, Doctor Andrew Tan; executives and employees of Hewlett-Packard Company; fellow workers in government; honored guests; ladies and gentlemen:
Good morning.
We are indeed living in a rapidly evolving world. The advent of new technologies and the World Wide Web has permanently transformed the way human society works. We look at the Arab Spring; and we see that the gatherings there were organized much more quickly than before through mobile phones or social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. People around the globe were kept up-to-date on the most current developments not only by news channels, but also by YouTube eyewitness videos uploaded in real time. Gone are the days when citizens had to sit patiently by a radio, eagerly awaiting news from friendly voices. Today, people have the capacity to communicate almost instantly—and more freely than ever before.
But apart from organizing these movements and facilitating access to information, it is equally vital that every sector of society maximizes these advancements in communications technology to make progress on other important fronts. As it becomes increasingly harder to draw a line between virtual reality and actual reality, we are likewise increasingly able to do things that were previously thought of as impossible.
The Department of Health—or our Department of Health—is one example. Together with the Department of Science and Technology, they have used developments in I.T. to give basic diagnoses to children in far-flung provinces. No longer do families have to travel for hours, sometimes days, for one of their members to receive medical attention. The National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council has also tapped into modern developments, using cellphones to detect water levels in flood-prone areas and to warn residents of impending floods.
This event continues the positive trend of making each sector of society more efficient through new and emerging technologies. The Executive Briefing Center and the Mission Control Center you are inaugurating today are both critical pathways towards optimizing your company’s performance. It will be easier now for executives and personnel here to communicate with their counterparts overseas; and none of them have to be too tired, or too affected by jetlag to engage in actual, productive discussions. Perhaps even the next time I speak here at HP—assuming I get invited again [laughter]—it can be done through this Executive Briefing Center, and to an audience thousands of miles away.
I am also told that this Mission Control Center, which is meant to gather, monitor, and report on data and to enhance collaboration among HP delivery centers, is the only establishment of its kind in the world that HP has. This speaks volumes. HSBC has predicted that the Philippines will be the 16th largest economy in the world by the year 2050, and the World Economic Forum has bumped us up ten places to 75th in their latest competitiveness rankings. HP’s expansion, and their establishment of a first-of-its-kind facility here, proves further just how much confidence the global community has in our country.
More than that, these developments show that this company believes not just in the potential of our country, but also in the competence of our workforce. And it shows that just as our administration has not forgotten its mandate to serve our bosses, HP has likewise stayed faithful to the word that has gotten it to where it stands today—which is “Invent.”
HP’s knack for invention makes for a perfect marriage with the Filipino workforce. Whatever job you give them, our countrymen will always find a way to make their work more efficient, to solve problems in the best possible way, and to do it all with smiles on their faces. This, coupled with the fact that our people are very tech-savvy, makes most of our countrymen highly employable. I believe our people can, and are already, playing a major role not just in improving your company’s bottom line, but also in strengthening your corporate culture. Perhaps this is why HP claims to have almost doubled the number of Filipinos in their work force since September 2010. For that, I would like extend my deepest gratitude to Hewlett-Packard. I am also hopeful that Senior Vice-President Brian Humphries and his colleagues will keep finding new reasons to keep coming back here and use the facilities we are inaugurating. Perhaps in the future, you will consider expanding even more in our country and hiring more of our people.
I assure all of you today: our government will make certain that Hewlett-Packard—and other companies big and small—will continue to find a stable and predictable business environment in the Philippines, as well as talented and capable employees. We want companies like HP, who always seek to innovate, to stay here for the long haul; and we are doing everything we can to do just that—to foster a level playing field, and to offer viable and mutually beneficial business propositions.
Our administration is giving very competitive fiscal incentives for investing here—whether it is to start a business, or to expand an existing one. I also know that HP also runs a BPO facility here; and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has been conducting a number of programs to populate our IT-BPO industry with highly skilled workers, most prominent among them the Training for Work Scholarship Program. We allotted 520 million pesos to this program in 2011 to train 67,000 potential workers; and I am told the Business Processing Association of the Philippines has committed to hiring at least 70 percent of these trainees. And perhaps some of them will eventually find their way to working for a distinguished global company like yours.
As these facilities start working in full gear in the coming weeks and months, may they always stand as monuments to progress—as symbols of our capacity as humans to invent and to innovate so as to move closer towards the success that we all seek. And to the Filipinos who will be working here: let us continue to prove to companies like HP that they made the right decision in investing here. Our country has always had the potential and the wherewithal to compete with and out-invent other countries. Now that the world is beginning to open its eyes to just how much success this country can achieve for itself and its partners, it is even more important for us to go to work each and every day, and put in our efforts—no matter how small—as individual contributions towards the greater task of rebuilding our nation.
And before I end, I can’t help but imagine while looking at the capabilities of this Mission Center exactly how it dovetails to what we need. We are a country of 95 million people. I guess we have 95 million bosses that will have to be attended to every day.
Let me give you a specific example.
In January, we increased or we had a record over 400 thousand number of tourist arrivals. This is the first time that we have ever broken this. We get about three million tourists every year. Four hundred thousand per month—and I’m told that the first half of the year is not where the peak comes in, it’s in the second half—translates to 4.8 million tourists arrivals for this particular year. And of course, Doctor Andrew Tan is smiling because he has a lot of hotels also. [Laughter] But the point being, when we started our administration, the common figure or the figure on average that we get as tourist arrivals is just three million. So we are actually on target to reach the ten-million figure by the time we get to the end of our term in 2016. Now, a lot of infrastructure, a lot of traffic that has to be moved efficiently, a lot of even opportunities in our agricultural sector, wherein we really link the producers of all of the produce with the potential markets in real time, is so essential.
Bottom line is this: We need good information to make the right decisions. There are more and more quantities of information that have to be absorbed in quicker and faster moments. And sometimes, it does get difficult when you have to link up to the net by Wi-Fi and it’s crowded and so on and so forth—and I’m sure you know that better than I do. But one can really see the potential of how we will be able to govern better, because information will be delivered correctly, timely, and devoid, perhaps, of human emotions at times, especially when it comes to disasters. When it’s a disaster you get a report of people panicking. Normally it is exaggerated to the nth degree and there is a potential to misdirect resources and capabilities. Just looking at the monitoring of the traffic in, I understand, the state of California. And if we had the similar facilities linking to various CCTV cameras then perhaps we would be able to deliver what our people need at a better time and in sufficient quantities—and not just most of the time, but all of the time.
Thank you. Good day.

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