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Singapore, Philippines Strengthen Infocomm Development Ties

The strengthening ties between Singapore and the Philippines received a boost over the weekend with the official visit of Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

During her visit, the president witnessed the signing of three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) aimed at promoting cooperation in the field of infocomm technology between the two Southeast Asian countries.

Said IDA chairman Lam Chuan Leong, "We hope that these collaborations will allow both countries to tap on each other's capabilities and experiences to further spur infocomm developments and innovations in the region.

"The Philippines has long been a strategic partner for Singapore in the infocomm technology area and the warm ties we share - at the government, industry and academia levels - were evident today. The agreements signed today will help position Asia as a leading infocomm nucleus both in the region and the world."

The MoUs covered a range of agreements, which include:

* Policy and regulation cooperation in infocommunication technology
* Cooperation in certification of IT professionals
* Philippines-Singapore-Sun technology collaboration

The first MoU on policy regulation and cooperation at the government level was signed by IDA and the Philippines' National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection (BTRCP).

The NTC, which is under the administrative supervision of the country's Department of Transportation and Communication, exercises jurisdiction over the supervision, adjudication and control of all telecom services throughout the Philippines; while the BTRCP fosters a business environment conducive to sustaining industrial growth and development by proactively linking consumers, business and other government agencies.

According to an IDA statement, the first MoU expresses the intent of both countries "to hold regular dialog on regulatory issues of interest to both parties," which include managing competition in a liberalized market, Internet and e-commerce issues - such as infocomm security and data protection - and organizational and management structures for infocomm regulators.

Singapore and the Philippines will also cooperate to certify IT professionals in a second agreement signed by the Singapore Computer Society (SCS), National Infocomm Competency Center (NICC), the National University of Singapore's Institute of Systems Science (ISS), and the Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP).

The four parties will work together to introduce the Certified IT Project Manager (CITPM) certification program to the Philippines. SCS and ITFP will form a project team to collaborate on the implementation of the second MoU.

Launched in 1998 by the IDA and SCS, CITPM is the first IT project management certification to be offered in Singapore and is said to possibly be the first in the world as well. CITPM has been endorsed by the South East Asia Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC) under the SEARCC IT Certification Endorsement Scheme since the year 2000.

And to support the development of Java competency in the Philippines, a third MoU was signed by Mapua Institute of Technology/iPeople, Inc., the ASP Center of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Sun Microsystems and the University of the Philippines.

With this MoU, Java Business Resource Centers (JBRCs) will be established through Sun's Java Industry Development Program. The centers support the IT industry in the Philippines to adopt Java technology and to nurture local industries to develop innovative Java-based products, applications and services.

Java Education Centers (JECs) will also be set up under the Java Manpower Development Program to incorporate Java courses into the curricula of academic and training institutions.

NTU's ASP Center will provide technical consultancy and training in areas such as ASP services, audit services for architecture, and service-level certification via the SunTone Certifications and Branding Program to the JBRCs and JECs. The ASP Center will also provide an avenue for research collaboration and business partnerships on ASP-related activities, according to the IDA statement.