Govt turfing ills ails one PH map

[Submitted by: Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter, to BusinessMirror December 2, 2010]

HAVING one national map helps evaluate natural resources –where these
are abundant and scarce, identify disaster prone areas, pinpoint human
and commodity traffic flow, and, generally, get to where one wants to
go by following a road network.
The Philippines doesn't enjoy these benefits because it has several
maps and mapping system relative to a government agency or unit.
"We're missing out on the social and economic development one national
map brings," former National Mapping and Resource Information
Authority (Namria) official Francisca N. Dayrit said.
Dayrit, who's now executive vice-president of Geodata Systems
Technologies Inc., a private company specializing on map creation and
management software, spoke to reporters Thursday or nearly a month
before a 2-day conference in Manila.
Dayrit credits the action on the leak at West Tower to the
availability of a map by the Makati City government, which she said is
a GSTI client.
"It [the drilling to locate the leaking pipe under a condominium] was
only delayed because of the elections and the purchase of more
sophisticated equipment. But because they have a map, the UP NIGS
people were able to bore a hole in a specific location."
She also cited the Manila Water Co.'s investment to have bode well for
the utility firm's move to cut non-revenue water loss from 67 percent
to just below 13 percent.
"They have maps where you can even see the meter."
Manila Water recently awarded a mapping provider for a P29-million
project in the Rizal province, according to persons involved in the
bidding. GTSI lost in the bid.
Other companies that benefited from having a basic map are those in
the fast-food delivery business and in logistics that help in managing
sales territory and identify customers and routes.
Dayrit noted that having one national map could also help spur
businesses like those in tourism and in global positioning system
(GPS) technology.
Likewise, having one cuts costs and generate revenue for government
because ten could buy just one basic map from government and each just
add their own layer relative to their core business like power and
water distribution, she added.
Dayrit added having one national map provides empirical data
especially during elections since data could show a specific number of
voters in very specific boundaries.
"A lot of information's disjointed. For example, I voted for my
barangay but I later found out in the tax mapping that I was giving to
the adjoining village."
Having one national map, she said, sets a standard that every entity
can follow and further develop.
"It can also spur people's participation because anyone can just draw
a map of their street or community and submit this to the barangay
whose officials will then consolidate the data, whether it contains
medical or health services, educational institutions' location, etc.,
and submit these to the municipal government and so on."
Citing Namria data, the Philippines needs 13,000 basic map sheets, 24
percent of which are urban areas.
But as of 2010, only 400 map sheets have been completed.
A mapsheet contains the basic information of streets, buildings, and
major utilities. Dayrit said one mapsheet can be accomplished within
two months.
Dayrit said the most important thing is to have a framework for
development; "one operating picture of where we are and where we want
to go."
However, she noted that government executives have to agree to work on
this common goal.
"They need to work together lest we really want our country to move forward."
To note, GSTI sells its products costing anywhere between P150,000 to
P4 million, some of which includes provision of training to buyer's

[Photo shows aerial view of Tomas Morato, Quezon City, Downloaded from]

Dinosaurs at Dinner

THE San Miguel Foundation for the Performing Arts was crooning about
being swayed ("Iduyan Mo") after I washed the grime my body collected
during the day.
Oh, what a day it was. The watch said it's already half-past one in
the morning and nerves continue to pump my fingers to the events that
unfolded Thursday and insights over a tall paper cup of coffee between
a fellow newspaper journalist covering the Securities and Exchange
Commission beat.
This is why citizen journalism would only work if they become like us:
eating, drinking, and breathing news even as the President sleeps,
alone or with somebody, again, our concern.
It's another Thursday evening of swapping the stories behind the
stories we tried successfully and unsuccessfully pinned down and
punched on our keyboards.
The harried waiter of Mang Inato amused to discover us sitting on the
same chairs in the same seating arrangement: our sponsor, Jeremaiah,
to the right of Philippine Star defense beat reporter Ace and who's
sitting directly across me, a general assignments reporter for the
BusinessMirror. To my left, again, Ruelle, a five-year veteran of
Malaya, the first mosquito press.
Raising a finger, Ace, who prefers this brightly-lit watering hole
beside a nightclub for the tweens, orders our common favourite:
deep-fried chicken skin. We know it's one of the reasons why voices
increase a decibel above the ordinary, but we ask for it anyway,
readying ourselves for the adrenaline rush the debates these dinners
These dinners began five years ago as a Dutch treat in a Quonset hut
beside the stair landing of the train station in Quezon Avenue and on
a square meter of land that is now part of a shopping mall. It began
with just fellow BusinessMirror reporter Villy and I, nursing a couple
of bottles of beer to evaluate the stories we filed during the day,
the public and private officials hunting us to either praise or
threaten us with lawsuits, and the juicy tidbits on key players in our
industry: the Philippine news media.
Others joined us and before long, the grilled pork barbeque haunt
became too small. Also, it had to give way to the construction of the
place its developers call Centris Shopping Complex.
Several bars in front of the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network replaced
that but Villy's luck, the bad side of it, rubbed off on these
establishments that closed or moved out.
Three years ago, we discovered DInoy's, a dimly-lit booze place beside
a Laundromat and gated apartment row along Scout Albano. We grew a
liking to the place because of the friendly treatment we got from the
waiters Eison and Bryan, who epitomized personalized service.
They knew who wanted the sizzling hotdog or Hungarian sausage (if
available) and how many cups of rice accompanied that order. They
already knew how many bottles of beer should be opened and to whom to
give it to. They tell us weeks ahead the days they'll be closed and
when they'll be opening. They introduced us to their mother, who cooks
one of the best tokwa't baboy Villy said he tasted.
Most of the times, they'd automatically lower the volume of their
speakers when all 12 journalists are there. Yes, there's now a dozen
journalists that were introduced to what we jokingly refer to as the
"Dinoy's Press Club."
While the range of topics grew far and wide, there was a simple rule:
anything said there should remain kept in the back of those who
listened and offered information.
Of course, there were breaches but the source of the leak was openly
chided, castigated and reminded that we have been trained to exercise
self-restraint, especially on information.
Last night, the topic was citizen journalism and how much information
journalists are duty-bound to reveal or keep from the public.
The consensus leaned on citizen reporting and that journalism is best
kept in the able hands of professionals. The bungled twitter entry of
a self-proclaimed eventologist connected to well-heeled sections of
Philippine society was used as basis.
Aside from ethics, those present last night –two are Jeremaiah's
students in the University of Sto. Tomas– noted the institutional
protection accorded to some journalists could not be enjoyed by
citizens and may put their and their family member's lives at risk.
"We are aware of the dangers of liberal application of rules as well
as the benefits of rigorous organization of facts. Let's not place
these additional burdens to the public," one of those at the dinner
In between poking fun at imbecile editors and our stupidity, talk also
goes to relationship, the absence or possibilities of it and with
other or the same gender.
But like all good things, the evening must end.
Like clockwork, Jeremaiah signals for the check and while we show
hands moving to get wallets, again he admonishes us.
"Having this on me is the least I can do for good journalism."
So we go back to our respective nests, with tired hearts because of
too much laughter or chicken skin but spirited enough to hunt
confidently for what keeps it pumping the next days: news and the
responsibility to share it with the Filipino people.
Oh, may I add: looking forward again to another Thursday to these
dinners where, borrowing from a line in Howard Kurtz's story
candor is the entrée.