Slowest internet: Why it matters and why we are falling behind


The recent effort to fan nostalgia for EDSA people power and to revive fears of martial law runs the danger of making people live in the past instead of facing the future.

That said, I believe the nostalgia and fear-mongering are useful and constructive because they could help our people, especially the younger generations, to develop a strong historical sense.

The 30-year period from 1986 -2016 marks not only a distinct part of our nation’s history – our progress or lack of progress since the fall of the Marcos regime to the present Aquino II regime. It coincides with a period of massive, strategic and decisive change in the world.

From the Cold War to globalization
The change is not so much in the explosion of people power revolutions across the world following our EDSA people power revolt, as strongman governments and communist dictatorships were swept away by the tide of democratic change. The change was so dramatic, it led one political scientist to speculate about “the end of history.”

But the change during this period represents more fundamentally a change in international systems. In the late 1980s a new international system called globalization came together and replaced the previous international system, the Cold War system, which had reigned since the end of World War II.

This is the lens from which we can more productively view our 30-year history from 1986 to 2016. It invests deeper meaning in all that has taken place.

The Cold War system was characterized by one overarching feature— and that was the division of the world into two power blocs – the Soviet bloc of Communist and socialist economies, and the Capitalist bloc led by the United States and Europe.

Globalization is the inexorable integration of markets, transport systems and communications systems to a degree never seen before in world history – in a way that enabled corporations, countries, and individuals to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever before, and also in a way that enabled the world to reach into corporations, countries and individuals farther, faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before.

If the overarching feature of the Cold War was division, the overarching feature of globalization is integration. The world has become an increasingly interwoven place.

If the most striking symbol of the Cold War was the Berlin Wall, the vivid symbol of globalization is the Internet or the Web. The Internet signifies that we are all connected.

Today, everyone is directly or indirectly affected by globalization, but not everyone — whether corporation, country or individual — benefits from it in the same way or to the same degree.

A nation of consumers, not producers
As a people and as a nation, we emerged from the Cold War into this new world of globalization unpreprared for its changes, challenges and opportunities because of our poor communications infrastructure and inward-looking mindset.

We have been doing catch-up ever since, but up to now we still haven‘t caught up. And now we face the dreadful prospect of falling farther left behind, behind even our Asean neighbors.

And we’re faltering through our own fault because we have spent more time on humbug than on productive effort.

We have focused on becoming a large nation of consumers, instead of developing a large nation of producers.

Restricting our focus for now on ICT development and policy, we find that the implacable reality of national failure is vividly encapsulized by three alarming facts:

1. We have the slowest and most expensive Internet in Asia and in Asean, a shortcoming that is more crushing than we realize.

2. There is no internet access in 80 percent of our public schools, thereby consigning millions of our children to a disadvantage vis-à-vis their counterparts in the world.

Meanwhile, our Asean neighbors have moved to incorporate the Massive Open Online course (MOOC) into their school curriculums. We still have to do the same.

3. We refuse to establish our own Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Our Asean neighbors have already moved into this phase.

Uneducated, poor and unconnected
It’s as if, during the term of President BS Aquno, we adopted a policy and strategy to keep our people backward, poor, and left behind. While the President and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima keep crowing that “Good governance is good economics,” our ICT policy tells the opposite.

Keeping our people uneducated, poor and unconnected is not a strategy; it is a crime.

We’re not investing in our people and our future.

We’re holding them back from a world of opportunity.

One expatriate friend says this is not just a disgrace. This means our next generation will be behind our neighbors in Asean. The Vietnamese today are already dreaming about having their own Silicon Valley in the near future.

Changes are happening in this new system and new world much faster than we are used to. The competition is tougher and relentless. Before we can enjoy any laurels, in the wink of an eye, progress can pass us by. A competitor can steal your market, another country can come up with a better invention, or other people will harness new technology and inventions more effectively than you can.

This is a time for transformational leaders and managers.

Until we infuse transformational change in national leadership and national culture, unless innovation becomes ingrained in our economy and in our DNA, we will be consigned to envying our neighbors their intrepidity, creativity, enterprise, and dynamism.

Coupling this with the evident primacy of oligarchs and political dynasts in our country, my foreign friend ruefully said that we are becoming “the Mexico of Asia.” That makes me wish we were “the sick man of Asia” instead.


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  1. that is the design of aquino n cohorts– to keep filipinos in the dark that he n cohorts will have maids forever- to maintain distinction beween d poor n d rich. they r very successful

  2. Manuel Lumbao on

    The attitude of public official is no less the same with the private sector. Missing loads continue to take place and the for prepaid subscribers of either Globe or Smart. I complained to smart last March 2015 that the load i paid dissappeared, immmediately their response to me sir kinain po ng surfing baka nakabukas ang net data nyo! How could they possibly know that immediately while conversing to me. I asked how much surfing can you do in 36hrs for the entire php350 load dissappear kahit walang tulugan? Silent! They went on to their search then after 20 min. the lady came back and told me na naubos ko daw sa data… So i said prove it in actual data print out…. I was later told someone will call within the day. A day a week no one callled… I called no response, so I text no response, until I said if you are not going to reply I will make sure NTC will get my story…. in 15min. I got a call from the person who attend to my complaint at shangrila mall. … believe me up to this date NOTHING! I think the thieves of loads are within the company and they must be high ranking to make this happen! This incident did not happen to me in over ones or twice but several times… And I know I not the only victim up to tis date… And I can tell mamamaga din ang katawan nila, magka-cancer sila or worst madadamay pamilya nila…. dahil sa nakaw sila nabubuhay!!! Enjoy na lang while it last ika nga!

  3. // Because Globe and Smart put pressure on the Government to block the merger it will now not go ahead. The Philippines has lost an opportunity for MUCH faster Internet speeds and also for thousands of jobs for Filipinos.!!!! //

    this is the proof that the gov’t favors really the rich and not the masses.

    Really the yellow Aquino cult’s mission is to make us suffer in order just to hate Marcos period

  4. I’ve had a chance of reviewing the old movie killing fields and some documentary about the hermit kingdom of North Korea. I suddenly realized that what a deceased professor once told me about the real ideology of ninoy aquino. He told me that since Aquino built his base from the peasants, he possessed a big similarity with pol pot, the ultra Maoist leader of the dreaded Khmer rouge. I am hoping that the present Kim Hong un we have now as president steps down peacefully after his term.

  5. The Australian Company , TELSTRA ,was negotiating with San Miguel to partner them to become the third major Telco in the Philippines. They wanted to invest $1.3 billion US. Because Globe and Smart put pressure on the Government to block the merger it will now not go ahead. The Philippines has lost an opportunity for MUCH faster Internet speeds and also for thousands of jobs for Filipinos.!!!!

    • tama po kayo na ang Smart at Globe put pressure sa ating mga politiko para di makapasok at maging kumpentinsiya nila ang Telstra kawawang mga pilipino

    • Ano pa asahan mo sa Aquino regime? This government is bowing all the time to its oligarchs partners to the detriment of the poor people.

  6. An unconnected nation makes an uninformed, uneducated nation. Much easier to buy the votes and suppress dissent that way.

    This Aquino government has managed to stymie free speech by doing absolutely nothing to improve it. We are already aware of their manipulation of every media form in the country.

    Recall back during Aquinos’ campaign and the heavy use of posters and billboards of starving children and poverty…. those pictures are still live and more plentiful today.

  7. Rodrigo R. Matabaran on

    Why do you think the national government did not put much emphasis in ICT development? Is it just due to the lack of appreciation of the significance of ICT in the over all progress of our country, or is it because these current policies are influenced by industry players for their advantage and benefits to the detriment of the public in general? Being the country with the second slowest internet in Asia, we really are far behind even among our ASEAN neighbors. I hope you can expound more on this particularly issue…

  8. I’m an Internet subscriber because it’s the IN thing to do if one wants to keep abreast with what’s going on around us. But now I’m contemplating of going back to printed newspapers. I think I’m losing a few seconds of my life every time I use the Internet because of KUNSUMISYON.

  9. taga palm springs on

    As this government is going down, they also want the Filipino people to go down with them! Sad Scenario of a vendetta-powered Aquino government!