Auza.Net Starts Summer 2017 OJT Program

By: Jerome Auza

It has become a tradition of Auza.Net to accommodate as many on-the-job trainees as we could fit in our small office. This year, we have selected eight students who are graduating in the next school year to undergo our summer OJT program.  Our projects include data processing and automation of mass data input.  Some of the students will explore the use of Arduino and embedded systems for building security and monitoring applications.  They will also learn about website development and will be involved in commercial projects.

They will also be involved in a small structured cabling project at the Auza.Net office.

The OJT program we conduct exposes the students to real world application of technology.  It also gives them a gentle introduction into the world of business.  Aside from learning technical skills, Auza.Net will also introduce business and leadership training this year.  We believe that these students would benefit from the business knowledge they will gain.  They will also learn to be leaders develop themselves to take on leadership positions when they get employed or start their own businesses.

The eight qualified trainees are BS Computer Engineering and BS Computer Science students selected from a fairly large number of applications.

We will publish their progress on their projects towards the end of the OJT program.  Auza.Net has successfully launched commercial projects where trainees were involved in the development, testing and deployment.  Among the notable projects are the DYRD-AM Worldwide Broadcast, the PPCRV-Bohol Online Election Data Audit System, Bohol News Daily and the PRC Passers websites.


A Discourse
SB Member, Antequera, Bohol

Much has been said of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol on October 15, 2013 but so far, no clear explanation or much of an analysis has been brought forth as regards the origin, nature and extent of the tectonic activity that resulted to such an erratic earth movement that occurred beneath the central part of Bohol. It seems the Phivolcs itself was puzzled as to the type of earthquake that happened that it could not give a satisfactory description and analysis of the phenomenon. Accordingly, the said earthquake was not of the normally occurring type of earth disturbance that was of tectonic origin. It was a unique type that must have happened only in Bohol. Phivolcs could not even give an accurate analysis because they were puzzled on why such a phenomenon happened which defied accepted standards. Of course they were silent on such a matter to which they could hardly give an explanation.
The experts were surprised why there were many fault lines practically radiating from the Carmen-Sagbayan area going outwards in different directions towards the periphery of the western half of Bohol island. This is not of the usual type where a single fault line would move and only the areas near it or within its range would be affected. Here, it was different, there were highly visible separate lines of destruction coupled with huge, sometimes deep linear ground cracks radiating from the central part of the island towards the coastal towns of the south-western portion. There was a long fault line identified by men from Phivolcs which radiated towards Inabanga-Clarin area. Another line radiated towards San Isidro town and towards Tubigon. Also identified was a line of destruction going towards Loon-Calape area, another fault line was prominently noticed going from Sagbayan towards Catigbi-an, then Balilihan and then Antequera going to Maribojoc via the Abatan bridge area, making its exit to the sea and possibly towards the island of Cebu. There was also another line which traversed through Cortes town and still another through a part of Tagbilaran City. There was also a fault line which had its exit in Loay and Albur area after traversing through Batuan, Bilar and Loboc.
Accordingly, the epicenter of the earthquake was some 8 kms. deep below the Carmen-Sagbayan area and the destruction radiated in different directions towards the periphery of the south western part of the island. This is the Bohol Fault, a unique type of fault which is now the subject of intense study by experts in the field. The Bohol Fault which has its center of origin below the Carmen-Sagbayan area is seemingly like a cobweb which, if its center is disturbed, energy radiates outwards in all directions towards the periphery. It is also similar to what happens when a stone is thrown towards the glass window of a car. From the point of impact, the damage radiates in all directions towards the periphery. However, in the 2013 earthquake, only the western part of Bohol was badly affected while in the 1994 Bohol earthquake, the other half of the island, the eastern part, was the portion severely affected. That’s how unique the Bohol Fault is, as far as this point of view is concerned. Any other analysis is most welcome.


What is happening to Philippine Media?

By: Jerome Auza

President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to the ASEAN Summit in Laos had Philippine and international media buzzing with controversial reports. The president held a press conference just before leaving for Laos and uttered inappropriate words that were interpreted as directed towards US President Barack Obama. While the cursing really happened, the interpretations as to whom it was directed to seemed to be deliberately reported in a way that will pin down President Duterte.

The good thing nowadays is that we can easily verify news reports online by looking at unedited video footage released by the presidential communications office and other sources. There are really glaring inaccuracies with many reports in the past several weeks when I have been following various topics in the news.

Just during the week of the ASEAN summit, we saw the following headlines:

From ABS-CBN: “Duterte calls Obama a ‘son of a w****'”. But if you review the video, the Tagalog cursing context was not interpreted correctly, even if the writers were obviously Filipinos. It was a theoretical scenario because the question is what if he is lectured about extra judicial killings. This could be a long winded argument between supporters of Duterte and his detractors. At any rate, saying curse words is inappropriate. But writing a headline to turn a hypothetical scenario into a fact is misleading. The headline should have been “Duterte threatens to curse Obama if lectured on EJK”, because that was his statement was “mumurahin kita diyan sa forum” which was a threat but it hasn’t occured yet. But the writers took the curse word (PI) before that phrase as the actual curse and made it appear as a fact.

As the ASEAN summit was on-going, another obviously incorrect headline by Inquirer “Metro Manila traffic just a ‘state of mind'” was attributed to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. However, if you read the content of the news, what he said was “the prevailing Filipino psyche of using traffic as an excuse must be changed. That kind of state of mind that automatically uses traffic as an excuse, unnecessarily adds to the problem of traffic.”

My recent favorite is this headline from ABS-CBN: ‘No Duterte-Obama handshake at East Asia Summit’. The headlines from Reuters said “Duterte, Obama shake hands and chat after rift over insult”. The Washinton Post also said “Obama: ‘I did shake hands with President Duterte'” with a video showing Obama really saying that statement. What’s going on here?

Add to this situation the proliferation of satirical and false news websites and you get a confused and often misled readers.

How can we rely on media to be the source of truth with this habit of inaccuracies? Are these deliberate efforts to bring down some people? Honest mistakes? Plain incompetence? Or are these just techniques to entice people to click on the headlines to read the articles and gain advertising mileage?

Fortunately, social media can provide some verification and it is actually easy to spot inaccurate news by reading multiple sources about that topic. However, if you have to read multiple sources about a news report to get an accurate picture, that wastes a lot of your time. Currently, I keep a skeptic attitude about any news, especially on the national level. Maybe you should too.

Digital Bohol – An Idea That Is Finally Ready

By: Jerome Auza

When I first came back to Bohol in 2005 after an exciting career in the semiconductor industry in Cavite, one of the things I had in mind was the concept of a “digital Bohol” where information about the places, events, business entities, tourist and historical sites, etc are put together in an easy to use portal. Products and services of businesses in Bohol would be available for purchase online. Supplier-buyer matching can be done on the same portal also.

It was an idea though, that was too advanced at that time.

In 2013, I started to conceptualize a mobile app called Bohol.Info which built on the idea of digital Bohol and bringing the information on mobile devices. We managed to complete a prototype of the app in 2014 and even put it for download on the iOS and Android devices. It was soft launched during the Sandugo Trade Fair in 2014.

Again, it was an idea that was not yet ready at that time.

So it was a happy moment for me when during one of the meetings I attended as a board of trustee of the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Vice Chairperson of the Bohol ICT council, the idea of a digital Bohol was brought up. I had a big smile on my face and told myself, “Maybe the old ideas are now ready for prime time.”

Watch out for more updates about Digital Bohol in the coming weeks as the idea will be discussed with the various stakeholders in ICT, tourism and business sector as well as the academe and government agencies. Auza.Net will play a big role in this idea.

Bohol Hosts International Conferences in 2016

By: Jerome Auza

Bohol will be in the international limelight this year because it will be hosting two technology conferences later this month and another one in October. On August 25-26, the tech startup, technology and design conference called Geeks on a Beach or GOAB will be held at the Bellevue Resort in Panglao, Bohol. A few days before the GOAB, another technology conference called TechStars will also be held at the same venue on August 22-23. TechStars, though, is a private event and is by invitation only.

Then in October, the OCEAN16 (Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions) Summit, a bi-annual gathering in the Philippines that brings together leaders across sectors to connect, discover new ideas, and shape the Philippine future together. OCEAN16 will be held at the Be Grand Resort in Panglao, Bohol on October 21-23.

Indeed, Bohol is on the radar screens of the international technology and startup community and this is a great opportunity for all stakeholders in Bohol. These conferences will not only bring tourism related revenue but also open up various possibilities in the ICT/BPO sector, real estate investments and other business initiatives. Venture capitalists, investors, CEOs, government officials, business leaders, innovators and designers are coming together in the province so both the private and public sectors should be on the lookout for business opportunities.

Representatives from the various sectors in business, government, academe and private sector should be sent by their respective offices to these conferences. The conference fees are pricier than the usual seminars held in the province but because there is no need to travel and get hotel accommodations for the local attendees, this is an opportunity to spend much lesser compared to when the representatives have to travel to another city to attend similar conferences.

As a province, let us all be ready to network with the international startup and technology community and spot opportunities to generate business activity and jobs in Bohol. Who knows, the next big success story might be made in Bohol.

Democracy, a struggle towards real liberation

by Jose Conrado A. Estafia

Election time is over; we move on as a people. There is so much life ahead. Let us move forward. The result, especially in the local level, may still be disappointing, but that is all we have for now. I know it has been difficult and disheartening to those who worked hard to campaign NO TO VOTE BUYING. The problem appears that it is not just about Vote Buying. The problem is so deep that there is yet no simple solution available for us. Our efforts may be wanting, but let us not be discouraged. The fight only begins. I commend the efforts of the Diocese of Talibon, my diocese, to have arduously campaigned against the culture of vote buying. We continue aspiring for change, hoping that one day the Philippine Election may not only be an exercise of democracy but also an expression of human dignity – something money cannot buy and bullets cannot scare.
We believe that election is a democratic exercise, but we fail to ask first what we mean by democracy. Let me share with you a very important political theory I read a few years ago by the French philosopher Jacques Maritain. He outlined this theory in his book Man and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1951). This book is a compilation of a nine-lecture talk delivered in the United States in the Fall of 1938. But since we have a limited space, I will try my best to be brief, with the hope that this can help us analyze where we are as a country and how matured our political life is.
Jacques Maritain defines democracy as a representation of man’s (being a rational animal) highest achievement here below or here on earth (Man and State, p. 59). He champions what he calls the “democratic faith.” True humanism can only happen when one supplants anthropocentric humanism (meaning, the center is man) by theocentric humanism (meaning, the center is God). He also calls this as “democratic charter.” The principal elements of this charter are the following: freedom, the recognition of the full range of rights by all parties concerned, representative government, fraternal charity, and the acknowledgment of the unquestionable supremacy of the moral law. [You may judge if these principal elements of a democratic faith are found in our country or if they are, are they not only in paper?] It is then the conviction of Maritain that democracy finds its roots in Christianity. Democracy is intrinsically rational and this is what impressed Maritain. Politics can only be moral and rational if it is democratic, because democracy can rationally organize human freedom which is founded upon law. Democracy will only survive if what sustains and nurtures it is democratic faith. This faith is not instant. In other words, democracy does not automatically emerge in a people but it must be taught to them from a young age. This is the reason why education is important to establish a democratic society. Our democracy then is not yet true when most of our people are uneducated. That is perhaps the reason why many of us are prone to be manipulated. Maritain even believes that any form of government will do as long as the people are living effectively the democratic faith. He means that any form of government will do as long as it be representative. Sometimes I wonder whether our Congress really represents our people.
Maritain believes that only a fully conscious human person can live up to the democratic faith. That is why for Maritain, democracy and personalism are closely related. Democratic faith can be practically expressed only when the people living in the society are aware of themselves as persons. This may sound ideal for Maritain, but this is what we should aspire. Real democracy is not yet truly in place and perhaps not yet fully implemented in the past. Our country, in my opinion, is yet far from having a real democracy. It is still a long, long way to go.
Most states claim to be democratic but in most cases, according to Maritain, these are democracies of the individual and not of the person and simply a product of bourgeois liberalism. In a simple term, it is a democracy controlled by the ruling elite. See the people who are ruling our country for ages. See the members of the ruling elite winning during elections. See the many political dynasties all over the country. Maritain further claims that “it is through a sound philosophy of the person that the genuine, vital principle of a new Democracy, and at the same time a new Christian civilization, can be rediscovered” (Maritain, Scholasticism and Politics [Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1960, 7]). This kind of democracy and humanism can only come from a “theocentric inspiration” (ibid., 85-86).
Moreover, Maritain mentions that in democracy pluralism exists. He writes: “Thus it is that men possessing quite different, even opposite metaphysical or religious outlooks, can converge, not by any identity of doctrine, but by virtue of an analogical similitude in practical principles, toward the same practical conclusions, and can share in the same practical faith, provided that they similarly revere, perhaps for quite different reasons, truth and intelligence, human dignity, freedom, brotherly love, and the absolute value of the moral good” (Man and State, p. 111).
Indeed, we live in a very pluralistic society, and we observe this in our country. Look at the way we treat many important issues in our country, we are very divided. But for Maritain a pluralistic society can always transcend religious and philosophical differences and come to agree some fundamental truths which govern human conduct. One principle of pluralism, which is also a very important principle in the Catholic Social Teaching, is the principle of subsidiarity. This principle means that whatever task that a smaller unit of society can do, for instance by the family or by a smaller sector in the society, should never be undertaken by a larger unit, for example by the State. I have said at the outset that many politicians, with due respect to them, we have elected are a disappointment to us, but we don’t have any choice for now. We just learn to deal with them. We just apply the principle of subsidiarity that whatever we can do from below as a people then we do it now. Nation building does not really depend solely on our leaders. Let us not just simply leave our fate to our leaders or else we will be going nowhere. The State which consists of our political leaders is there at the uppermost part of the Nation. But nation building should always come from below, from the majority of the people. We are the majority. We have the power to change our country. What is needed most is education. Following Maritain, it is only when we are fully conscious of ourselves as persons that we can live in a truly democratic society. This has always been my position that the exercise of democracy does not only happen during election period. It is indeed a lifelong aspiration, a day to day struggle towards real liberation.

Since I left my book in the Philippines, for my quotations of Maritain’s text, I give credit to this article by D.Q. McInerny, “The Social Thought of Jacques Maritain,” The Catholic Social Science Review 12 (2007): pp. 162-164 [can be accessed online at].)

The author is a priest of the Diocese of Talibon. He is presently in Vienna, Austria pursuing his further studies at the University of Vienna.