Editorial: Growing internet users in Philippines

The number of Internet users in the Philippines is expected to grow this year to 41 million from 33 million in 2013, based on trends. A report by search engine Google, citing Internet World Statistics, showed the Philippines is the second top Internet user in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia; sixth in Asia and 17th in the world.

Google set up an office in the Philippines in 2013 to help local business grow, and to develop a range of products and services specifically suited for the Philippine market. The Philippines is a key country in Southeast Asia with its digital economy and technology-savvy population, it noted, with 106 million subscribers, representing a mobile penetration rate of 111%, while two-thirds of mobile users possess Internet-enabled devices.

The Southeast Asia Digital Future in Focus 2013 report by comScore, an Internet analytics company, said the Philippines has second highest Facebook penetration rate in the world at 92.2%, next to Brazil. Most online users in Southeast Asia’s emerging Internet markets are under the age of 35, and the largest share of personal computing time in the region is spent on social networking, comScore said. In the Philippines, 71% of the Internet audience is between the ages of 15 and 34 and 41.5% of the total minutes users spend online is on social networks. A survey showed that five of seven Internet users said they connect to the Internet to check Facebook, Twitter, and update status.

Never before have Filipinos been a tech-savvy as they are today, and this is partly attributed to the country’s school curriculum, in both public and private, which has a computer literacy component, from elementary to college level. High-tech gadgets are easily available in the country. Government online portals disseminate data and information effectively to researchers and students who need them most. The United Nations International Telecommunications Union said more Filipinos are turning to the Internet to nourish relationships and build networks, read news and information, view video, buy products, and transact business.

The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabañes, Directors, Officers and Employees, congratulate the Department of Science and Technology headed by Secretary Mario G. Montejo and DOST-Information and Communications Technology Office Executive Director Louis C. Casambre, and other Officers, in their joint efforts in bringing the benefit of information and communications technology to the majority of the population, especially to Filipino young people and small entrepreneurs in rural communities, in our Republic of the Philippines. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!