||The books published by this company are similar to a practice in college where sometimes students will pass around or even sell notes taken in class to people who may have missed class or otherwise need to review what the lecture was about. Such student notes can sometimes be sloppy and require careful correcting from the person who is trying to figure out what was lectured on in the class they missed. These books have errors which can seem like they were made by an inexperienced first-semester college freshman taking notes with no experience. On the plus side a critical examination of the book can help one to find out more. But on the negative side the sloppiness has to be kept in mind always when reading.
A very common form of typo in these volumes is to state what is clearly the wrong year. The reader is then forced to cross-check things himself and make an independent correction. I'm looking here at the 2013 edition of Philippines: Business Intelligence Report, Volume 1: Strategic Information and Opportunities (BIR). For comparison I also have before me the 2014 edition of Philippines: Investment and Business Guide, Volume 1: Strategic and Practical Information (IBG).
On page 76 of BIR we read:
"For 2004, it appears that there will be little or no growth in exports... The new Macapagal Arroyo government..."
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took office in 2001 so this sounds a bit off. On the next page of BIR we read
"The stock market remains moribund ,,, closing the first semester of 2004 ... down from the end of 2000. In addition, most observers have revised ... predictions for 2004."
On pages 55-6 of IBG we have almost the exact same sentences but with "2007" in place of "2004." Obviously, it should say "2001" in both copies! Further down on p. 76 of BIR it reads:
"In June 2004, the Arroyo administration enacted a law to privatize the electric power sector..."
On p. 56 of IBG we have the same thing but with "2007" in place of "2004." Both should say "2001."
Further down on p. 77 of BIR it says:
"The Updated Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004-2004 states that... The services sector is expected to grow from 4.7-5.1 percent in 2004 to 6.2-6.7 percent in 2004. The Philippine government foresees strong growth ... from recently enacted structural reforms such as the ... Securities Regulation Code... Industry ... is projected to grow from 1.8-2.3 percent in 2004 to 6.5-7 percent in 2004... Continued modernization ... in agriculture ... will push its growth from 2.7-3.3 percent in 2004 to 3.9-4.9 percent in 2004."
Similar stuff appears on p. 56 of IBG. but with "2007" everywhere in place of "2004." Both are incorrect. The Securities Regulation Code was enacted on July 19, 2000. What should be described is an MTPDP for 2001-2004 with growth projected as going from 2001-values to 2004-values.
On p. 78 of BIR it says:
"In May 2004. President Macapagal Arroyo signed a bill ... for the privatization of the heavily indebted National Power Corporation."
P. 57 of IBG says the same with "2007" in place of "2004." Both are wrong. They should say "June 2001" instead.
P. 79 of BIR says:
"As agreed at the sixth ASEAN Summit in Hanoi in December 1998, by the year 2000, 85 percent of tariff headings in each countries Inclusion List should be at 0-5 percent tariff rates; by 2004, 90 percent; and by 2002, all tariff headings in the Inclusion List..."
P. 58 of IBG says the same with "2007" in place of "2004." Both should say "2001" in this spot.
P. 80 of BIR mentions "a commitment agreed at an ASEAN Informal Summit in November 1999 for the complete elimination of duties on intra-ASEAN trade by 2012." This should be 2010, not 2012.
P. 83 in BIR shows a blank square which looks like it was meant to contain a picture or chart of some kind. But it's been left blank. Same on p. 84.
The BIR-booklet has segments of text missing on pages 160 & 162. The relevant text can be found in the IBG-volume but this is very careless. On p. 160 of BIR was read:
"Filipino consumers continue to have a preference for smaller, handier devices such as..."
Then it cuts off the text and simply lists some resource references. But in IBG on pp. 137-8 we have the same statement followed by a list:
"*Ultra-mobile personal computers... *The first-generation of mobile internet devices (MIDs)."
P. 162 of BIR says:
"In view of the recent positive developments ... insiders note increasing demand for ... products ... which include:
"Stand-by Mobile Power Generating Systems"
But pp. 144-5 of IBG have the same preface with a longer list. Obviously someone became lazy when copying something down and so gave an incomplete listing in BIR.
On p. 178 of BIR it starts with:
"E.O. 334, issued on January 3, 2004, during the final days of the Estrada Administration, set out tariff rates for 2004 to 2004. Generally, the E.O. maintained 2000 tariffs for 2004, and proposed gradual reductions in 2002 and 2003 to meet the goal ... for all products by January 2004. Exceptions to this plan ... would face a three-percent rate for 2004..."
The first, second and fourth references to "2004" are all wrong and should say "2001." The others are correct. Further down on the same page it says:
"E.O. maintained 2000 tariffs for 2004 for all agricultural goods, but would cut tariffs for many goods beginning in 2002. For example, the tariff rates ... for corn, cabbage, and coffee would be cut to 30 percent by 2004."
The first reference to "2004" is wrong and should say "2001" but the second reference is correct as the cuts in tariffs which began in 2002 would be aimed at completion for the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan of 2001-2004. Further down:
"The minimum access volume (quota) for rice was 119,460 metric tons for 2000 and 134,396 metric tons for 2004. In 2004, the country is expected to import considerably more rice..."
The successive instances of "2004" should be "2001" and "2002" respectively.
On the next page 179 we read:
"The following commodities may not be imported... Chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) and halons, effective January 1, 1999. In the EMB/DENR announcement furthering implementation of R.A. 6969, the only exception is for CFCs ... until the year 2012."
The last "2012" should be "2010" instead.
There is also a strange duplication of text with pp. 141-8 of BIR reproducing what was already printed on pp. 121-8. The passages run from "The Foreign Investment Act of 1991" to "Special Economic Zones" and reprint the same text word for word.
Here I've deemphasized the simple typos, but an example of that should be given too. On p. 74 of BIR:
"The GDP by sector is broken down as follows: 225 for agriculture, 32% industry and 425 for services."
This seems like a simple typo where "225" and "425" have been mistyped in place of "22%" and "42%" respectively. This type of error is easier to spot than some of the above where a wrong year has entered carelessly.
A more general criticism to make of this style of booklet is the way that it casually quotes documents from more than 10 years apart without any attribution to an original source citation. The result is that the reader must always be on guard that even though something which they were just reading may have been written as far back as 1998, on the very next page they may encounter date from 2012 without any forewarning that a break in the text is happening. For this reason the whole volume has to read carefully and critically to make sense of it.
If someone is interested in studying up on the Philippines (or some other foreign country) then these volumes can be an interesting supplementary source that may facilitate further study. That's why I give it a grade of 3 out of 5. But I'm not really sure how useful it would be to someone who wanted to quickly find up-to-date information. It might really be too muddled for a general reader.
Rating: [3 of 5 Stars!]