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Philippines: Moving on to become a leader in ICT


Little has been known about the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), created in 2004 by Executive Order No. 269 as the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating and administrative entity of the government’s executive branch for Philippine ICT development.

Today, barely six years after its creation, the Philippines is slowly moving towards being an ICT-enabled society where citizens live in an environment that promote access to technologies providing quality education, sustainable employment, efficient government service, and ultimately, a better quality of life for every Filipino.

Ms. Patricia M. Abejo, CICT Chief of Staff, and Director of Cyberservices Group said the government recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.

“We used to rely on the traditional mode of information like newspapers, television and radio. Now, we’re moving up to the use of more improved technology which provide high speed access to information,” Abejo explained.

“Access to information is very important, thus said Abejo. And for us to be really competitive, “hindi tayo dapat maiiwanan ng development.”

The Commission on Information and Communications Technology is proud of its pet projects which has brought honor to our country. We are slowly emerging as a leader in ICT.

The community e-center is a shared facility set up in far-flung municipalities. Of the country’s 1,511 towns, “we are getting there fast with about 1,000 CeCs already operational,” according to Abejo.

Another flagship project is the e-Skwela, implemented in collaboration with the Department of Education using the electronic module of the Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) and TESDA. More than 50% pass the equivalency exam which is open to out-of-school-youth, housewives, and all those who want to get hold of a high school diploma without attending formal school in 4 years.
The i-schools are public secondary schools being provided by CICT with a computer laboratory, broadband internet, educator training, technical support, and monitoring/evaluation systems that open up access to digital material and applications.

According to Abejo, as of December, 2010, 550,000 are gainfully employed in the business process outsourcing industry and the number is fast growing.

Some of the most vital achievements of the CICT are as follows.

The Philippines was chosen as the world’s best BPO destination during the 2nd and 4th National Outsourcing Association (NOA) Awards, London, 2007 and 2009; the eSkwela received a Certificate of Commendation from the UNESCO ICT in Education Innovation 2007-2008 for Non-Formal Education; the iSCHOOLS Digital Inclusion Award won the 3rd Government Technology Awards in Bali, Indonesia on September, 2009; won as Semi-Finalist for Community and Portal Category during the 11th Philippine Web Awards 2008; and, bagged the Disabled-Friendly Website Award in July 2009 given by the Philippine Web Accessibility Group and the National Council on Disability Affairs.

The creation of a Department of ICT is still under consideration in both houses. Its creation will more effectively coordinate and implement national ICT programs, projects and other related initiatives. “Hindi tayo dapat magpaiwan sa ibang countries, Abejo said, we should move on with the times.”

By PIA9-Pagadian City/Alma L. Tingcang

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