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PIA Press Release

JICA delegates to 2007 Training Programme for Young Leaders present country report

by Robert E. Roperos

SAPPORO, HOKKAIDO, JAPAN (November 19) -- Five delegates of the Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA)'s Training Programme for Young Leaders presented here recently the issues and concerns of the Philippine setting in Information Technology before the Japanese panel headed by Mr. Kiyoshi Ishii, JICA Team Director.

Ms. Minerva Bunagan, Head for the Center for Alternative Learning of the University of Saint Louis-Tuguegarao in Tuguegarao City presented the geographical setting of the Philippines. In her presentation, she made mention of the Philippine government's thrusts and programs that include the stabilization efforts, attainment of an impressive economic growth, and infrastructure development.

Ms. Bunagan also emphasized that the Philippine government headed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is doing its efforts to create more jobs by attracting local and foreign investors, where promotion of fast growing industries such as the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the priority concerns.

Also, Mr. Michael Batan, an instructor of the AMA Computer Learning Center in Tacloban discussed the challenges and obstacles of ICT in the Philippines where according to the Japanese panel, must be given attention by both the national and local governments of the Philippines and Tacloban.

In his report, Mr. Batan said, the Philippines faces a massive task adjustments and catch-up to derive the most from ICT. Because of this, "the need to further develop and enlarge the ICT sector in order to take advantage of the skill level, availability and comparative cost of the country's technical skilled manpower", he said.

Further, Ms. Vivian Echalico, a secondary teacher at the Misamis Occidental National High School who represents the Education sector pointed out the importance of IT in high school education but because of the limited resources in the Philippines, majority of the high school students were not able to enjoy computer education because only the students in the science curriculum can use these facilities in most high schools in the country.

Meanwhile, Mr. Frezier Binondo of the ICT Division of the National Statistics Office (NSO) in Cagayan de Oro City presented the current setup of Information Technology adopted by their office.

Mr. Binondo discussed, that with the large scope of work of NSO, the use of Information Technology facilities can help in attaining their programs and thrusts to serve the Filipino people in a quick and efficient manner. But still, because of the limited number of resources, although all transactions in their office are attained, yet speed of work is what they are currently working out.

The current setup of the Information and Communications Technology Management Division (ICTMD) of the provincial government of Iloilo was presented by Ms. Melinda Peralta who is the Assistant Administrative Officer.

In her report, she discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the ICTMD in processing all the transactions that the provincial government of Iloilo is undertaking.

According to Peralta the Philippine government has no clear cut policy or guidelines on the standard implementation of Information and Communications Technology in government agencies, especially in the local government that even the national agency in-charge on ICT cannot interfere in the systems developed and implemented.

With the current setup of ICT in the Philippines, it hoped that with the study tour in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, the 17 IT experts from the Philippines can bring ideas not only on the physical aspect but as well as the commitment and dedication that the Japanese are showing towards the attainment of their goals especially in this world of information technology age, in support to the priority programs of the Arroyo administration particularly on electronic governance.

The Country Report presentation was moderated by Mr. Masahiko Sugiyama, JICA Program Officer. (PIA-13) [top]

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