Click on the photo to listen to former Usec Totol Batuhan bare the outlines of his new ICT vision. You can also click on this link http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23844743.
Let me share some notes that sketch a vision for Abante Barangay and the Second District of Cebu City. I hope that by posting these here, I reach people who share, and help me enrich and realize these dreams:
1. Barangay empowerment to address the digital divide. The barangays in the second district are not just characterized by poverty. There is also the so-called digital divide or how technology is making the gap between rich and poor wider. Yes, the use and understanding of the potentials of information technology have penetrated the grassroots in our barangays. Thanks to Internet Cafes, the proliferation of PCs that connect to the Internet at P1 for several minutes of use, and the prepaid schemes and especially the “unlimited” text and calls for cell phones. But still, the use and understanding of ICT at the grassroots pale in comparison to that of more affluent sectors. The rich are using information technology in ways that make them rich faster than before. The poor, even the entrepreneurs in the barangays, still has to learn ways on how to maximize information technology for livelihood. They also have to learn on how to use information technology in making life easier and cheaper at the barangays.
This is one of the nearly a hundred (as of this writing) desktop computers distributed to schools, barangay halls, youth centers, senior citizens offices, and police stations at the South District of Cebu City since September 2011. Click on the photo to view the different albums posted in Abante Barangay’s Facebook community.
At the moment, we are addressing this with our Abante Barangay Movement. We are initially distributing desktop computers to schools, youth centers, barangay halls, offices of senior citizens, and police stations. Meanwhile, we are using Facebook to mobilize especially the youth for such projects as coastal cleanups (Suba-Pasil-Sawang Calero and Cogon) and celebrating World Environment Day by planting trees in Babag 1. These are going on simultaneously and intertwined with our nutrition and health program and the livelihood program.
Our efforts should dovetail with parallel efforts at addressing the digital divide like Barangay.Net Project
of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
2. Innovation is the key towards development during the information era. This means the Philippines has to develop a critical mass of entrepreneurs engaged in innovation-oriented start up businesses. Towards this direction, our educational system needs to produce more quality ICT engineers, scientists, professionals, technicians, and entrepreneurs. The challenge is how to produce more people of this type from poor barangays. The initial steps should be improving the information technology infrastructure (initially giving PCs to barangay halls and schools) and support for information programs like Jun Tariman’s radio show to encourage more young people from the barangays to go into ICT. Our Abante Barangay IT program seeks to help the Cebu City second district barangays catch up faster.
As part of our ICT information efforts, we shall soon engage barangay officials and community youth as well as urban poor leaders in Google mapping. In a capsule, Ruben Licera of the Cebu Bloggers Society writes that Google mapping
helps in settling boundary conflicts, conservation efforts, disaster mapping, updating LGU data, identify places and direction, and development planning. This should stimulate interest in exploring the innovative use of social media for the benefit of the barangay.
We are also looking into how we can help facilitate the implementation of President Noynoy Aquino’s Project Noah
or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards in Cebu City’s south district.
Over a dozen members of the Abante Barangay Movement showed their support for Jun Tariman’s Kapamilya Tech-Forum. Former Usec Totol Batuhan backed the program because it seeks to make technology understandable to ordinary people in the barangays. Click on the photo to view other more in the Abante Barangay Facebook community.
3. SRP Incubation Park. Cebu City’s second district possesses the South Road Property (SRP) as an asset. Maybe we can convince SRP policy-makers to consider putting up an Incubation or Innovation Park at the SRP for start-up businesses. The centerpiece for the innovation park could be a research and development center that taps top experts here and abroad. We could entice Pinoy senior ICT experts abroad to come home and work at the facility. There could be a government-private sector partnership arrangement for funding this project. After all, several Pinoy experts abroad and local ICT companies are already into this direction. The SRP Incubation Park should attract more multinational ICT-oriented locators and propel Cebu City’s economy faster.
4. Visionary legislator and leader. This needs a legislator and leader with a vision and understanding of the potentials and how to maximize ICT for developing our economy.
Related posts, stories, and sites
The first Kapamilya Tech-Forum
Nini Cabaero of Sun.Star Online writes about “Knowing Noah”
Google Map Makers: Mapping the Future Together
Microsoft supports Startup Weekend in Cebu
Bridging the local digital divide: the Barangay.Net Project
Abante Barangay Community in Facebook
I Luv Totol Facebook Community
To celebrate World Environment Day, youths belonging to the Abante Barangay Movement used Facebook to coordinate and mobilize themselves for a tree planting activity in Babag 1.
Former Usec Totol Batuhan joins the Abante Barangay Coastal Cleanup at Barangays Suba, Pasil, and Sawang Calero last March 2012. The activity was the launch of the Abante Barangay Movement in Facebook.
This was taken during the culmination of the 6-month supplemental feeding program last February 2012 undertaken by Abante Barangay, Barangay Duljo-Fatima, and the National Nutrition Council (NNC) 7. Mao nay serbisyong tiunay ni Totol Batuhan. We luv you, Tol!
This photo was taken during one of the urban gardening workshops for urban poor mothers to promote livelihood and nutrition. The seminar-workshop was facilitated by Bob Bajenting.
A group of USC Entrep students jumpstarted their business with the help of sewers from barangays by producing Totol bags made of recycled tarpaulins. Totol’s supporters distributed these bags to thousands of school children when the school year opened. The project helped provide livelihood, did something significant for the environment, and eased the burdens of parents and school children.