Sunday, June 12, 2005

Happy Independence Day!

Imagine my shock today when I found myself singing the Philippine national anthem, "Bayang Magiliw" in church!

In lieu of the recessional hymn, our congregation found itself joining in on a solemn rendition of the national anthem. During the homily, the priest had already tied in the Independence Day theme with the Gospel. He asked us to envision a world where we are truly independent - free of corruption, free of jueteng, free of contested electoral results.

But the ending song was still a shocker... although somehere during the paragraph "Sa dagat at bundok", I realized how the lyrics were acknowledging the beauty of God's creation. And as we got to the end "ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo", the pledge before God to defend one's country to the death took on a different, transcendent dimension.

My feeling about June 12 though, is that we are celebrating a negative declaration, i.e. "we are no longer enslaved!" Do you know that even in those days of yore, some felt that the declaration was unnecessary, i.e. that we were already independent to begin with?

As a Strong Republic, perhaps we should instead celebrate Republic Day - the day on which the First Philippine Republic was born: January 23, 1899. The day the Philippines became Asia's first republic!

What about you, do you feel as I do that Republic Day is what we should really be celebrating? And how do you feel about singing the national anthem in church? Share your thoughts with me below!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Flying High 2010

The year was 1992, the venue: Camp Aguinaldo Golf Club. Instead of coming together for golf, the leaders of the IT industry had gathered for a planning workshop. The president of the Philippine Computer Society (PCS) was there. So were the presidents of the IT Association of the Philippines (ITAP), the Computer Dealers and Distributors of the Philippines (COMDDAP), and a slew of other IT user and supplier organizations such as GO-IT (Government Organizations for IT), PADEC (Philippine Association of Data Encoding Corporations), Genesys, Share Guide, and others. That year, I was the president of the Unix Users Club of the Philippines (UUCP), so I was invited too.

We had gathered together to form the IT Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP) and to elect our founding batch of officers - I was elected Secretary! We agreed to speak with one voice in advocating the interests of our industry. One of the actions we agreed on that weekend was to propose legislation to create a cabinet-level post for ICT. Those were exciting times! We were creating the future!

Fast forward to today. Déjà vu...

The year is 2005, the venue: Tagaytay Highlands Golf Club. Instead of coming together for golf, the leaders of the IT industry had gathered for a planning workshop. The incoming and outgoing presidents of the PCS were there. So were the presidents of ITFP, PSIA (Philippine Software Industry Association), PICS (Philippine Internet Commerce Society), ISSSP (Information Systems Security Society of the Philippines), the Government CIO Forum, and PADEC. As well as the executive directors of ASID (the Association of Solution Integrators in Davao), CebuSoft, and Phil-NITS (the Philippine National IT Standards Foundation).

Plus representatives from the private sector, academe (La Salle, Ateneo, Mapua, CEDFIT) and government (Senate, Congress, Supreme Court, BIR, COA, DBP, PMS, TESDA, Dep Ed, and CICT). We had sacrificed a weekend away from our families in order to draft a vision and strategy for the philippine software industry.... once again, we are creating the future!

Below are photos of the breakout groups hard at work... i.e. working hard to ignore the beautiful surroundings of Tagaytay Highlands! 8-)

(Click on each photo for a full-screen version.)

(L to R: Maan Tolentino/PICS, Adreliza Cala/BIR, the author, Janette Toral/Senate, Menchie Aragon/PSIA, George Kintanar/Congress)

(L to R: Sam Jacoba/Microsoft, Mon Ibrahim/PCS, the author, Jun Malacaman/ITFP, Cesar Tolentino/XMG, Chris Stolk/Salus, Clarisse Sabando/CPL)

(L to R: Elmar Gomez/Mobile Arts, Toy Paralisan/CebuSoft, Michelle Casio/Mapua IT Center, the author, Ivan Uy/Supreme Court, Caslon Chua/DLSU, Gina Duminy/IT Pros)

(L to R: Bing van Tooren/PCS, Fred Kintanar/CEDFIT, the author, Jeffery Sy/Trend Micro, Bebette Ventura/CPI)

(L to R: Oliver Robillo/ASID, Carmela Perez/COA, Edna Belleza/PMS, the author, Andrew Guitarte/DBP-DCI, Hans Chua/Ateneo Java Wireless Center)

What started several months ago on February 14 is now coming to fruition as "Flying High: Philippine Software 2010", a strategic vision for the Philippine Software Industry. The team is currently hard at work to produce a final report to be submitted to Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 22, at the Cebu ICT Expo. These are exciting times!

Related articles:
RP's software industry awakens
Industry needs to sustain its competitiveness
Study: Future of software industry bright

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

National ICT Month 2005

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has declared June as “National ICT Month”.

“I hereby declare the month of June 2005 as National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Month,” said the President in proclamation no. 802, signed in February. The president directed that the event shall be under the auspices of the CICT together with other government agencies and private organizations involved in the development of ICT in the country. “All heads of department, bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including officials of the local governments, are hereby called upon coordinate with the CICT to implement the plans, programs and activities geared toward the objectives of this Proclamation."

The ICT Month of June was first declared in May 1989 by then President Corazon C. Aquino, in order to increase public awareness on the vital role that ICT plays in national development.

The theme of National ICT Month 2005 is, "Towards a Philippine Information Society".

The inspiration for the theme came from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's message to the World Summit on the Information Society, "We are going through a historic transformation in the way we live, learn, work, communicate and do business. We must do so not passively, but as makers of our own destiny. Technology has produced the information age. Now it is up to all of us to build an Information Society."

The World Summit on the Information Society, or WSIS, was convened in order to determine how ICT can best contribute towards the advancement of the U.N.'s Millenium Development Goals.

This month, let us all renew our efforts to work together in building a Philippine Information Society - a society which is inclusive and uses ICT to bridge the many divides we have in our country, a society where all Filipinos enjoy a better quality of life through optimum access, usage, utilization and sharing of information and knowledge, a society where ICT is used as a tool for delivering good governance.

GMA-7 Interview on the significance of National ICT Month

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