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National

Smarter Philippines to integrate all govt ICT projects without spending a centavo

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

It’s all in the mindset.

And changing that doesn’t cost a centavo.

Just ask officials of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO).

On Wednesday, they flew to Davao City to launch Smarter Philippines, an initiative that intends to bring together all “smart” information and communications projects of the government.

Once up and running, Smarter Philippines will lead to synergies—shared services, for one—that will not only improve capacities to serve the public but bring down costs as well.

Smarter Philippines is “an invitation to utilize” all these technological enhancements and services “that have existed and are all available,” Louis Napoleon C. Casambre, ICTO executive director in a briefing during the launch. “We’re putting all these [projects] in one place and use it to become smarter. There’s a lot more value if we find connectiveness and apply leverage in these smarter technologies.”

“What we’re asking for is a change in [our] mindset,” Casambre added.

DOST Sec. Montejo on Smarter Philippines

Storified by Interaksyon· Fri, Feb 22 2013 01:14:53

DOST's Mario Montejo plans to launch 25 world-class products by 2016, Guevara says during #Smarter Philippines launch.Robert JA Basilio Jr
Science and Technology Sec. Mario Montejo #nowspeaking during #smarter Philippines launch in Davao City. http://pic.twitter.com/ZKPo7MnGRobert JA Basilio Jr
At its heart, #Smarter Philippines is a mindset, DOST Sec Mario Montejo says during #smarter Philippines launch http://pic.twitter.com/7dmqac65Robert JA Basilio Jr
We are moving into a #smarter society from just an information society, Montejo says during #Smarter Philippines launch. @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
#smarter farming will increase yields by using soil moisture sensors, DOST Sec Montejo says during #Smarter Philippines launch @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
We will put up innovation centers in all regions to boost small businesses, Montejo says in #Smarter Philippines launch @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
UP train is 100 % Filipino engineered and fabricated, Montejo says in #Smarter Philippines launch @interaksyon http://pic.twitter.com/tvnkXY8KRobert JA Basilio Jr
#Smarter Philippines also recognizes role of secondary cities in the country, Montejo says in #Smarter Philippines launch. @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
#Smarter Philippines moves us to stand up and be counted, DOST Secretary Montejo says in #Smarter Philippines launch. @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
Ang Pilipino ay puede nang mangarap, Montejo says in #Smarter Philippines, quoting recent speech of President Aquino. @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr

Meanwhile, integrating all these smart technologies—from flood forecasting to food processing, from traffic management apps to typhoon warning systems—as envisioned under Smarter Philippines costs nothing. That’s right, Smarter Philippines costs nothing.

No budget has been allotted to the initiative, Alejandro Melchor III, ICTO deputy executive director, admitted during the same briefing.

But that isn’t likely to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.

After all, once these technologies are integrated, they are likely to help create “smarter” cities that will, in turn, make residents safer and more productive. With increased productivity and more income opportunities, poverty will be reduced and economic growth sustained.

And this is exactly what Melchor emphasized in his presentation during the Smarter Philippines launch.

Alejandro Melchor III on smarter cities

Storified by Interaksyon· Fri, Feb 22 2013 01:13:13

#nowspeaking in #SmarterPhilippines launch is Alejandro Melchor III, deputy executive director, DOST-ICTO @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
ICTO's Alejandro Melchor III in #SmarterPhilippines launch @interaksyon http://pic.twitter.com/Ufukxu2GRobert JA Basilio Jr
Building smarter cities are the engines of sustainable economic growth, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines launch @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
Best strategy for high, sustained growth is to develop smaller cities, rural communities, Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
Best strategy to cut poverty is to develop tier I, II cities and rural communities, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
Asian nations that moved ahead made conscious decision to adopt knowledge-based strategies, Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
In the knowledge economy, success is based on what you know, not what you own, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
#SmarterPhilippines model draws heavily from European-wide Smart cities initiative, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
Primary focus of Smarter People program: knowledge workers with 21st century skills, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
ICTO's Melchor in #SmarterPhilippines launch has listed seven essential 21st century skills. @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
Single-most important 21st century skill is critical thinking and problem solving, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
Second essential 21st century skill is written, oral, multimedia, and multilingual communication, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippinesRobert JA Basilio Jr
DOST Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program will help transfer tech to countryside, Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
By 2020, DOST plans to develop Balanga, Bataan into a world-class university town, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
Within a year after CCTVs were installed in Balanga, Bataan, crime fell by a third, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr
For high sustainable growth, cut poverty, we need co-develop tier I, II cities, ICTO's Melchor says in #SmarterPhilippines @interaksyonRobert JA Basilio Jr

“Building smarter cities are the engines of sustainable growth,” he said in his presentation delivered during the Smarter Philippines launch. “The best strategy for high, sustained growth is to develop smaller cities and their nearby rural communities.”

This also explains why Smarter Philippines was launched in Davao, the DOST said in an email message to InterAksyon.com.

“The DOST wants to promote inclusive growth and starting with cities outside Metro Manila and the countryside, and what better place to start than Davao,” DOST’s email said.

In 2012, Davao was selected as the Philippines’ top Next Wave City. Next Wave Cities is a program of ICTO and the Business Process Outsourcing Association of the Philippines aims to improve IT-BPO capabilities of cities outside Metro Manila and Cebu.

Davao is also the first Philippine city to establish its emergency response system through Davao Central 911, the email said.

“The system can be replicated in many cities in the Philippines enabling them to be Smarter Cities,” the email said.

Of course, that’s easier said than done.

Which is why Melchor said that ICT officials will sit down with all its partners—agencies from the United States and Europe and local government units—and adopt the best practices in the smarter cities framework.

“We will take into account all these factors and [check] where we can have programs that yield the fastest benefits,” Melchor said during the briefing. “Just give us the chance to figure things out.”

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