What A Busy Day For Advocacy!

I am referring to Tuesday last week, February 15, 2011, when I had to attend two (2) government-organized consultation meetings that concern the internet café industry in the country. The first was held in the morning at the House of Representatives and this is the initial deliberation on HB 3506, a proposed measure that will allow for the use of internet cafés as distance education centers to stream online secondary course instructions, lessons and materials for public high school students.

Unluckily, the author of the bill failed to attend the hearing and I learned later that the House Speaker called him for a meeting on an urgent matter. I stayed on and listened to the committee deliberations on the other bills about basic education and culture. I took the opportunity to meet some congressmen and one of them invited me to a public hearing on “Better Internet” which the House Committee on ICT will hold in aid of legislation. I shall report on this later as this also concerns the i-café industry very much.

In the afternoon of the same day, I attended the validation workshop on Philippine Digital Strategy (PDS) 2011-2016 organized by the Commission on Information and Communications Technology held at CICT Building in UP-Diliman, Quezon City. The first draft of the PDS was presented to the workshop attendees who were later on grouped separately and held breakout sessions on the four (4) digital strategies as follows:

  1. Strategy on E-Governance
  2. Internet For All Strategy
  3. Strategy On ICT Literacy
  4. Strategy On Regional ICT Development

I joined the Technical Working Group (TWG) that evaluated the draft of the Internet For All Strategy. The discussions centered mainly on infrastructure needed to have broadband access in all parts of the country especially on those areas that are still unserved. I have to bring up again the question of whether the government would recognize the i-cafés as part of the infrastructure that provides internet access to the public. There will be more consultations to be scheduled until the PDS is finalized by May of this year.

Your comments, inputs and suggestions on having i-cafes as Distance Education Centers and the having i-cafés as part of the Internet For All Strategy are welcome. Please post them here by way of comments.

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