BRIDGING  THE  'DIGITAL  DIVIDE'  IN  APEC

MANILA, August 10, 2005
 (STAR) By Sandy Araneta - Taipei – Transforming the digital divide into digital opportunity.

With this theme, officials of the member-economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathered here last week for the 2005 APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) Week to share their experiences and exchange ideas on e-government, e-trading, e-readiness and other e-practice-related issues.

The ADOC was proposed by Chinese Taipei delegate Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee during the 11th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in 2003.

Aimed at upgrading the information technology levels of APEC member-economies, the 2005 ADOC program coordinated the efforts of local groups such as AsiaInfra, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Institute for Information Industry, Taipei Computer Association and MiTAC.

A three-day exhibition on information and communications technology (ICT) was also held, showcasing the IT progress of Chinese Taipei and the projects of six member-countries – Chile, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Deputy Commissioner Lilia Guillermo of the Bureau of Internal Revenue bagged first place among the best e-projects for her work in the BIR’s "Electronic Filing and Payment System (eFPS)."

In the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meet in Jeju, South Korea last June 2-3, the ministers acknowledged the progress made by ADOC in bridging the digital divide and enhancing the capability of the member-economies to participate in and contribute to the global economy.

During the last day of the plenary session, Taiwanese officials underscored the importance of sharing ideas among APEC member-countries through international meets to bridge the digital divide.

"This conference was organized to provide a platform for the members to exchange ideas and share experiences in our digital hypotheses. Its aim is to bring the digital divide into digital opportunities," said Dr. Johnsee Lee, ITRI president.

For her part, Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Yueh Ho cited APEC for being active in sharing professional expertise and urged the member-countries to do their share in further developing their ICT infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Minister of State F. C. Lin noted that most countries have realized the importance of ICT in the past 20 years and have put their resources into development.

"Leaders around the world also understand the negative impact of the digital divide and are seeking ways to resolve this problem," he said.

"We should share our experiences, then assist each other in planning and implementing our ICT development policies. Here in Taiwan, the government, joined by the private sector, has taken initiatives and put in place various projects under a national project," he added.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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