(STAR) Once, people treaded on a difficult way of doing research, that is, by leafing through a multitude of books kept dusty in the libraries: an odious scenario of gathering information, which entails much time and effort.

But after a few years, the process of research would soon be simplified to laid-back finger-tapping–on computer keyboards. Thanks to Dr. William "Bill" Torres and Dr. Willy Gan.

In 1994, Torres and Gan founded a resolve to an easier, faster way in scraping needed information. Localizing the World Wide Web phenomenon in mind, they established Mozcom, the country’s first commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP). Mozcom remains a key player in the industry to date, boasting of a vast network equating to 70 Points of Presence (PoPs) nationwide.

Regarded as the "Grandfather of Philippine Internet," Torres had done previous endeavors in popularizing information technology in the country. He started his technological campaign in the academe where he formed a committee to look into the possibility of creating an academic/research network that would consist of universities and government institutions. Despite not having its operations run to the fullest, Torres’s brainchild was adopted as the backbone for the local network project that linked three universities: Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, Diliman and De La Salle University.

The year 1992 became promising for Torres, the first Filipino to obtain a Ph.D. in Computer Sciences under a scholarship grant from Fulbright Hays of the United States. In that year, he pushed for the first informal negotiations with the US National Science Foundation to bring the Internet to the Philippines. He, too, helped in gaining sponsorship for the project from government agencies.

From being a cornerstone of the National Computer Center, Torres has embraced an even more challenging role; he is currently the president of the Philippine Internet Service Organization. This just proves that there is no stopping Torres in enhancing more the industry he has known beyond advancements. On the other hand, Gan, who is considered one of the prime movers and implementors of the Internet in the country, made his mark in the IT industry not only by co-founding Mozcom but also by actively participating in the planning, designing, and setting up of PHNet, the first-ever Philippine academic network that resides in the Internet. According to him, developing internetwork would ultimately cause the domination of the traditional voice of network and that the Internet will be the development’s sole aspect. With an impressive know-how and experience in IT, he was chosen as one of Internet’s 10 most influential Filipinos, a survey ran by The Web Philippines magazine.

In July 2001, Gan passed away because of cancer but his legacy has transcended his mortality. Today, Mozcom keeps Gan’s influence aflame as they have named a company award after him. The Willy N. Gan Awards are given to employees and Mozcom PoPs that have shown exemplary service and dedication to the company.

Having proven their worth as revolutionaries in the technology scene, both Torres and Gan will be recipients of the top inspiring technopreneurs awards which will highlight the first day of the biggest ever technology entrepreneurship expo dubbed as TechnoNegosyo. The award is given to Filipino entrepreneurs who have shown remarkable performance in cultivating the technology field.

TechnoNegosyo is a project of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) led by its founding trustee and Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Jose Concepcion III and co-chaired by Myla Villanueva, managing director of MDi . The expo, which will be held on September 14-15 at the World Trade Center, is open to the public from 9am until 9pm.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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