, MARCH 19, 2007
 (STAR) GILAS (Gearing-Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students) congratulates Quezon City for achieving 100 percent Internet connectivity in all its 46 public high schools early this month.

Quezon City is now the biggest fully connected city in Luzon, thanks to support from its local government, corporate and individual donors, volunteers, and partners. GILAS is Ayala Foundationís program that seeks to engage the greater community in providing Filipino students with access to a wealth of information available on the Internet.

It hails Quezon City as an area that exemplifies its multi-sectoral nature due to funding from Credit Suisse First Boston, Ayala Land, Rocking Moon Foundation, Carlos A. Cordeiro Foundation, Fil-Am groups and alumni associations, and several private individuals Ė which was matched by funding from the office of Mayor Sonny Belmonte.

Computers from the Department of Trade and Industryís PCs for Public Schools project and Asian Development Bank were given a yearís free broadband Internet subscription from by BayanTel Communications to complete the package in Quezon City schools. Volunteers from HSBC, and Philippine Business for Social Progress conducted training programs for teachers and computer instructors on basic maintenance, and content integration with core subjects such as math, science and English.

Department of Education superintendents, school principals, administrators, faculty, staff, and Parent Teacher Associations lend their active support to the project by incorporating computer and Internet learning into their core curricula, and by finding the means to sustain the schoolís Internet subscription after the first year of free connection has ended.

Out of 5,789 public high schools in the Philippines, GILAS has so far connected 1,124, and would like to congratulate all its partners and supporters in being instrumental in the projectís success. GILAS looks forward to providing Internet connectivity to all public high schools by 2010.

Smart cited for community projects The Philippine STAR 03/17/2007

A video showing how the residents of a typhoon-ravaged fishing village learned to sculpt and rebuild their lives through their works won for Smart Communications the second highest honors in the recent 42nd Anvil Awards.

Smart commissioned sculptor Rey Paz Contreras to teach villagers of Banglos, Quezon how to turn driftwood into art pieces, which Smart also helps market.

Titled "Carving a New Life from Tragedy," the video won the Bronze Anvil and was one of five entries Smart submitted on its first participation in the annual competition organized by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP). All five entries won.

Chief Justice Reynato Puno, chairman of this yearís board of judges, handed out the awards, assisted by PRSP president Milen de Quiros, vice president for internal affairs Ed Alcaraz, and Butch Raquel, chairman of this yearís Anvil Awards.

Accepting the awards for Smart were public affairs head Ramon Isberto, human resources development and management head Annette Santiago, and public affairs senior manager Darwin Flores. The ceremonies were held at Hotel InterContinental.

The Banglos video also received an Award of Excellence, along with two other entries, "Project Nakar" and "Broadbanding Education: SWEEP and Smart Schools."

The former refers to Smartís sustainable livelihood program in Nakar, Quezon, where it also built houses in partnership with Gawad Kalinga, while the latter refers to Smartís initiatives in harnessing technology to help upgrade studentsí training and teachersí capabilities.

Under SWEEP, or Smart Wireless Electronics Engineering Program, 40 colleges and universities offering electronics and communications engineering (ECE) are able to supplement classroom training with virtual on-the-job training, using radio base station facilities donated by Smart.

Through its sister program, Smart Schools, teachers in 100 public high schools are trained in information and communication technology (ICT). They now download supplemental teaching materials from websites and give lessons using PowerPoint presentations as visual aids.

Smart also won the Award of Merit for its employee magazine, SmartSpeak Quarterly, and its Employee Volunteerism Program.

The latter was inspired by the initiatives of the employees who have been planting trees, donating blood, tutoring elementary pupils, raising funds, and building houses.

The Anvil Awards, dubbed the Oscars of public relations, are given to PR groups that demonstrate "integrity, excellence, and concern for the public interest in their programs and tools," said Chief Justice Puno.

This year, the awards committee received 178 entries. Twenty-one won Excellence awards and 42, Merit awards.

The board of judges included 15 PR practitioners across industries, as well as company CEOs and academicians.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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