APRIL 26, 2007
 (STAR) It’s 1,132 down and 4,657 more to go.

With the continuing support of the BPI Foundation, Gilas (Gearing up Internet Literacy and Access for Students) is moving towards its goal of providing internet connectivity to the country’s 5,789 public schools. The latest supporter of Gilas is the Dońa Isabel Garcia Trust Fund, which recently gave an endowment of P1 million. Quezon province was the main beneficiary of the donation, with 10 of its schools recently connected to the net.

Gilas is aiming for full internet connectivity for all public schools by 2010.

The non-government organization has been receiving praise from various sectors for its role in preparing Filipino youth for the challenges ahead. There is still an acknowledged "technology gap" that separates Filipino students from their counterparts in the West and such technologically advanced Asian countries as Japan and Singapore.

It is no longer tomorrow’s workplace but already today’s typical employment environment that are highly dependent on high technology. The endowment to Quezon’s public schools could not have come at a better time. The province thrives mostly from its coconut and fishing industries. Access to the internet is not common to most of Quezon, since even the majority of its towns do not have internet cafes. The province, named after the country’s Commonwealth and wartime president, has over 150 public high schools with a total student population of 108,717 as of the school year just passed.

One typical message of thanks – delivered via email, of course – came from the Dagatan National High School. "After having fulfilled our dreams to have internet connection in our school through your magnanimous benevolence, we couldn’t grasp the best words for ‘thank you,’" said the school’s message to Gilas.

Gilas is a campaign directed by a multi-sectoral consortium that was started in January of 2005.

Thirty-One Filipino Websites to be Honored The Philippine STAR 04/21/2007

The DigitalFilipino.com Web Awards in collaboration with the APEC Digital Opportunity (ADOC) Award program aims to advocate the use of Internet and e-Commerce for business development, through the identification, promotion, and highlighting of best e-Commerce practices from various websites in the Philippines.

Websites in thirty-one (31) categories will be reviewed and judged for their ability to create a noticeable presence on the Internet—their ability to be seen and heard among all the noise and clutter of the Net. Commercial websites will also be reviewed for their ability to conduct e-commerce, in simple yet professional manner. The list of finalists can be found at http://digitalfilipinowebawards.blogspot.com.

All entries were nominated by the public as well as from industry, and will be judged openly by members of the DigitalFilipino.com Club. "We want to make this like a consumer choice type of award where your traditional Internet users will judge the usefulness of a site and see things from a customer point of view" said Janette Toral, organizer of the awards.

The nominations started last December and the final judging will be on Friday, April 20. It is hoped that through the promotion of outstanding websites and peer review process while judging that other businesses, as well as the public, get a better understanding of the benefits of the Internet, as well as the various ways in which e-commerce can play a vital part in business development.

Winners will be formally recognized this April 27, Friday, 9 am at the Penthouse of Board of Investments, Makati city. 31 winners will be given a trophy, Google AdWords voucher, special prizes, and a slot in the three-day advanced e-commerce training at the ADOC Center in Quezon city

From the 31 winners, there will be three ADOC Award winners too where the first placer will be able to represent the Philippines in the ADOC Week on July 24 to 27 in Taiwan.

The ADOC project aims to facilitate the bridging of the digital divide within the APEC community through training and trading. It is an independent, not-for-profit program funded by Chinese Taipei. The project was initiated in 2004, and to date, seven APEC economies are actively participating in the project. These are Chile, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The ADOC project in the Philippines works with various local non-government organizations in their efforts to provide education and training to underserved sectors of society. ADOC has established three community computer training centers in Manila to support its efforts.

It is hoped that through the promotion of outstanding websites and peer review process while judging that other businesses as well as the public get a better understanding of the benefits of the Internet as well as the various ways in which e-Commerce can pay a vital part in business development.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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