[PHOTOS OF DR. WILLIAM TORRES COURTESY OF  Lilen Uy from the Investigative Reporting Quarterly - EDSA 20-20] http://pcij.org/i-report/edsa20/william-torres.html

MANILA, DECEMBER 13, 2009 (STAR) Dr. William “Bill” Torres, dubbed “Father of Philippine Internet,” will be honored by the country's technology journalists with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his meritorious contributions to the local IT industry on Dec. 17 in Taguig City.

Torres, the first Filipino to acquire a PhD degree in computer science in the United States while on a Fulbright-Hays Grant at the University of Wisconsin, has generously and willingly devoted his time and knowledge to the development of country’s IT sector in the last few decades.

The defining point of career in IT came in 1992 when he spearheaded the negotiations to connect the Philippines to the Internet. This pioneering effort opened tremendous opportunities for Filipinos, particularly in the area of business process outsourcing.

As co-founder and former chief executive of Mosaic Communications (Mozcom), the country’s first commercial ISP (Internet service provider), Torres has introduced and pushed for cutting-edge innovations in the field of information and communications technologies that have greatly benefitted the Philippines.

He has also served as director-general of the National Computer Center during the Aquino administration and has actively participated, mostly as head, in various industry associations.

Torres will receive the award at the 2nd CyberPress ICT Choice Awards, an initiative of the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines Inc. (CyberPress) that is meant to honor the persons and entities that made their mark in the local ICT market for 2009.

The awards ceremony will recognize this year’s achievers in five categories: IT Start-Up of the Year, IT Company of the Year, IT Executive of the Year, IT Product of the Year, and IT Story of the Year.

The list of nominees were drawn up during the recent CyberPress leadership seminar held in Baras, Rizal. CyberPress members, who write for the country’s top newspapers and IT publications, then voted for their choices via an online poll.

The CyberPress ICT Choice Awards follows the lead of other press groups which have been bestowing awards over the years in their respective sectors.


[Read about Dr. William Torres here<http://pcij.org/i-report/edsa20/william-torres.html>]

HAD EDSA 1 not happened, Dr. William Torres would have stayed on at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), where he was already senior vice president providing guidance to government projects involving information and management systems. Although not that keen about working in the government, he says the academy, then under the stewardship of the esteemed Dr. Onofre Corpuz, provided him the luxury of engaging in development work in an agency that was "not totally government" and "the conscience of martial law."

But the new Cory administration had other ideas about mining Torres's IT talents. With his work at the DAP and such credentials as a Fullbright-Hays scholar, the first Filipino to be conferred a doctorate degree in computer science by the University of Wisconsin, and a professor of mathematics and management engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University, Torres was designated officer-in-charge of the NCC until July 1987, and eventually as its managing director until May 1993.

His stint as NCC head ushered in great strides for the IT sector, then largely untapped as an enabler of economic development and social transformation. It was his idea that government agencies craft and adopt their own information systems plans to enable them to look a few years ahead at what they wanted to do.

Today's Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) traces its roots to the Information Technology Coordinating Council (ITCC) created by the Cory government in 1987, and which Torres chaired for six years. Through the council, which later evolved into the National Information Technology Council (NITC) and then the Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Council (ITECC), Torres authored the first-ever draft of the National IT Plan (NITP). In October 1997, the action agenda was updated for the 21st century, called IT21, with the goal of transforming the Philippines into the knowledge center of Asia.

Torres credits these pioneering endeavors largely to the much improved political environment that allowed the government and the private sector to work together. Under Marcos, the NCC was the sole entity responsible for directing IT use for national development. Under Aquino, there emerged a mechanism that ensured a government-private sector partnership in overseeing the development and deployment of information and communications technology in the different spheres. It was even represented by the aggressive acronym TIGER — telecommunications, industry, government, education and research — and its goal was to make the country globally competitive. For full story: click http://pcij.org/i-report/edsa20/william-torres.html

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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