An estimated 10.4 million Filipino families described themselves as poor, while around 8.5 million families said they were food-poor over the past three months, according to a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations. INQUIRER PHOTO

MANILA, NOVEMBER 11, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Matikas Santos - Young software developers in the Philippines are coming up with app ideas to solve the problems of government in an international competition sponsored by Microsoft.

“[Microsoft] Imagine Cup, which is currently on its 12th year, is the world’s premier student technology competition,” Karrie Ilagan, Microsoft Philippines General Manager, said Tuesday during the launch of the national leg of the competition.

Microsoft said that 1.65 million students from 190 countries have so far participated from 190 countries. In the Philippines, some 1,000 students have participated already, they said.

“Eligible students are invited by Microsoft to use their imagination and passion to create a technological solution that breaks new ground and solves tough problems that face the world today,” she said.

To help student participants focus on how they will develop software that can solve problems in government, Microsoft has partnered with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Information and Communication Technology Office (ICTO).

Mon Ibrahim, Deputy Executive Director of DOST-ICTO said that there is a lot of great talent among the Filipino software developers.

“[We crafted a long list of] priority problems that we are hoping student [developers] can focus on. [But for this competition] we trimmed it down to three: health, environment, and e-government,” Ibrahim said.

In the domestic IT industry, there are almost 900,000 workers in the Information and Communication Technology industry, he said.

Louie Casambre, executive director of DOST ICTO said in his welcoming remarks that “Philippines is actually one of the largest suppliers of IT talents in the world … but we don’t have an Apple, or a Microsoft.”

Ibrahim said that Filipino software developers “are primarily in the United States, Middle East, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, among others,”

Several previous participants of the Imagine Cup competition shared their personal ideas that can help the Philippine government solve some of its most pressing problems.

Marion James Pilande, 23, graduate of DLSU College of St. Benilde and part of the team that represented the Philippines to the international leg in 2010 and 2011, said that he wants to create a centralized government database for all its agencies to access in providing services to the public.

“Government has different databases for different agencies such as Social Security System, National Statistics Office, PhilHealth, etc.,” Pilande said.

“Centralizing this would not just reduce the cost of infrastructure, storing information, but it would actually make the processes go faster,” he said.

Pilande and his team’s entry was an app called LIGTAS which stands for “Location-based Information Gathering for Tragedy Elevation System.” Their web-based app brings together crucial information for rescuers during disasters and even allows for donations to be coursed through it.

Their app is still active and was used by a relief-NGO during the Bohol earthquake, he said.

Earthquakes like in Bohol and Cebu have become a yearly occurrence in the Philippines. AP file photo

Paul Villena, 20, from Adamson University, said that he wants to create a software that will serve as a database of scholarships nationwide. He said that this would help the less fortunate to seek out and apply for scholarships to any school nationwide.

Cesar Cuaresma, 27, from University of the Philippines Diliman said that he is thinking of an official weather app for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

“It will be a Filipino App made for Filipinos,” he said. Their app uses brightly colored backgrounds to show the current weather condition in a certain place in the Philippines.

The app, which is still in the development stages, will use weather information from Pagasa and make it easier to understand for users of the app, he said.

Gigi Adamantopolous, 21, from De La Salle University, said that her app aims to prepare kids in knowing what to do in the event of disasters.

The app is a type of game that gives points when they give the correct answer for certain disaster situations, she said.
It could also be used by barangay (village) officials where they can compete against other barangays in accumulating points on who is better in disaster response.

“Microsoft’s Imagine Cup is vital to promoting the science and technology capability of our student developers in achieving innovations that are geared towards delivering economic and social benefits,” Casambre said.

“We look forward to more partnerships like this with Microsoft in order to sustain the development of programs that harness the talents and skills of Filipinos in science and technology,” he said.


Team Divided By Zero Bags First Place in Microsoft Philippines Imagine Cup 2012 Local Finals

Photo above shows (L-R) Tim Vergel de Dios, Audience Marketing Manager, Microsoft Philippines; John Bessey, Managing Director, Microsoft Philippines; Mark Christian Bautista, Camille Ann Domingo, Jason Josol, Team Divided By Zero; Louis Casamber, Undersecretary, Department of Science and Technology; and Alvin Landingin, Senior Executive, Accenture during the recent announcement of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 local finals. - See more at:

Team Divided By Zero Bags First Place in Microsoft Philippines’ Imagine Cup 2012 Local Finals Divided By Zero to represent the country in the Imagine Cup 2012 World Finals in Sydney, Austraila

Emerging as the winner from the five finalists in the Software Design Category, Team Divided By Zero bagged first place in Microsoft Philippines’ Imagine Cup 2012 local finals held last March 23 with their project, KidCamp. The team will represent the country and compete in the Imagine Cup 2012 World Finals taking place in Sydney, Australia this coming July.

KidCAMP is a web and mobile application that enhances special education to improve autism communication tools, assist teachers to create various learning resources, monitor student performance and support global statistics of progress in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “We are very happy and challenged to know that we will be representing the country in the Imagine Cup World Finals. Our project KidCAMP will truly help the families of Autism Spectrum Disorder children receive the same kind of learning experience as other kids do. Microsoft has helped us achieve and address this problem through this competition and we will do our best in July,” said Jason Josol, Divided By Zero.

Spearheaded by Microsoft Corporation, the Imagine Cup is the world’s premiere student technology competition that gathers the best developers around the world and harnesses the creative minds of the youth to address problems faced by the world today using the power of information technology. With the theme, “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems,” the projects and entries this year were inspired by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals promoting health, environment, education and accessibility.

“We have a lot of good entries this year and we are happy that students this year have definitely shown great potential. Team Divided By Zero will be representing the country this July in the Imagine Cup 2012 World Finals and we are hopeful that we can do well globally. Their creativity to solve real-world challenges is visible in their KidCAMP project,” said Tim Vergel de Dios, Audience Marketing Manager, Microsoft Philippines.

Divided By Zero’s KidCAMP aims to provide families with an affordable educational platform for ASD students that can help them fulfill equal opportunities for education. Team Divided By Zero is comprised of students from De La Salle – College of St. Benilde and is mentored by Ebenezer Uy.

“Our team was inspired by my cousin who was actually an ASD patient and had been able to improve much through technology. We realized before that the educational software being made available to these students were quite limited and expensive which is why we started to think of a way in order to give equal educational opportunities for all. This is what led us to create KidCAMP. With this program, educators and families will be able to tailor fit their programs according to the needs of these children,” shared Josol.

Teams from around the world that will be chosen to join the Imagine Cup World Finals will compete in seven categories: Software Design, Game Design, IT Challenge, Kinect Fun Labs Challenge, Windows Metro Style App Challenge, Windows Azure Challenge, and Windows Phone Challenge.

Through the Imagine Cup, Microsoft heightens the awareness of the youth on the current issues and problems faced in society today and how they can be part of solving these concerns with the integration and use of technology.

“We want to encourage more students to join and showcase Filipino ingenuity and innovation at the global arena, and grab the opportunity not only to compete against the best student developers and programmers around the world, but also to prove that tomorrow’s leaders are equipped with the passion and talent to solve the world’s problems,” concluded de Dios.

For more information on Innovation Universe 2012, visit

About Microsoft

 Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft Philippines, the local subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, has been constantly bringing innovation and making its technology available to Filipino businesses and individuals since 1995.

As a committed and trusted partner in nation-building, Microsoft Philippines has made it its mission to fuel growth and healthy communities, as well as transform locally-based businesses and empower them to compete in the global economy. Angat Pinoy, Angat Negosyo. Angat Pilipinas.



Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announces the location for Imagine Cup 2014.

In 2014, Imagine Cup is headed to Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. As part of this year’s awards ceremony, Steve Ballmer addressed the audience via a prerecorded video announcing next year’s competition.

About Microsoft Imagine Cup

Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier technology program and competition for students to learn, build and compete with innovative tools, platform and services.

This is the 11th year of Imagine Cup, which was celebrated at the Worldwide Finals in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 8–11. Students are eligible to register and compete in Imagine Cup by visiting A full list of competition categories is available at

THE 2013 WINNERS CELEBRATED AT ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: United Kingdom students win First Place and $50,000 at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition July 11, 2013 A group of students from the United Kingdom won $50,000 as the first-place winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup Innovation Competition with their mobile phone application “soundSYNK,” which creates impromptu social networks that allow people to stream music simultaneously through a group of phones, effectively creating a symphony of speakers.

In addition to providing a platform for students to demonstrate and share their next great technologies, Imagine Cup has taken on an increased focus in preparing these students to be young entrepreneurs in the global marketplace.

All Imagine Cup Worldwide Finalist teams whose projects focus on social good are eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants.

All Worldwide Finalists teams received grant applications at the finals event in St. Petersburg, and the process will officially close Aug. 16, 2013.

In addition, through the Microsoft BizSpark program, Imagine Cup participants can launch startup businesses in their communities and across the Web.

Imagine Cup was made possible by support from key partners that are committed to helping students embrace the full potential of technology.

These partners include the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, Avanade Inc., AppCampus, Developer Express Inc., Microsoft DreamSpark, Facebook, KFC Corp., Mail.Ru Group, Samsung, Skolkovo Foundation, UN Women, Windows Azure and Windows.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at

Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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