FROM  A  SMART  NETWORK  TOWER,  'GILAS'  CONNECTS  SCHOOLS  IN  BATANES

AYALA FOUNDATION
(e-BULLETIN), MARCH 13, 2007 (via the INTERNET) Batanes lies at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, where the Pacific Ocean merges with the South China Sea, and was created by a series of volcanic activities millions of years ago. It is composed of three major islands: Batan, which contains the capital town of Basco, Sabtang, and Itbayat. Close by are seven islets including Amianan, which is the closest to Formosa. It is because of its location that Batanes has been identified as the country's potential gateway to East China.

The Batanes province has seven public high schools, five of which are located on the main island of Batan, one in Sabtang Island, and another one in Itbayat Island. There are no landline telephones in Batanes. Cellular networks are the only means of communication in the province and signal is limited to specific areas in the islands.

Batanes presents a major challenge to GILAS or the Gearing up Internet Literacy and Access for Students project, as the only economically viable source of Internet in Batanes is from a Smart network tower, one of the country’s top cellular phone company, on Basco Island, whose range is not powerful enough to reach the surrounding islands where other schools are located. The only solution to connect Batanes to the Internet is to go wireless. Normally, this would present a daunting challenge for GILAS, but since its strength is derived from a consortium composed of experts in different fields, including specialists from the University of the Philippines Electric and Electronic Engineering, GILAS is confident that it will be able to deliver service to the schools in this province to add to the growing number of Philippine public high schools connected to the Internet. To date, more than 1,085 public high schools in the country have access to the World Wide Web.

GILAS looks forward to connecting the northernmost part of the Philippine archipelago very soon, proving that no classroom is too remote to have a world-class education.

To know more about GILAS, please visit www.gilas.org. You may wish to make tax-deductible donations to the GILAS project through Ayala Foundation USA, a registered 501(c)(3) public charity in the US. Please log on to www.af-usa.org or call 650-598-3126. Reference: Maya Ong Escudero (maya@af-usa.org)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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