COTABATO CITY—Information Technology (IT) enthusiasts and Information Officers (IOs) from different BARMM ministries, agencies, and offices convened Friday, Nov. 19 to tackle the enhancement of IT and digital connectivity in the region.
Bangsamoro Information and Technology and Communications Office (BICTO), in partnership with The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies, led the roundtable discussion.
Friday’s event sought to formulate responsive policy papers—which the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament may legislate—to advance the Bangsamoro Government and local constituents in terms of digital connectivity.
Based on the policy research conducted by IBS, it was agreed that “digital connectivity is not just limited to internet connectivity but also involves ‘physical’ way of connecting people through transactions or fast-tracking the transfer of goods and services through connectivity,” said Dr. Norodin Salam, IBS consultant.
Accordingly, the elements of digital connectivity are digital communication, internet, and digital economy.
“Generally, the challenge on connectivity are adoption of a comprehensive and strategic approach that will lead coordination, radio frequencies that enable mobile connectivity, addressing gaps between needed and actual financing investments,” Dr. Salam cited.
The findings and recommendations of the said research will be proposed to the parliament for its legislation.
Meanwhile, BICTO Executive Director Jonathan Mantikayan, who initially conducted two consultations with various stakeholders regarding ICT in BARMM, also said that their findings could be converted into a policy recommendation.
Currently, BICTO is formulating the creation of the Bangsamoro E-Government Master Plan (BEGMP), which will serve as the blueprint for a harmonized government information system in the region. [Related story: BICTO, CSO lead 2nd consultation of BARMM E-Government Master Plan at https://bangsamoro.gov.ph/news/latest-news/bicto-cso-lead-2nd-consultation-of-barmm-e-government-master-plan/]
“We are going to complete the formulation of BEGMP within the transition period, but deliverables should be underway within [the 3-year] bracket,” said Mantikayan.
Moreover, considering the geographical feature of the region, BEGMP will also identify the “strategic and applicable methods to improve the connectivity in BARMM mainland and islands such as installation of a cell tower, internet satellite, and through fiber optic cable (land) or submarine cable (sea),” said Ralph Sinsuat, BICTO OIC-Chief of ICT Infrastructure and Services Division.
“We will identify the best practices applicable based on the research and consultation. Either, we will build infrastructure, otherwise, if not applicable, then we would build towers or supply fiber optics through our local government units,” Sinsuat concluded. (Bangsamoro Information Office)
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