thru information technology
Posted: 6:28 AM (Manila Time) | Mar. 20,
By Frank Cimatu
A RECENT print advertisement on information
technology shows a group of Igorot elders gathered around the
dap-ay (a structure where Cordillera elders meet) and one of
them is labeled "e-gorot."
In Kalinga, for example, phone lines
have been down since typhoon "Feria" struck the Cordillera last
But the fact is, the typical
Cordilleran has no Internet access, not even a telephone access.
According to the National Telecommunications
Commission, 93 percent (38,000) of all subscribed phone lines in the
Cordillera (or a total of 41,000) are located in Baguio City and
nearby La Trinidad, Benguet.
Mt. Province, for example, has
only 324 telephone subscriptions. The more reliable form of
communication in the Cordillera is sending one's letter through
buses that ply the region's rugged mountain trails.
setting up free e-mail connections in rural communities like Gumaca,
Quezon; Iguig, Cagayan; Anda, Pangasinan; and Botolan, Zambales,
last year, the Metro Manila-based PH Domain Foundation decided to
set up one in the Cordillera, this time in Bontoc, Mt. Province.
The group is thinking not only of bringing IT (information
technology) to Bontoc but also empowering the rural communities
through Internet and e-mail.
In coordination with Ebgan, a
non-government organization dedicated to help stop gender violence
in the Cordillera, the PH Domain Foundation (PHDF) has set up three
e-mail capable computer sets in Bontoc.
Without a local
Internet service provider, Bontoc is now connected to the worldwide
web through a special software using the existing telecommunication
There are now 200 e-mail subscribers in Bontoc,
including Mayor Louis Claver Jr.
"I do not need a computer.
I won all my cases when I was a lawyer because I personally type
them on my typewriter," Claver said before he opened the computer
center recently at the Chico River Inn.
Now, he sings a
different tune. "There is also a positive side to this technology.
We should open ourselves to the challenges of the times."
Lynn Madalang, Ebgan executive director, said PHDF had
started giving IT training to students and even farmers of Bontoc
and nearby towns.
"Our main aim is to bring the IT to the
farmers so they can form a network with other farmers and check, for
example, the current prices of vegetables," she said.
don't see any intrusion into the Cordillera culture. Like Mayor
Claver, they will see that not all in the new technology is bad.
Instead of calling long distance through their phones, they can now
use their e-mail."
"It's one way of empowering the remote
communities, especially the women," she added.
She said they
are now soliciting the e-mail addresses of development organizations
that can help Bontoc residents seek and develop livelihood