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DICT kicks-off smart village initiative in Sacol island, Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 30 (PIA) – The Department of Information and Communications Technology kicks-off the Smart Village Initiative in the Philippines with its pilot beneficiary, Sacol Island, Zamboanga City.

Assistant Secretary for Regional Development and concurrent Officer-in-Charge of Region IX and BASULTA, Asec. Maria Teresa M. Camba said the Smart Village Initiative will help implement the sustainable development goals and the identified community needs of the island.

“Nagimbita tayo ng napakaraming agencies both from the government and the private sector. Kailangang kasama namin ang iba’t-ibang ahensya because the other community needs identified were not necessarily ICT related (We have invited many agencies, both from the government and the private sector. We need to be with them because the other community needs identified were not necessarily ICT related.),” Asec. Camba said. 

Assistant Secretary for Regional Development and concurrent Officer-in-Charge of Region IX and BASULTA, Asec. Maria Teresa M. Camba - Sacol Island, Zamboanga City, June 29, 2023

Held in Barangay Landang Laum Elementary School, Sacol Island, this event culminates the National Information and Communication Technology Month celebration with the theme "Connecting communities, enriching lives, forging a digital future for the Philippines."

Landang Laum Barangay Captain Hon. Hashim Bara thanks the DICT for choosing Sacol Island as the beneficiary of the program.

“Kailangang-kailangan talaga yung communication sa mga constituents natin sa apat na barangay sa Sacol Island. Salamat sa DICT. Importante develop ang ating barangay, kasi gusto namin na ang mga bata at teachers hindi na mahirapan sa signal at hindi na mahirapan ang mga military dito,” Barangay Captain Bara said.  (Communication is essential for our constituents in Sacol Island four barangays. Thank you, DICT. It is important to develop our barangay because we want to prevent difficulties with the signal for the students, teachers, and military personnel while they are here.)

Smart Village is a holistic and whole-of-government approach to deliver connectivity and sustainable services to disadvantaged communities.

Early in June 2023, DICT conducted a Needs Assessment in the community which determined their top priorities. These priorities include their livelihood particularly on seaweed farming and fishing, health facilities due to lack of medical professionals in the community and broadband connectivity due to limited access to telecommunication services.

Residents of Sacol Island listen intently to DICT ASec. Maria Teresa M.Camba’s introduction of the Smart Village Initiative.

The Smart Village project aims to improve service delivery in the following areas: health–the deployment of telemedicine to improve access to diagnosis and other medical services; education–access to open and distance learning opportunities that will enable capacity building for teachers and school administrators as well as access to quality literacy for children, youth and adults; skills training–livelihood driven skills training from the Department of Labor and Employment and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority as well as digital skills training from DICT; and broadband connectivity–Telecommunications service providers and DICT-9.

Sacol Island, Zamboanga City

Sacol Island is five (5) kilometers from mainland Zamboanga City and has a population of 14,000 comprising four (4) barangays. The main transportation from the mainland to the island is the motorized banca and around the island are the habal-habal or motorcycles.

Due to its geographical location, the island has minimal, if not zero, established ICT infrastructure and basic telecommunications service in the locality. Local officials said that it has been challenging over the years, as cell towers are located in the mainland. This made online classes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic virtually impossible.

Teachers of the barangays in Sacol Island happily receive the tablets that will help their learning methods and strategies for the students.

“With the help of this project, our teachers and principals can now integrate ICT in the classroom, wherein teaching can be more effective to produce quality education to all our learners,” said Dr. Edgardo Falcatan, Quadrant Head of the Department of Education. 

With the support of the Philippine Navy, personnel from various government agencies and private institutions were transported from the city to the island. Attendees have to transfer from one vessel to another and to a motorized banka because of the low tide.  

Nevertheless, they arrived in the venue and signed the pledge of commitment to support the development of Sacol Island into a Smart Village, where sustainable services on health, education, skills training, broadband connectivity, and other social services become accessible. 

Representatives from various government agencies and private institutions pose for a photo opportunity with the beneficiary community of the Smart Village Initiative. - Sacol Island, Zamboanga City, June 29, 2023
Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe

Zamboanga City Mayor John Dalipe celebrates the advancement of information and communication in the communities as it speeds up the delivery of the services of the local government unit in the barangay.

“Sa pamahalaang Dalipe, walang barangay o pamayanan ang maiiwan. Lahat ng mga barangay, malayo man o malapit sa ciudad, nasa isla man o kanayunan, lahat pagsisilbihan. Kaya nagtatrabaho tayo ng maayos at masinop para mapa-unlad ang Sacol (In the Dalipe government, no barangay or community will be left behind. All barangays, whether far or near the city, whether on the island or in the countryside will be served. We are working properly and prudently to develop Sacol.),” Mayor Dalipe said. ­

The launching of the Smart Village Initiative in the island serves as the beginning of another future milestone in the country's step towards a digitally transformed nation. (RVC/CCP/PIA9-Zamboanga Peninsula)

Motor boats used as a mode of transportation of the locals in Sacol Island, Zamboanga City.

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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