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ASEAN Urged To Bridge Digital Divide
Source: http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/2012/nov/19/asean-urged-bridge-digital-divide/
Source Date: Monday, November 19, 2012
Focus: Health
Country: Asia and the Pacific
Created: Nov 26, 2012

ICT Ministers of ASEAN member-countries gathered in Cebu, the Philippines last week and agreed to enhance their collaboration on critical ICT programmes towards implementing the ASEAN ICT Masterplan (AIM) targeted for completion by 2015.

Vice President Jejomar Binay represented President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino in the 12th Asean Telecommunications and IT Ministers (TELMIN) meeting during November 15 and 16, noting that ASEAN is stronger when connected and in creating ICT jobs.

The key address of the meeting was the concern over bridging the digital divide as it is considered one of six pillars needed to be built as the important foundation of the AIM.

This two-day event was chaired by TELMIN Chair the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo, and welcomed senior officials and regulators in charge of ICT in their respective countries to update the progress of the implementation of the AIM.

"We agreed that we need to reach out to the unserved and underserved areas of our countries, nothing that many applications of ICT can bring about productivity to sectors that might need it," said Montejo.

He cited an example on agriculture sector that real time weather updates could help the agriculture sector improve farming management.

According to him, this meeting also helped the member countries learn and share information to benefit the entire ASEAN.

"There is a great potential for improvement in productivity that lead to more savings if everyone can become competitive," he added.

Montejo pointed out applications like remote medical diagnosis conducted by Singapore government, and smart identification cards from Singapore and Malaysia that can be used to pay toll fees and access to public transportation systems.

During his welcome speech, he talked about the progress of Integrated Government Philippines project (iGovPhil) accepting that the Philippine government still remains bullish with the opportunities that the ICT can provide for governance.

"We are particularly upbeat about our iGovPhil project — our flagship e-governance initiative which will provide the unifying common application services, enterprise architecture, and physical infrastructure to eventually ensure inter-operability and secure data sharing across all e-government systems," said he.

"We believe that this suite of inter-operable systems and strategic applications of iGovPhil will transform how governance is done in our country. For us, this means smarter government," he added.

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