Four projects of the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s Mindanao Cluster 1 (DICT MC1) were nominated for voting on the 2021 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Prizes. A total of 360 projects were shortlisted out of 1,270 entries submitted from around the world this year.

“We are proud of this nomination as it shows that our nation’s ICT capabilities are on par with some of the best in the world. We will continue to develop and implement world-class projects as we advance the national ICT agenda,” Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

The WSIS Prizes is a global competition hosted by the International Telecommunications Union that was created to provide a forum for recognizing programs and events that use information and communication technology (ICTs) to promote sustainable growth.

DICT MC1 is a Regional Cluster Office covering Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. The project entries of the cluster for each category are as follows:

WSIS Prize 2021 CategoryDICT MC1 Nominated Project
AL C2. Information and communication infrastructure  Free Wi-Fi for All in Basilan Island Province through the Zamboanga-Basilan Broadband Network  
AL C4. Capacity BuildingEnabling Teachers on Remote Teaching and Learning in the time of Pandemic (In partnership with University of the Philippines – Open University)  
AL C5. Building confidence and security in the use of ICTsCybersecurity Education in the Philippines in the time of Pandemic (In partnership with Digital Tayo)  
AL C7. E-government  Delivering eGovernment Services through the Zamboanga City GovNet  

For the “Information and communication infrastructure” category, a total of 373 entries were submitted and only 20 got shortlisted for the voting round, including the Free Wi-Fi for All in Basilan Island Province through the Zamboanga-Basilan Broadband Network. This broadband network aims to connect remote islands in Mindanao by maximizing existing systems to connect communities with no access to full-blown ICT infrastructure, such as Basilan—the largest and northernmost island of Sulu with a population of 500,000. To establish access points in the island, a backhaul link from its neighboring town Zamboanga City was installed to connect Basilan.

Under the “Capacity Building” category, DICT MC1’s project in partnership with University of the Philippines Open University was among the nominees out of 582 entries. This 9-session training series has trained 84,632 educators (66% of whom are women), which aims to equip educators with various techniques for remote teaching. The series came at no cost to the government and the teacher-participants as it was conducted online through synchronous webinar sessions.

Out of the 327 entries vied for the prize under “Building Confidence and Security in the use of ICTs” category, DICT MC1’s initiative dubbed “Cybersecurity Education in the Philippines in the time of Pandemic” was shortlisted. The series focused on increasing awareness on child pornography, cyberbullying, and internet addiction. It also injected training on digital parenting, digital skills, and cyber safety.

Delivering eGovernment Services through the Zamboanga City Government Network project was also nominated under the “e-Government” category out of 173 submissions. This project has interconnected 102 government offices and schools in Zamboanga City, where the fiber optic network was most needed as government transactions shifted online due to the pandemic.

Last year, the Department’s Digital Hub in Zamboanga City won a champion prize for the E-Employment category of the WSIS 2020. The hub, which serves as a learning, innovation, and co-working space facility for the public, was selected as one of seventy-two (72) champion entries out of 776 competitors around the world.

The voting for the 2021 WSIS Prizes is until March 31, 2021. Interested voters who wish to support the nominated projects may visit the link for more information: https://www.itu.int/net4/wsis/stocktaking/Prizes/2020/Vote