ADDU Community Connectivity Empowered by Satellite Service for Mindanao (ACCESS Mindanao) and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) launched and inaugurated Tech4Ed Centers in Datu Piang, Maguindanao and in Bitiala Center, Cotabato City on March 10 and 11, 2021 respectively.
The Technology Empowerment for Education, Employment, Entrepreneurs, and Economic Development (Tech4ED) is a program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and a national digital inclusion initiative establishing eCenters that provide critical e-government and ICT-enabled services in communities with minimal or no access to information and government services.
Its mission is to establish sustainable Tech4ED Centers nationwide as a delivery channel for relevant ICT-enabled services and content for the socio-economic development of unserved and underserved communities towards improved quality of life.
Markhaz Al-Huzaim in Datu Piang, Maguindanao
On March 10, 2021, the Markhaz Al-Huzaim in Datu Piang, Maguindanao became the first madrasah (Islamic school) to become a Tech4Ed Center of the DICT in the whole country.
The Markhaz Al-Huzaim has been a partner school of the Madaris Volunteer Program of Ateneo de Davao University where volunteers teach subjects to students on all year levels. However, the digital divide is very much evident due to the lack of connectivity and computer equipment for students to use.
In February 2021, the ACCESS Mindanao team installed a satellite antenna for the internet under the ACCESS Mindanao Program. Today, they passed the second hurdle with the donation of 3 computer units with learning materials from DICT as part of the Tech4Ed program.
This is the first among other plans to convert all ACCESS Mindanao sites as Tech4Ed Centers to improve the digital literacy of fellow Filipinos in remote and isolated areas of Mindanao.
Rogel Mari Sese, ACCESS Mindanao Project Lead, expresses his gratitude to everyone who helped in the mission of connectivity where it is needed the most.
In the next few days, they will be adding two more far-flung sites under the ACCESS Mindanao Program.
Bitiala Center, Cotabato City
On March 11, 2021, the ACCESS Mindanao team inaugurated the 2nd ACCESS Mindanao site to become a DICT Tech4Ed Center at the Bitiala Center in Cotabato City.
The Center has been the venue for numerous inter-faith dialogue and peace process that helps improve the social and livelihood conditions of former combatants towards harmonious relationships.
After bringing in the satellite connectivity in February 2020 under the ACCESS Mindanao Program, the DICT, through MC3 Dir. Alimbzar Asum, donated 3 sets of desktop computers to be used by the community for digital literacy classes, livelihood training, and possibly even e-commerce. The donations were graciously accepted by BARMM MP Datu Mussolini Lidasan, head of the Al-Qalam Institute, and Rogel Mari Sese.
On the virtual inauguration, the ADDU Executive Vice President, Mr. Jeremy Eliab joined in and represented Fr. Joel Tabora S.J.
The ACCESS Mindanao team continues on to their next leg of their journey of connecting even the remotest of islands and communities in the country.