Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, Vol 17, No 2 (2002)

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Bridging the Local Digital Divide: The barangay.net Project

Ma. Divina Gracia Zamora Roldan

Abstract


The World Bank –sponsored Barangay.net project spearheaded by the Central Visayas Information sharing network (CVISNet) endeavors to realize the vision of transforming the Philippines to an e-services hub of Asia Pacific region. This will be accomplished thru the cooperation of the government, the private sector, and the non government organization. An initial e-readiness survey of seven barangays of Cebu City was made using Heeks’ IT benchmarks for the following areas: 1) Data systems infrastructure; 2) Legal infrastructure; 3) institutional infrastructure; 4) human infrastructure; 5) technological infrastructure; 6) leadership and strategic thinking. The assessment discovered that the viability of the project is being stalled by financial constraints, lack of ICT awareness in the barangay, and the divergence of the barangays’ predicaments and ICT solution. Among the policy alternatives, the pursuance of the project is deemed most feasible option along with the strengthening of the advocacy mechanisms of target barangays. Although the idea of the Barangay.net may seem premature, the advantages of e-democracy, as a possible result of this ICT venture, could outweigh the drawbacks posed by the possible unequal distribution of the projects benefits.

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