Barangay Information System

To provide the people at the barangay level with a database and communications system that will improve the delivery of public services to them, thereby improving the quality of life at their level BACKGROUND Among the 42,000 barangay units in the Philippines, very few have their own database and communications systems. This is largely due to the fact that they do not have the means to bring together the components that would make this happen, namely the infrastructure, the manpower and the content Generally speaking, it is the cost of the infrastructure that prohibits the barangay units from putting up their systems.

Based on experience, it is relatively easier to bring in the manpower and the content components once the infrastructure component is in place Due to the fast evolution of computer technology, many hardware and software products quickly become obsolete in commercial terms, even if these are still functionally useful in technical terms. More often than not, these products are just stored or discarded for good The Pentium series of personal computers (PCs) is a good example of this quick obsolescence.

Many of these computers are no longer in use, but these could still be put to good use at the barangay level by simply upgrading their operating software and installing new applications software. This is the same story in the case of other computer brands or make HARDWARE STRATEGY Used computers of any brand or make will be reformatted and equipped with new Linux operating software. Machines with existing Windows or Mac operating software that are still functional will just be reformatted and repaired, retaining the existing systems SOFTWARE STRATEGY

The project will install new applications software in the reformatted and repaired computers. Existing software applications in these computers such as Microsoft Office will be retained if their licenses are still current. Otherwise, new software that is freely available such as Open Office and Ubuntu will be installed Aside from Office software, the project will also install database software in the machines, enhanced by communications software. For example, the project will install a Geographic Information System (GIS) database, enhanced by a Global Positioning System (GPS) and a Short Messaging System (SMS)

The GIS-GPS-SMS combination will be partly useful in enabling the people at the barangay level to have a basic tool for environmental monitoring, for purposes of Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). However, they will also be given the option to avail of advanced tools such as the Instant Warning Alert System (IWAS), an SMS based compact weather station (CWS) that costs only 30,000 pesos POWER STRATEGY The project will proceed on the assumption that most of the barangay areas already have available electricity.

In the other areas that could not be reached by existing power grids, the people at the barangay level will be taught how to use solar energy and how to fabricate power generators using old automobile engines It should be noted that in many areas where coconut oil is readily available, it would be affordable to use the homegrown oil as 100% fuel, or as a partial additive to a bio-diesel mix. Hopefully, the project will create a new opportunity for coconut farmers to not only sell a new higher value product, it will also create a new market for them both locally and globally

Aside from the solar and the generator options, the people at the barangay level could also utilize other energy sources such as biogas from methane sources. This will have the added advantage of cleaning the environment and availing of the global carbon credits scheme VIDEO STRATEGY By using web browsers, the people at the barangay level will have access to video archives such as You Tube. Aside from that, they will also gain access to other sites that fall under the category of Internet Protocol television (IPTV)

In areas where free to air television (FATV) and cable access television (CATV) are not available, the people at the barangay level could be given television access via satellite, using affordable service providers such as G-SAT, a company offering an initial set-up fee of only 7,500 pesos. The G-SAT service is available nationwide For as long as solar and other alternative sources of energy are available, it would also be possible to play informative video content in Digital Video Disk (DVD) and Video Compact Disk (VCD) players.

A company affiliated with the Foto-Me Group of Companies is now offering a service called Solar Powered Onsite Television (SPOT) As an additional option, informative video content could also be played using Compact Flash (CF) cards and Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash cards. This technology is already being used to deliver video content in malls and commercial buildings DATABASE CONTENT As the smallest unit of governance in the Philippines, the barangay units should be the primary source of original and actual data that should eventually be compiled with, and integrated into the national databases.

Examples of these are barangay data for national use in reporting compliance with our Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Human Development Index (HDI) commitments MDG and HDI data are just examples, because there are other data sets that should be developed and gathered, such as the data needed for reporting compliance with Agenda 21, the sustainable development agenda of the Philippines and the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP). Depending on the needs of the local barangay units, they could actually design and implement their own databases ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT

Our Barangay, Inc. (OBI) is a newly formed non-stock, non-profit non-government organization (NGO) under the leadership of Ms. Elsa Bayani, for the purpose of supporting the barangay computerization project. It was born out of an online discussion group hosted by Ms. Bayani OBI has already started soliciting used computers from the United States and other countries for the purpose of supporting the project. Ms. Bayani has also perfected a prototype bio-powered generator, built from a used automobile engine Teleforce Communications is a private business owned by Mr.

Ike Seneres. It is engaged in the business of information and communications. As its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, Teleforce will partner with OBI in supporting the barangay computerization project Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) is government owned and funded training institution. For many years now, DAP has led the advocacy for using freeware in governance applications. The University of the Philippines Linux Users Group (UNPLUG) is an organization of Linux users, also associated with the Philippine Linux Users Group (PLUG).

DAP, UNPLUG and PLUG will provide the training support for the project ADMINISTRATION SYSTEM As agreed with OBI, the project will lease hardware and software to non-government organizations (NGOs) that are in direct partnership with specific barangay councils as covered by Memoranda of Agreements (MOAs). In other words, OBI and its support partners will not be dealing directly with the barangay councils. This is a necessary arrangement, because OBI does not want to get involved in the local politics.

Conversely, OBI will also avoid getting financial support from local politicians The hardware and software will be leased to the NGOs for one peso a year. This is the legal strategy agreed upon with OBI, so that the project could retain legal ownership of these assets. This is a necessary requirement, so that OBI could continue to have leverage with the NGO beneficiaries. Based on actual experience, beneficiaries do not take good care of the assets, and it is difficult to prevail upon them without a means of leverage

BUILDING STRUCTURES As an additional option, OBI could lease used container vans to the NGO beneficiaries, so that these could be used as temporary barangay halls where there are none. These vans will be remodeled and furnished before delivery, already retrofitted to have internet and satellite access. Since these vans are legally considered as motor vehicles, these could be financed under chattel mortgage terms, if not donated by private foundations and civic groups such as the Rotary Clubs SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

As an incentive to barangay based youth who will volunteer to build the local databases and who will maintain and manage the leased computers, they will be awarded scholarships for vocational and collegiate courses. They could enroll for free in partner schools that have already agreed to support the project, provided that they agree to join a direct selling program that will supply goods and services to the local barangay residents, in coordination with the University Consortium for Resource Networking (UNICORN)

As of now, the Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA), Informatics and Datamex are the schools that have already signed up for this scholarship program, spearheaded by UNICORN. PAYMENT SYSTEM Electronic hand-held devices are now available in the market, appearing to be the new evolution of credit card magnetic card readers. These new devices are however wireless, and are using the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) technology instead of the old dial-up systems. Because of its unique design, these devices could also function as Point-of-Sale (POS) machines. Teleforce is distributing a variant of this device, branded as MINIPOS

On a case to case basis, the project could lease MINIPOS to barangay based small and medium enterprises (SMEs), so that these could accept credit card and debit card payments, sell electronic loads and basically function as a general payment service similar to β€œBayad Center” DEBIT CARDS Various debit card products are now available in the market, providing an alternative to credit cards. Although these products have entered the market with low profiles, this trend actually represents a revolution of sorts in giving access to more people so that they could buy products and services online, even if they do not have credit cards

In cooperation with EZY Bonds of Australia, Teleforce is now poised to give away free debit cards to members of large NGOs in the Philippines, for distribution to their members. As an added advantage, these NGOs will earn incomes from transaction fees each time these cards are used by their members The EZY debit cards are valid worldwide, and are accepted in all locations where Visa, Mastercard and American Express are also accepted.

These cards also function as ATM machines, and could be used to withdraw from any local machine with a Bancnet, Megalink or Expressnet logo, or any foreign machine with a Plus or Cyrus logo PREMYO SA RESIBO (PSR) The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has started selling Premyo sa Resibo (PSR) cards to promote their tax collection drive. All NGOs could now distribute these cards to their members, so that they could raise money for their fund raising projects, possibly to fund their barangay assistance projects.

Teleforce could assist NGOs in acquiring special PSR cards that are branded with their own logos BARANGAY SKILLS ASSESMENT As a means of assisting barangay residents in looking for jobs, the JOB1 Company is now offering job assessment services for job applicants. Once the assessment is completed, the results will be posted in a website that is accessible to prospective employers. The JOB1 Card is now available for NGOs that want to distribute these cards for their members, also for fund raising purposes. This card could also be specially branded for the NGOs with their own logos

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