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Taiwan launches e-learning center in Baybay City

BAYBAY MAYOR CARMEN L. CARI presents the guests from Taiwan plaques of appreciation for their government’s contribution to the city. L-R BNHS principal Dr. Robinson Garcia, DepEd’s assistant regional director Atty. Alberto Escobarte and Sarah Apurillo, the Mayor, Stanley Wang, Amb. Donalt CT Lee, Vice guv Mimyet Bagulaya, DOST Sec. Mario Montejo, Jose Cheng and Frank Tzeng.

CITY OF BAYBAY – No less than Taiwanese Ambassador to the Philippines Donalt C. T. Lee and Dept. of Science and Technology secretary Mario G. Montejo, a Leyteño himself, led a powerhouse of dignitaries in the launching of the ICOT-P eLearning and APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) at the Baybay National High School here on Friday, August 12.
The ICOT-P is a cutting edge innovation of Leyte’s educational system conceptualized by Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla that aims to arm high school graduates and even out-of-school youth some employable and practical skills that would narrow the gap between income earners and the jobless. ICOT-P, a play on the governor’s nickname “Icot”, stands for Income Creating Opportunities thru Technology Program. ADOC, on the other hand, is a fully-equipped computer learning center aimed at teaching interested Filipinos from all walks of life basic computer skills to the trickier programming, and other computer skills.
The two programs, complementing each other, have been merged in this city to put up the e-learning center.
To represent the governor in the meaningful event was Vice-governor Mimmietta Bagulaya, his mother Palo Mayor Remedios “Matin” Petilla and also former governor of Leyte for nine years, and other provincial officials. To receive the guests were Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari and son Vice-Mayor Michael Cari, Deped officials, DOST regional director Engr. Edgardo Esperancilla, Visayas State University president Dr. Jose Bacusmo, aside from principal Dr. Robinson Garcia of the school and other town officials. Cong. Jose Carlos L. Cari was expected but did not make it from Bato, Leyte where he was attending an earlier engagement.
Other visiting dignitaries from Taiwan included Stanley Wang, director of ADOC Secretariat; Filas Chen, director of economic affairs of TECO; Jose Cheng, project director of ADOC and Frank Tzeng, sales manager of Hitachi that donated the aircon units for the center.
Amb. Donalt C.T. Lee, in his speech, said ADOC was initated during the 11th APEC Leaders meeting in 2003 held in Bangkok, in collaboration with 10 other countries. It is Taiwan’s way of helping its neighbors, fostering stronger friendship, trade and economic ties with them.
Since it was started, the program has trained approximately 50,000 clients in the Philippines and the Baybay center is the 13th across the country. It is the 82nd in the nine other APEC countries aside from Taiwan which include Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Mexico, Chile, Papua New Guinea and Palau.
The ambassador also added he considers the Philippines his second home, and that it’s connectivity cannot be ignored. “A rooster or a cock that crows in the Philippines can be heard in Taiwan”, he said, and its geographical closeness is more reason for them to help their neighbor.
It was also learned during the affair that credit for bringing the ADOC to Leyte belongs to DOST Secretary Mario Montejo. Montejo said that in one top level discussion about ADOC and exploring the possibilities of bringing it outside Luzon where it was started in 2006, he mentioned the governor’s ICOT-P.
Immediately thereafter, around three months ago, a Taiwanese team came to observe the program and apparently liked it. Now it is a reality, he said, The community’s equity is the building, which was its former library.
For her part, Mayor Carmen L. Cari warmly welcomed the guests to the city, saying that they welcome such innovations.
The program also included a short testimonial from Levi Joy A. Reli, one of ICOT-P’s early graduates. She said she graduated salutatorian from their class but coming from a family who can “feed us three times a day but cannot send us to college”, she opted to enrol in a short term computer programming course with ICOT-P.
“It was only a one year course but gave us the skills to apply for a job”, she said. Now, she is working as a programmer for CORE-DATA at Palo, Leyte. “I realize there are many opportunities here (at ICOT-P)” and observed that the governor’s program was “growing” and “I am proud to be part of it”.
Vice-governor Bagulaya, for her part, said the governor conceptualized the program after looking at some statistics for the Province and finding out that only 30 percent of high school graduates make it to college. The stopgap measure was introduced to increase the chances for gainful earning of the remaining majority. For their part, she added, the provincial board remains committed to the governor to support his programs through effective legislation.
The program ended with a blessing and unveiling of the marker.

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