Quezon City, Philippines — The University of the Philippines National Telehealth Center (UPM-NThC) forged its advocacy on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) during the 3rd House of Representatives FOSS week at the Batasan Pambansa from September 13 to 16, 2010.
The weeklong celebration dubbed as “FOSS on the GO!” coincided with the campaign of the congressional office of Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy A. Casiño on the use of FOSS in the country. “Since 2006, we have been pushing for FOSS,” expressed Rep. Casiño, who is the principal author of House Bill 1011 or the “Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Act of 2010.” HB 1011 was filed anew by Rep. Casiño last July 7, 2010 after it initially surfaced in 2006.
“We hope to see and wish to find that we are not tied down to proprietary softwares,” reiterated Rep. Sigrfrido R. Tinga, Chairperson of the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology. “We should rally behind technology that will liberate us which will put that technology into the hands of the poorest of the Filipino.”
Sec. Ivan John E. Uy of the Commission on ICT (CICT) was the keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies of the year-long advocacy and information dissemination campaign of FOSS. “The CICT has made use of FOSS in our initiatives such as the eLGU project, promotion on the use of eSkwela, education opportunities, and computer literacy.” Sec. Uy mentioned.
UPM-NThC showcased its homegrown FOSS application for health such as the Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS), an electronic medical record system for government health centers.
Prof. Ariel S. Betan of the UPM-NThC discussed during the September 15 round-table discussion on the question whether the Philippine government should go for FOSS: “Why not? We are actually far behind other countries and a lot of EU members are now migrating on the use of FOSS. Government should be proactive.”
The 3rd FOSS week celebration also introduced FOSS products and services by institutions and organizations such as Mozilla Foundation, Internation Open Source Network (IOSN), 98 Labs, Touch Solutions, Dsource, National Computer Center (NCC), and ePLDT.