By Oliver Ross Rivera
KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Nov. 24 (PIA) – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is expected to narrow the digital divide in far-flung and conflict-affected barangays in the SOCCSKSARGEN region.
During the Local Serbisyo Caravan at Barangay Balabag, Kidapawan City, DOST 12 OIC Regional Director Engr. Sammy Malawan revealed that they will bring STARBOOKS, a digital science and technology library to target areas of the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).
“The best approach to bringing the benefits of science, technology and innovation closer to the people in the countryside is to reach out to the community in person,” Malawan said.
STARBOOKS (Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly-Operated Kiosk Station) as Cotabato Provincial Director Michael Mayo elaborated is a standalone ‘science digital library’ designed to provide science and technology-based learning resources to geographically-isolated schools and local government units (LGUs).
Mayo added that since it’s the new normal, STARBOOKS will be deployed in barangay halls instead of schools.
“Dati kasi school-to-school kami. Ngayon ang gagawin namin, maglalagay kami ng outdoor wifi facility sa barangay area para maka access lahat. Magbibigay din kami ng 10 tablets for community use,” Mayo said.
DOST 12 will also provide livelihood assistance with appropriate training, consultancy services and provision of equipment which will generate additional income and local employment for the beneficiaries.
Regarding livelihood training and technology dissmenination, Mayo explained that DOST personnel will assess each community and determine what commodities are available in the area. This, he said, will be the basis for appropriate technologies for dissemination.
Aside from this, barangays can also request for disaster prevention and mitigation training and technologies such as Early Warning Systems, Risk Assessment and Environmental Management from DOST.
103 barangays across SOCCSKSARGEN are identified for the implementation of RCSP, a whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) institutionalized through President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70. (ORVR)
By Oliver Ross Rivera