Science and Environment

IT project for fisherfolk pilots in San Pablo City


MANILA, Philippines - The Commission of Information and Communications Technology (CICT) and its partner research institution Ateneo de Manila University recently launched a project that promotes growth and development for fisherfolk communities.

CICT Commissioner Francisco Perez II, students and faculty from the Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering department of the Ateneo de Manila University and representatives of Japanese and Thai partners unveiled the first Telecenter or community e-center in Lake Palacpacin in San Pablo City, Laguna.

The Asia Pacific Telecommunity SHARE Project dubbed “A Broadband Farm to Market Ecosystem for Fisherfolk Communities” is aimed at preventing fish kill incidents using Internet communication technology that can warn fisherfolk when fish kill will occur, thus helping them harvest fish on time.

The project, with its pilot location in Lake Palacpacin aims to warn fisherfolk about the gradation of water quality to prevent fish kill.

Perez said the process starts by measuring the lake’s oxygen levels through the instruments set up around the lake.

The servers were donated by the project’s Japanese and Thai partners.

Fisherfolk also play a crucial role in data gathering by inputting information through an interactive blog such as their catch of the day, be it tilapia, prawns, shrimp or some other seafood, as well as the condition of the lake as they see it.

The data collected by the servers and the information provided by the fisherfolk are then transmitted for analysis and interpretation by experts at the Ateneo de Manila and its partners through broadband Internet connection.

After this, information is disseminated to fisherfolk in easy-to-understand language. An early warning will hopefully help them cope with the occurrence of a fish kill.

If successfully implemented in Lake Palacpacin, the project may be replicated in other parts of the country.

The challenges, according to Perez, is in helping the community understand the process and importance of the project, gathering ample resources for implementation, overcoming time constraints, and ensuring the project’s sustainability.

Ateneo School of Science and Engineering students Michael del Rosario, Gerald Mateo, Mae Villanueva and Chris Favila demonstrated to Japanese and Thai partners, fisherfolk, government representatives and other stakeholders the future website to be used by fisherfolk in providing data about the lake.

The website, a work in progress, contains photos of the project development, data from the servers about the lake, videos of interviews with the locals, and other information on the project.

The students also gave a demonstration on one of the site’s main features — an interactive blog that fisherfolk will use in providing information on the lake. Through the blog, they will be able to post their catch of the day as well as the condition of the lake.

Soon, fisherfolk will be trained on how to use computers, the Internet and the website and eventually make the website fully operational.

For Fernando Espallardo, a consultant of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council, the project is making the fisherfolk’s dream of preventing fish kill a reality.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yuji Inoue, executive adviser of the Telecommunications Technology Committee in Japan, expressed commitment to improving people’s lives by introducing IT to rural communities.

“This is just the beginning. We’re very happy to work with all of you,” he said.

The Asia Pacific Telecommunity SHARE Project is a partnership among Ateneo de Manila University, Manila Observatory, Japan Radio Co., Tokyo University, CICT, PDLT, Smart, Department of Science and Technology, Agricultural Land Reform Office, National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, Telecommunications Technology Committee, and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.

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