Bohol fisherfolk get first crack on TV White Space technology

The pilot deployment in the country of TV White Space technology – which are basically unused TV channels – will be conducted among fishermen of Bohol as part of an effort to help improve fisherfolk registration in the island-province.

Shown during the MOA signing are (L-R) DA-BFAR regional director Andres Bojos, ICTO chief Louis Casambre, Microsoft PH head Karrie Ilagan, Ecosystem Improved For Sustainable Fisheries (Ecofish) Project chief-of-party Geronimo Silvestre, and USAID's regional legal adviser Randy Ali

Shown during the MOA signing are (L-R) DA-BFAR regional director Andres Bojos, ICTO chief Louis Casambre, Microsoft PH head Karrie Ilagan, Ecosystem Improved For Sustainable Fisheries (Ecofish) Project chief-of-party Geronimo Silvestre, and USAID’s regional legal adviser Randy Ali

The Information and Communication Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICT Office), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture (DA-BFAR), Microsoft Philippines, and USAID recently entered into a partnership to test the technology on fisherfolk registration for municipalities located in the Danajon Reef Marine Key Biodiversity Area in Bohol.

The partnership will use TV White Space to establish connectivity that functions similar to a Wi-Fi in remote areas and facilitate mobile fisherfolk registration in the municipalities of Talibon, Trinidad, Bien Unido, Ubay and Carlos P Garcia.

The initiative will allow local government units to access BFAR’s Fisherfolk Registration System (FRS) directly from the field, eliminating the tedious process of completing the forms on paper and encoding of entries back in the municipal hall. This will enable municipalities to immediately distribute critical IDs, certificates and licenses to fisherfolk especially in remote areas.

Additionally, field operatives from the Philippine National Police, Bantay Dagat, and BFAR can immediately access and connect to a central database to monitor compliance in gear and vessels.

The partnership will also provide Internet access for the target municipalities. Public institutions such as clinics, public schools and barangay halls will be transformed to e-knowledge hubs and will also serve as mobile registration centers especially for fishermen located in remote or traditionally low turn-out areas.

Microsoft Philippines will be providing Windows 8-powered tablets to aid mobility for the registration.

“The TV White Space technology is an example of how untapped resources such as unused television channels can be leveraged to empower people’s lives like our fisherfolk with a better and convenient registration system. Furthermore, we hope that the TV White Space technology can reinforce the replication of registration efforts like this in other underserved areas to transform more communities,” said Microsoft Philippines managing director Karrie Ilagan.

The technology trial of TV White Space-supported fisherfolk registration is targeted for full implementation in September of this year. Results will be gathered and considered for potential expansion on 2014.

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