Participants in first e-gov’t hackathon gather to tackle PH problems

By Rafi Koteh

The Hack4PH pre-hackathon conference was held on Saturday, November 10, at the PICC where all qualifiers from Luzon converged in just one venue.

Hack4PH is the first Philippine eGovernment Hackathon that aims to co-create innovative and citizen-centered solutions for challenges facing the country. These challenges encompass four areas: making telecommuting work, digitizing public information, enriching travel experience, and achieving zero hunger.

“A big opportunity awaits everyone who participates. The government needs your brilliant minds and ideas,” said George C. Kintanar, chairman of the CIO Forum Foundation, an organization comprised of former and incumbent chief of information officers (CIOs) in the government.

“Share it to us so that we will be able to come up with something very dramatic for our people to feel,” Kintanar said.

Winners of the competition could win as much as P100,000 and the opportunity to make their solution a reality through the Department of Information and Communications Technology‘s (DICT’s) infrastructure, platform, and capacity building programs.

In order to provide the qualified teams with a comprehensive understanding of the public sector’s innovation tools, technologies, and frameworks, the pre-conference was organized by the DICT and the CIO Forum Foundation, Inc.

The conference also sought to give the participants a chance to network with the partners who helped implement the conference.

The event consisted of several keynote lectures and deep-dive workshops delivered by experts in their fields. Speakers included Robin Vogelaar, a social impact consultant from The Netherlands; Jikyeong Kang, president and dean of the Asian Institute of Management; and Herl Ramos, head of the experience education and advocacy and customer experience design of Globe Telecom.

They covered topics within their respective specialties such as “Using big data for social good”, “Disruptive and inclusive innovation”, and Human centered design as a tool for innovation”.

Other partners that contributed to the conference through the provision of either resources or speakers include: Kezar Innovations, Microsoft Philippines, Nokia, Pondr Co-Working Space, the National Nutrition Council, and the Presidential Communications Operations Office-Freedom of Information (PCOO-FOI).

The Hack4PH pre-conference was also supported by the following government departments and institutions: the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Institute for Labor Studies, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

“We acknowledge that the DICT alone or the government alone cannot actually service the needs of our citizenry,” Antonette T. Torres, the National Government Portal management consultant, stated during the event.

“We need your expertise, your commitment, and the love of our country to make things happen as they should be.”

Thirty four teams were qualified to compete in Hack4PH out of the 300 entries from all over the Philippines. The participants came from a diverse background ranging from programmers and developers, to government officials, to students.

The competition is set to take place from November 23 to 26.

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