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The House of Representatives, in partnership with Microsoft Philippines, recently launched the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) e-Learning Center at the House of Representatives Complex in Quezon City.

Located at the ground floor of the House of Representatives main building near the session hall, the ICT e-Learning Center houses 16 personal computers equipped with Microsoft Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office applications. The Internet-enabled ICT facility is available for use to all of the employees of the House, including congressmen. Training sessions for the employees will also be scheduled on a continuous basis.

Representative Simeon L. Kintanar, who is also the chairman of the House Committee on ICT revealed the committee’s plans of fully integrating technology in the House of Representatives. “The committee aims to train 500 congress employees a year with the ICT e-Learning Center. Aside from this, we also plan to invite members of congress to a two-day session to re-orient them with IT and refresh their knowledge on computers. More importantly, the committee plans to propose the computerizations of our legislative process beginning with the budget process,” Kintanar said.

House Speaker Jose De Venecia has affirmed the plans for computerization, “I am happy to announce that in the 1,700-pages thick budget that was approved, we included there the House outlay to computerize the entire House of Representatives.”

De Venecia also expressed optimism and pride in the ICT e-Learning Center project. “I am very happy that Microsoft, one of the greatest companies in the world, agreed to co-venture with the House of Representatives in putting up the ICT e-Learning Center. I am proud to say that we are ahead of the executive department and the Senate in moving forward towards the computerization of the House of Representatives, increasing the capability, proficiency and potential of each member of Congress,” he said.

According to Mark Yambot, Microsoft Philippines Corporate Affairs Director, Microsoft Philippines has been working closely with the government to enable Filipinos realize their full potential and transform the Philippines into a globally competitive economy.

“We believe the House of Representatives is the voice of each Filipino echoed through 236 congressmen. It is only fitting that the link between the citizens and their congressmen is enhanced by harnessing information technology to make governance more efficient, productive and transparent,” said Yambot.

“Technology is linking people and creating opportunities like no other time in world history. Today over 10 million Filipinos access the internet on a regular basis. A good majority of the Filipinos working abroad use computers in their careers to stay in touch with their families back home. These millions of online Filipinos represent a constituency that is relatively well-informed and economically independent,” Yambot added.

During the launch of the ICT e-Learning Center, 30 employees of the House were recognized as the first graduates of the program. These employees have previously undergone train-the trainer computer courses at the National Computer Center and a number of them have received their Microsoft Office Specialist certifications. These employees will serve as the trainers at the ICT e-Learning Center, providing instruction, guidance and development to House members and employees.

Photo above shows House Speaker Jose De Venecia, Jr. experimenting with one of the personal computers at the new ICT e-Learning Center at the House of Representatives Complex. With him are (standing, left to right) Dittas Formoso, Microsoft Philippines Enterprise Marketing Manager, Representative and House chair of the ICT Committee Simeon L. Kintanar, Representative Abraham Mitra of the 2nd district of Palawan, Mark Yambot, Microsoft Philippines Corporate Affairs Director, and Representative Gilbert Remulla of the 2nd district of Cavite.

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