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7th Knowledge Exchange Conference: Self-reliant CeCs for Self-reliant communities

The 7th Knowledge Exchange Conference on Community eCenters (KEC 7) marked the successful conclusion of a vision that shaped the Philippine CeC landscape and the start of a new journey towards self-reliance.

Approximately 350 delegates, the biggest KEC number yet, joined the annual knowledge exchange tradition, held from November 22-23 in Baguio City. This year's theme, Self-reliant CeCs for Self-reliant Communities, was a momentous departure from previous KEC themes of sustainability and celebration.

The concept of self-reliance was the common thread which bound the sessions and the panels of the KEC 7. The first day featured the panels on CeC Development and Management, Technology Solutions, Capability Building, while the second day tackled the sessions on CeC Services and Content, and Promotions and Advocacy.

The 2-day conference was made even more informative and interactive with the conduct of the PhilCeCNet business meeting, a gathering of the stakeholders of the PhilCeCNet, the Executive Session with local chief executives, and the consultations for the proposed regionalization of the PhilCeCNet. The 7th KEC was not all work. The Marketplace of Ideas continued to be the creative outlet for many CeCs to share what they were doing and the first-time debut of the Barangay Fiesta allowed many participants to show off their local costumes and delicacies in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie.

Among the awaited highlights of the 7th KEC were the awarding of the 2nd Philippine CeC Excellence Awards, the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the new crop of CeCs and the launch of the Strategic Roadmap of the Philippine CeC Program for 2011-2016. The successor roadmap follows the footsteps of the previous roadmap launched three years ago. It will no longer focus solely on roadmap succeeds the previous roadmap addressing the immediate concerns of its CeCs but will be more intent in creating self-reliance and impact in the communities in deems to serve.

"You yourselves have said it — a connected Filipino is a stronger Filipino, a connected Filipino has more choices for a better life," said Engr. Denis Villorente, OIC of the National Computer Center and keynote speaker of the 7th KEC. "Our CeCs are the key components that can help development... I see a gratifying picture of complementation and support that can only mean the benefit of our rural countrymen."

Speaking in behalf of Depart of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo and Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) Executive Director Louis Casambre, Engr. Villorente further expressed their support for the program as it takes on a new vision for the next six years. "The Department of Science and Technology, the Information and Communication Technology Office and the National Computer Center adds its hands and resources to yours, supporting you as you move into the barangrays and with all the tools of ICT, take on the task of instilling and creating self-reliance for CeCs and communities they serve," concludes Engr. Villorente.

The 7th KEC was organized by the DOST-ICTO, the National Computer Center and the PhilCeCNet. This year's KEC was also supported by its sponsors: Intel, Smart Communications, Foundation, Enchanted Kingdom, PLDT, Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCARRD), the Molave Development Foundation, Inc. (MDFI), the province of Nueva Vizcaya and the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU).

KEC 7 materials and photos will be made available in thePhilCeCNet portal and the PhilCeCNet Online Community.

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