Saturday, July 4, 2009

P5M virtual library to boost Davao Region’s investment, tourism Opportunities

The pearly white beaches in Mati, the unexplored islands in Kopiat, Davao del Norte and the exotic wonders held by the pristine clean waters of Samal Island will soon be within your fingers’ reach.

Investors and tourists looking for information about the Davao Region no longer have to go to the specific cities and provinces they want to know about to get that information. With the virtual library, they only need to access the Internet right at the privacy of their homes or offices.

The Davao Region Geographic Information Network or DR-GIN, is a P5 million project that aims to aims to strengthen the presence of the Davao Region online. The long name aside it is actually a virtual library that aims to promote local and regional development through information sharing.

“It is expected to facilitate the promotion of the region’s localities for trade, investment and tourism and cater to the needs of the private sector for business planning and research,” DR-GIN chairperson and National Economic Development Authority XI Director Maria Lourdes Lim said.

The virtual library project became official after the signing last June 23, 2009 of the Memorandum of Agreement among the different local executives of the Davao Region as well as the regional directors and office heads of the involved national agencies to include the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Finance, National Statistical Coordination Board and NEDA among others.

Armed with geo-referenced information on the region’s business and investment prospects as well as its bio-geophysical, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, investors can easily pin-point and decide which areas of investment they can pour their money into. The easily-available information and economic profile will provide a one-stop information center which will aid investors in their market research and business planning.

Each of the signatories, Lim said, have agreed to “provide technical expertise and financial assistance as well as contribute to the pool of information technology resources for possible linkages and utilization in the regional GIS.”

Lim said the virtual library project will specifically address issues involving data gaps, duplicating data for specific indicators and other issues that usually lead to confusion and faulty data analysis by both government and the private sector.

While there is available virtual information about the different Davao Region, these are scattered information that sometimes contains conflicting data leading to confusion among future investors and tourists. Lim said they expect to remedy this by unifying the region’s major data sources into the DR-Gin Network.

Under the project, the network of local government units, the regional offices of the national government agencies, the congressional district offices and the private sector will make available up-to-date, accurate and reliable information about the Davao Region.

With exhaustive information easily accessible to investors, the region can expect more investor interest in the region which can translate to more actual investments and tourist visits.

“Aside from facilitating the promotion of the region’s localities for trade, investment and promotion the project will also respond to the professional and business information needs of the region’s private sector for research, business planning and investments,” Lim said.

The project will not forever be at the mercy of available government funds since they have already planned strategies for its sustainability. In the long term, DR-GIN will expand its operations and will provide other IT services for a fee such as web mail, web hosting, online advertisements, video and teleconferencing and related ECT capability trainings. (Edge, July 2009)

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