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Empowering Borongan: Advancing Smart City Initiatives in the Philippines

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In the pursuit of transforming Borongan into Eastern Visayas’ pioneer smart city, Shane Francis Javier, a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholar and computer engineering student, has taken a pioneering role in developing innovative applications aimed at streamlining the city government’s diverse services.

Image credits: Department of Science and Technology, Region 8, PIA

Collaborating with a team of computer engineering students from Eastern Samar State University (ESSU), including Tristan Ehron Tumbaga, Rommel Alidon, and Armand Ralph Anacta, Javier spearheaded the creation of various technological solutions, marking significant progress towards the city’s smart city aspirations.

One of the flagship projects in Borongan’s smart city initiative is the Libre Sakay system, a brainchild of Javier and his team. This system revolutionises free transport services by providing recipients with QR-generated IDs and advanced bus tracking features, thereby offering seamless access to the city’s transportation network.

Through a dedicated mobile application, passengers can effortlessly monitor bus locations and arrival times, generate QR codes for authentication purposes, and access a host of other user-friendly functionalities. At the heart of the system lies a sophisticated infrastructure installed on the buses, enabling real-time tracking of their movements and facilitating efficient passenger management.

By harnessing smart technologies, the Libre Sakay system not only enhances the commuting experience for Borongan residents but also represents a significant leap forward in the city’s journey towards digital transformation.

In addition to the Libre Sakay system, Javier and his team have been instrumental in developing the Legislative Tracking System, a centralised platform aimed at enhancing efficiency, transparency and public engagement in the legislative process. This groundbreaking system enables seamless tracking of legislative documents, streamlining document management procedures, and providing constituents with easy access to public documents such as city ordinances.

With its user-friendly interface and robust features, the Legislative Tracking System underscores Borongan’s commitment to embracing technology-driven solutions to address governance challenges and foster greater civic participation.

The remarkable progress achieved by Javier and his fellow students has garnered recognition and support from key stakeholders, including DOST officials and Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda. During the launch of the Libre Sakay app on March 4, DOST Undersecretary Sancho A. Mabborang lauded the students’ ingenuity and pledged continued collaboration to further enhance the city’s technological infrastructure.

Mayor Agda echoed similar sentiments, emphasising the transformative impact of technology on transportation, emergency response, and overall city governance. He reiterated the city’s commitment to leveraging technology to build a sustainable and efficient smart city that caters to the needs of its residents.

Furthermore, under the guidance of Prof. Charito Sabate, Director of the Smart Technologies, Research, Development, and Innovation Center of ESSU, other computer engineering students are actively involved in developing innovative solutions to address various societal challenges.

From a rescue app and a registry of inhabitants and migrants to Systems for Medical Access and Resourceful Technologies (SMART) aimed at enhancing healthcare services, these initiatives underscore Borongan’s holistic approach to embracing technology for the betterment of its residents’ lives.

Earlier in March, representatives from DOST-PSTO Eastern Samar, ESSU Smart Technologies Research Development and Innovation Center, and key figures from the Diocese of Borongan convened in Borongan City, Eastern Samar, to deliberate on SMART STI interventions aimed at digitising the Diocese’s records management system.

The meeting centred on crafting a digital platform leveraging ICT solutions to optimise administrative workflows and bolster data security. This collaborative effort underscores a shared dedication to harnessing technology for the betterment of the community and sets a precedent for other NGOs and institutions across the province to follow suit.

As Borongan continues its journey towards becoming a fully-fledged smart city, the contributions of Javier and his peers stand as a testament to the power of innovation in driving positive change and shaping the future of urban living.


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