While some larger agencies operate their own data centres, smaller agencies “don’t have that luxury” and would benefit from a consolidated data hub, said Denis Villorente, Director, Advance Science & Technology Institute, Department of Science & Technology, the Philippines.
“If we had more computing capacity, gone would be the reason why there’s little data sharing between government and the public,” said Villorente. “It’s a chicken and egg situation.”
“A lot of data is going out of the Philippines because we don’t have a good local peering environment,” he added. “We’re stuck at the stage where we can provide web pages and forms online, but very few transactional services.”
George Kintanar, President, Chief Information Officers Forum Inc., a non-for-profit organisation of GCIOs that is driving the proposal, noted: “We don’t want to find ourselves at the mercy of the private sector, which is what happened to COMELEC (Commission on Elections) during the last elections [in May 2010) when it was declined capacity.”
A data centre would slash government spend on communications – PHP 8 billion (US$182 million) - by a half, said Kintanar. The idea would be to phase in shared services “slowly but surely,” starting with GIS as a service, he said.
Following a model similar to Singapore’s One Map project, which provides an online base map for all government agencies, the Philippines ‘One Nation One Map’ (www.onenationmap.gov.ph) would be used by 23 agencies already committed to the project.
Cyber security would be another discipline to benefit from a government data centre, noted Kintanar.
The data centre would be located on a 1.4 hectare plot of land behind the National Internal Revenue Building in Quezon City.