Pirated software rampant among Philippine govt

Local IT agency raises alert on rising use of illegal software among government bodies and reiterates call to adopt open source as cheaper alternative.

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

The Philippine Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) has warned about the rising use of pirated software among government bodies, and reiterated its call for "open source" to be deployed as an alternative.

The CICT disclosed in a media forum last week that several government agencies have resorted to using illegal copies of software tools instead of spending millions of dollars for licensed software.

The country's policy-making body, which is tasked to promote technology use in government, did not name the government agencies, noting only that the Philippine government should seriously look into open source as a cheaper alternative.

According to the CICT, illegal copies of the most popular operating systems are often used in the public sector because these applications are easily available.

Antonette Torres, iSchool project manager at the CICT, told local media: "[Open source software] could drastically bring down the cost of computerization of public schools and government offices in the country."

The CICT previously revealed that it was "working on" several Linux-based applications in preparation for government deployment, and is also urging the use of a Linux-based OS "Edubuntu" or Ubuntu Education Edition.

Software piracy continues to plague the Philippines with the piracy rate unchanged at 69 percent, according to a Business Software Alliance report in May.

In March, a coalition of local law enforcement agencies launched a nationwide campaign against software piracy, focusing primarily on business districts in the Philippines.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a Filipino freelance IT writer currently based in Saudi Arabia.

Correction: Antonette Torres was incorrectly described as the commissioner of the CICT. He is in fact the iSchool project manager. The story has been updated with the changes. We apologize for the error.