Philippines gov't to debate mandating open source

Congress is set to conduct hearings on the proposed Free Open Source Software (FOSS) Act of 2006, which mandates the use of open-source software in government. If enacted, the law is likewise expected to benefit small companies.

In an interview with Computerworld Philippines, Congressman Teodoro Casi'o, author of FOSS Act 2006 (or House Bill no. 5769), said the use of FOSS and open standards would benefit both the government and private sector, particularly small-to-medium enterprises (SME).

'SMEs will have more access to ICT and they need all the competitive advantages they can get with IT,' Casi'o said in a forum Monday attended by delegates across the Southeast Asian region.

The lawmaker described his proposed bill on FOSS as 'timely' as there are now several initiatives promoting its usage by many sectors of civil society.

FOSS Act 2006, which was first filed in Congress last September, mandates the use of FOSS in government and educational institutions.

The bill requires learning organizations to issue FOSS certifications and basically bans schools for exclusive purchases of proprietary software, and then provides non-fiscal incentives to companies engaged and using FOSS.