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The Internet's 10 Most Influential Filipinos

William Torres


Profile.
Bill Torres is the president and co-founder of MosCom Internet (together with Dr. William Gan). He is also the current chief executive of the Philippine Internet Service Organization (PISO). But his commitment to the development of the local Internet scene didn't start there but goes way, way back.

"I was there at the very beginning when it all came up," he said. Bill's affair with IT started in 1966 when he was chosen and sent on a Fulbright Hays grant to pursue a graduate's degree in computer science in the United States. "I was the first Filipino to obtain a Ph.D. in computer science." In the Cory Aquino government years (1986-1992), he was appointed as the managing director of the National Computer Center (NCC) and chaired the Information Technology Coordinating Council (now called the National Information Technology Council or NITC).

Why he's influential.

The Internet's
10 Most Influential
Filipinos

    The Survey

 

What he and others consider as his greatest contribution in the industry happened in 1992 when he initiated the first informal negotiations with the US National Science Foundation to bring the Internet to the Philippines. He was also the first to approach government agencies to sponsor the project. "During those years the government had very little money, fortunately there were other people like Ricardo Gloria and William Padolina who believed as I did that we should not wait to get the Internet into our country," he said. Today, his pioneering efforts have earned the unofficial title among his circles as "the father of Philippine Internet," and said he has no qualms about the results. "I believe the industry is enjoying a healthy growth in our country despite many difficulties (i.e., very expensive leased lines and dial-up lines) and uncertainties (metering, convergence policy issues, e-commerce, etc.)."

Visions for the Net.
"The Internet will be the main information and communication system for the world and for our country." 1966 to 1999 seems to be such a long time to be in the business, and we wondered if this has tired or hindered him from playing in a field dominated mostly by a younger lot. "Not at all," he said.

"What is perceived by most are the actions, events, happenings and implementation, but few ever notice and experience the visioning, planning, study, negotiating and startup. I was there at the beginning when the opportunity came up and I was prepared to explore it!"

 


This article by Janette Toral, Franchette Soriano, Emir Samonte, Anthony Rola and Carlos Gonzales was published in The Web Philippines January/February 1999 issue. WIRED! Philippines thanks TWP editor-in-chief Heinz Bulos for giving us permission to republish the article.

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