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Smart collaborates with International Alert Philippines to hack for peace

Smart Communications (Smart), through its developer network, Smart DevNet, teamed up with International Alert Philippines (IAP) to hold the very first #PeaceHack aimed to help mitigate the effects of conflict in the Philippines through technology.

The recently concluded peace hackathon gathered a total of 22 teams, each armed with ideas on how to help understand and prevent conflict which are to be executed through apps. Out of the 22, only six teams were able to advance to the final round–a pitching session before representatives from IAP, DevCon, Web Geek Philippines, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“There will be a great difference if we will be able to understand carefully and help prevent the root cause of societal issues. We believe that through the help of technology, we will be able to assess and monitor issues as soon as they arise, to prevent them from progressing into full-blown conflicts,” said Paul Pajo of Smart DevNet.

“We see technology as a tool in peace-building. Technology can help address or highlight issues that provoke conflict. Technology can also create the conditions for peace for thrive,” said Nikki Philline de la Rosa of IAP.

After the two-day peace hack, Hubert Bryan Ursua emerged as the first-prize winner with Peace Talk, a text messaging-based chatbot for people affected by disasters or conflicts. Meanwhile, Michael Gerard Galon bagged second prize with PHOM or Ph Opinion Mining, an app which provides information and sentiment about issues and events in the Philippines, specifically for Filipinos living abroad. The third prize went to Regine Reyes and Renate Gouveia for SAAN or Social Action Advocacy Network, an app for providing feedback on government services and enabling like-minded individuals to jointly push a particular cause.

The winners received trophies and cash prizes totalling PHP 100,000.