BEST INNOVATION. Students of the Dumolog National High School in Roxas City, Capiz present their mobile emergency assistance application that will connect end-users faster to responders with just a click of the finger during the 1st goIT Digital Innovation Fair 2022 held in Iloilo City on Thursday (Oct 27, 2022). The group's Tabang mobile emergency application bested 29 other IT applications created by learners from 21 schools division of the Department of Education. (Photo screen grab from DepEd live streaming)

ILOILO CITY – Students of the Dumolog National High School in Roxas City, Capiz have developed a mobile emergency assistance application that will connect end-users faster to responders with just a click of the finger.

Dubbed "Tabang", Hiligaynon word for aid, the app was created by a five-member group of high school learners – Devine Grace Acurantes, Ysha Sam Alejaga, John Kenneth Fernando, Raymond Saenz, and Vina Mae Jocsing with their coach Adonis P. Besa.

The group was declared grand champion among 30 information technology (IT) innovations produced by learners from the 21 schools' divisions of the Department of Education (DepEd) and showcased during the 1st goIT Digital Innovation Fair 2022 held in Iloilo City on Thursday.

"In Capiz, there is no existing unified one system for emergency situations. Responding institutionalizations only provide emergency hotlines to be contacted in emergency, which is not accessible to majority of Capiznons," the group said in defending their entry before a panel of international and national judges.

The application has four features: the "hotline" where users can call default emergency institutions in one click; "I need help" containing the type, specific description, and images of the incident and allows the user to track the location of responders; "I am safe" where a prepared message is automatically sent to the user's emergency contact; and "I am updated" for the user to know latest emergency reports, safety tips and updates from concerned institutionalizations.

Before the development of the application, the learners underwent a weeklong training with the schools' division of Roxas City and the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on design thinking model, app development, and pitching the product, Besa said.

The TCS is an IT services, consulting, and business solutions firm that partnered with DepEd for the digital innovation fair.

Besa, in an interview Friday, said the learners are planning to present the application to the Capiz provincial government for possible adoption.

"The app is very beneficial to all been Capize┼łos, especially during emergency situations. If adopted, it can already be developed into a full-blown and functional app," he said.

DepEd 6 (Western Visayas) Director Ramir Uytico, in a separate interview, said the digital innovation fair is a product of their partnership with the TCS that could serve as a benchmark for other regional offices of the department.

"Our focus now is to produce digital innovators. So aside from their capability to design applications they now have chances to get employed in the years to come," Uytico added.

He said they would continue with the partnership with the TCS and this time would focus on training that would respond to the needs of big companies side by side with training teachers on computational skills.

"We foresee the needs of learners in the years to come and one of those is the computational skills" he added.

The winners received a trophy, individual medals, and certificates. (PNA)