DICT to roll out free Wi-Fi, VSAT facilities in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi
DAVAO CITY—Even Mindanao’s remotest parts can finally access the world wide web next month as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) rolls out free Wi-Fi sites and very small aperture terminal (VSAT) facilities in the islands of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi Tawi.
DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said the project would ensure that all areas of the country, including the remotest parts of Mindanao, could access the internet for free, hence, would not get left behind under the “new normal.”
“This 2021, your DICT will strengthen the roll-out of free Wi-Fi sites, particularly in remote and underdeveloped areas, to provide Filipinos opportunities and help them better adapt to the new normal,” Honasan said in a statement. “Wherever you are in the country, your DICT will strive to reach you,” he added.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said residents of these remote islands had to look for places on higher elevations to just to catch cellphone signals from telecommunication facility near the border with Malaysia.
“With the help of DICT and MinDA, the people from these areas will no longer be isolated from the rest of the country,” Piñol said.
The project will be carried out by the DICT Mindanao Cluster1, with the support of MinDA, the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Coast Guard and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm).
Two VSAT facilities each will be provided to the islands of Taganak and Mapun. Wifi access and additional VSAT facilities will be distributed in 24 communities in Basilan, Sulu, and the rest of Tawi-Tawi. DICT will also provide four desktop computer packages to each of the local governments of Taganak Island and Mapun Island; twenty-one packages of thin client—a computer that runs from resources stored on a central server instead of a localized hard drive—will be given to Mapun National High School and Turtle Islands National High School.
In Basilan province, those that will be directly linked to the internet include the Sumisip district hospital in Sumisip town; the Ediborah P. Yap Memorial Hospital in Lamitan City, the Basilan State College in Isabela City and the Tipo-Tipo townhall in Tipo-Tipo town. In Sulu, free internet connections will be available at the municipal hall of Jolo and the Sulu provincial hospital, also in Jolo; the Sulu State College, the Mindanao State University and the provincial capitol of Sulu in Patikul town; the Parang district hospital in Parang town and the Luuk district hospital in Luuk town.
In Tawi-Tawi, the internet will finally be accessible at the provincial capitol of Tawi Tawi, the Bongao municipal hall and the municipal disaster risk reduction management office and the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Bongao, in Panglima Sugala townhall, rural health center, and the Batu Batu National High School in Panglima Sugala town; at the Sitangkai police station, municipal hall and birthing clinic in Sitangkai town; at the Turtle Islands National High School and Turtle Islands municipal hall on Turtle Islands; at the Mapun National High School and Mapun municipal hall in Mapun town; at the Languyan municipal hospital in Languyan town and in the municipal hall of Sibutu in Sibutu town.
Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Wesmincom Chief, will secure the DICT teams who will install the VSAT facilities and Wi-Fi connections in targeted areas.
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