Jinggoy Estrada vows to help ‘internet poor’ Filipinos
MANILA, Philippines — After a global survey named the Philippines as one of the countries with the highest “internet poor” populations in Southeast Asia, UniTeam senatorial candidate Jinggoy Estrada on Friday, April 22, vowed to allocate funds and introduce legislation to help more Filipinos access the Internet.
Citing a 2022 survey of the Austria-based World Data Labs Internet Poverty Index, Estrada said that out of 169 countries surveyed, the Philippines ranked 38th among nations deemed “Internet poor” as a share of its population.
Based on the same survey, Estrada said an estimated 58 million Filipinos – or more than half of the Philippine population – cannot afford a 1-Gigabyte per-month Internet package.
“During the pandemic, when Filipinos badly need Internet connection to work from home or study online, it’s most unfortunate that they can’t afford even the most basic, or cheapest Internet service,” he stressed.
The veteran lawmaker said the situation is even worse at the household level. Citing results of the National ICT Household Survey released in 2020, he said 84 percent of Philippine households do not have Internet connection.
To help remedy the situation, Estrada he will prioritize the provision of subsidies to the poor on the cost of Internet services should he succeed in his Senate comeback bid.
At the same time, Estrada said he will push for the establishment of a national broadband network to provide free Internet access to connect government agencies as well as households in remote areas.
Given the results of the World Data Labs survey, Estrada said it’s worrisome that half of the country’s youth relied entirely on printed modules for their education, which is insufficient to prepare them for a knowledge-based, Internet-dependent future.
Estrada said skills for emerging jobs require familiarity with technology and the Internet which is out of reach for most Filipinos simply because they can’t afford to access the World Wide Web.
He added that access to the Internet has become a basic service essential to each Filipino household like electricity and water. “Access to the Internet is a right that every Filipino should enjoy and benefit from,” he stressed.
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