Some residents of the island provinces of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro now have free internet access through wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) hubs installed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
In a statement on Thursday, the DICT said it has completed setting up 80 free Wi-Fi hubs in 20 locations in the two provinces.
“The DICT had been fast-tracking the rollout of the program in light of the pressing connectivity demands of the new normal. The launching of the Internet hotspots in Mindoro is expected to enhance accessibility to the Internet and to bring digital opportunities closer to the people therein,” the DICT said.
The free Wi-Fi sites are part of the DICT’s “Free Wi-Fi for All Program” and institutionalized by Republic Act No. 10929 or the “Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.”
“It is this administration’s strong stand that the Internet is a right. Access to data is a right – much like food, water, shelter, education, and healthcare, among others,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said.
Calapan City Mayor Arnan Panaligan said the free Wi-Fi hubs would help both students with blended learning and those working at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Congressman Alfonso Umali Jr., Occidental Mindoro 2nd District Representative, also highlighted its importance to those unable to afford home broadband or mobile data, noting the importance of internet connectivity in modern society.
“Nailalapit natin ang mga kababayan natin sa mga biyaya ng Internet na talaga namang kapaki -pakinabang sa lahat, lalo sa ating mga mag-aaral (We can bridge the gap between our citizens and the internet which is useful for everybody, particularly students),” Umali said.
The department also provided free internet access at the relief operations center of Cagayan at the Capitol Compound in Tuguegarao City.
This is apart from the free Wi-Fi access and charging provided at the DICT Cagayan provincial office where some residents affected by flooding brought by Typhoon Ulysses were relocated. (PNA)