The “Free Wi-Fi for All” project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was launched Thursday in Brgy. Matina Biao here.
The Wi-Fi activation was held simultaneously in five key areas – Albay, Isabela, Lanao del Sur, Palawan, and Davao City, with Quezon City as the main site of the project launching.
Mayor Sara Z. Duterte, in a message read by Councilor Mabel Acosta, lauded DICT and UNDP for conceptualizing the program, which is geared at bringing free internet access to the general public.
“This initiative is an attestation of your commitment in carrying out your functions in public service,” Duterte said, adding the program will have a positive impact on the socio-economic development.
She also reminded the residents of Matina Biao to be responsible in using the technology and to take advantage of it to further enrich their knowledge and at the same strengthen families and the people in the community.
Grade 7 pupil Thomas Palabrica, who was among those that witnessed the launching, said it will now be easy for learners like him to do school research and other school-related work.
“What we usually do is go to internet cafes in nearby barangays to do research, but with this free Wi-Fi right in our community it will be of great help for us who are still studying,” he said.
Barangay Captain Hilario Malaki II assured the city government, as well as the DICT and UNDP, to “take good care of the project for the benefit of the children and the youth.”
Alka Aneja of UNDP said internet access has become a necessity in “creating development programs, connecting to project partners and even talking to friends and families across the world.”
Aneja said 45 percent of the population in the country is not yet connected to the internet, creating “a huge gap in terms of human development index.”
“The internet today increases the opportunity for everyone not only for students but for youth seeking jobs and for others to explore new markets, and also it facilitates good governance,” she said.
The DICT-UNDP “Free Wi-Fi for All” project will be made available in 60 other barangays, mostly in remote areas of the city including Paquibato and Marilog, said Davao City Information Technology Center officer-in-charge Chito Mercado.
Mercado said some 62 public schools will also be recipients of the project, in collaboration with the Department of Education (DepEd).
DICT regional director Erlito Tancontian said there are already 15,000 free Wi-Fi sites in the country, with the number increasing by as many as 100,000 by 2022. (PNA)