A total of 83 locations in South Cotabato province have been identified by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the United National Development Program (UNDP) as priority areas for the “Free Wi-Fi for All” program.
Pam Galenzoga, UNDP institutional development officer, said Tuesday the province is included in the second phase of the initiative, which aims to provide wider Wi-Fi or wireless networking access in the country.
Galenzoga said the priority areas are among the 344 sites in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) identified by the DICT and UNDP for the program’s rollout, which is now in the preparatory stage in the province.
The program has also identified 116 sites in North Cotabato, 70 in Sarangani, 65 in Sultan Kudarat, and 10 in this city.
Galenzoga said 17 sites were identified in Banga town, 14 in Tampakan, 12 in Tboli, 10 in Norala, eight in Lake Sebu, seven in Koronadal City, six in Tantangan, four in Surallah, three in Sto. Niño and two in Tupi.
The target sites include schools, plazas, and other public places, she added.
“The 10 LGUs were chosen since they have high poverty incidence, estimated between 22.41 to 64 percent and considered higher than the national average of 21.6 percent,” she said in a report.
Galenzoga said the priority sites are considered geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas or GIDA, one of the program’s main goals to help disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
To speed up the program, South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. has created a project coordinating team composed of officials and representatives from various offices and agencies.
A project briefer said the “Free Wi-Fi for All” program is in line with Republic Act 10929 or an Act Establishing the Free Internet Access Program in Public Places in the Country” whose primary objective is to provide free broadband internet access across the country to accelerate economic, social, and educational opportunities as well as reduce the digital divide.
Source: Philippines News Agency