By Roy Mabasa
The Provincial Government of Lanao Del Sur has expressed its staunch support for the swift implementation of the Free Wifi-for–All Program under the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In a show of support, Lanao Del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. released a memorandum last week to all city and municipal mayors emphasizing his commitment to “facilitate the rapid roll-out in the province.”
The Free Wifi-for-All Program is a flagship project of the DICT under the leadership of Secretary Gregorio Honasan II that aims to provide free internet to 104,867 sites across the Philippines by 2022.
It was learned that over the last three years, the DICT has faced the challenge of reaching the last mile and providing internet access to the most remote and disadvantaged communities in the country. To date, much of their efforts have been focused on more populated areas with better telecommunication infrastructure in place.
The DICT tapped the UNDP in expediting project delivery for the program and in reaching about 6,000 remote areas where connectivity is most needed.
By January 2020, or within merely nine months into the partnership, UNDP aims to have 4,500 of far-flung, at-risk and vulnerable sites under implementation.
Of the selected areas, over 1,000 are in the Province of Lanao del Sur, with the support of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The collaboration with the DICT allows UNDP to draw on its global expertise in connecting remote communities and supporting digital literacy programs.
In a statement, the UNDP said Adiong and the mayors in the province will be critical in facilitating the successful and rapid implementation of the program in Lanao del Sur, where access to internet will be a critical in improving livelihood, access to information and better education, and improved delivery of social services through digital platforms.