The Department of Information and Communications (DICT) will provide internet connectivity to some of the farthest communities and remote islands located at the very edge of the country starting next month.
The DICT on Thursday, February 11, announced that it will begin the rollout of free Wi-Fi sites and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) facilities in geographically isolated islands and communities in the Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) area in March.
“This 2021, your DICT will strengthen the roll-out of Free Wi-Fi sites, particularly in remote and underdeveloped areas, to provide various opportunities for Filipinos and help them better adapt to the new normal,” said DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II.
“Wherever you are in the country, your DICT will strive to reach you,” he added.
The islands of Taganak and Mapun in Tawi-Tawi will be provided with two VSAT facilities each. Twenty four other communities in the BASULTA area will also get VSAT facilities.
Moreover, four desktop computer packages will be provided to the local government unit (LGU) of Taganak Island and four more will be given to Mapun Island LGU.
Meanwhile, 21 thin client packages—a computer that runs from resources stored on a central server instead of a localized hard drive—will be given to Mapun National High School and Turtle Islands National High School.
The islands of Taganak and Mapun are among the group of small islands located just a few kilometers from the border separating Malaysia and the Philippines.
According to Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairman Emmanuel Piñol, residents of the islands need to go to higher elevations just to get cell phone signals from a Malaysian telecommunication facility.
The following are the locations in BASULTA area that will be provided with free internet connectivity this first semester:
Sumisip District Hospital
Ediborah P. Yap Memorial Hospital
Basilan State College
Municipal Hall of Tipo-Tipo
Municipal Hall Jolo
Sulu Provincial Hospital
Sulu State College
Mindanao State University in Patikul
Provincial Capitol of Sulu
Parang District Hospital
Luuk District Hospital
Provincial Capitol of Tawi-Tawi
Municipal Hall of Bongao
Mindanao State University in Bongao
Panglima Sugala Town Hall
Panglima Sugala Rural Health Unit
Batu-Batu Nat’l High School
Sitangkai Municipal Police Station
Municipal Hall Sitangkai
Sitangkai Birthing Clinic
Turtle Islands National High School
Turtle Islands Municipal Hall
Mapun National High School
Mapun Municipal Hall
Languyan Municipal Hospital
Municipal Hall of Sibutu
The DICT said the initiative is made possible through the efforts of DICT Mindanao Cluster 1 with the support of MinDA, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command, Philippine Coast Guard and BARMM’s Ministry of Transportation and Communication.
The Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), under Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., will provide security and facilitate the deployment of DICT teams who will install the VSAT facilities and Wi-Fi equipment to the beneficiary areas, it added.