Mayor Isko vows to pursue construction of national fiber backbone to connect PH islands

Published November 23, 2021, 1:51 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

Presidential aspirant and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Tuesday, Nov. 23, vowed that he will invest in improving the internet connectivity in the country if he wins the presidency next year.

Presidential aspirant and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso gestures infront of the audience during their “listening tour” visit, along with his running mate and vice presidential aspirant Doc Willie Ong and Aksyon Demokratiko senatoriables Samira Gutoc, Carl Balita and Atty. Jopet Sison at the Ynares auditorium in Binangonan, Rizal on Nov. 23 2021. (PHOTO BY ALI VICOY/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Domagoso, along with his running mate Dr. Willie Ong and Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial slate, held a meeting with around 300 youth and students at the Ynares Auditorium in Binangonan, Rizal on Tuesday.

In his speech, Domagoso cited the need to improve the internet bandwidth in the country and his plan to build a national fiber backbone.

“’Yung (the) connectivity, we will invest more with our bandwidth to make it available to our students in relation to blended future distance learning, which is merong face-to-face and meron pa din (there will still be) online learning,” Domagoso said.

While this is already being implemented in the city of Manila, Domagoso said it can also be done in other places where students are provided mobile data allocations.

“Now, can this thing be duplicated? Yes, it can. Can it be escalated? Yes, it can also. Because that’s the way to do it para mairaos natin ang pag-aaral ng mga bata sa panahon ng pandemya (to raise the quality of education of the children during the pandemic),” the Manila mayor added.

Boosting the digital infrastructure in the country will be one of Domagoso’s priorities.

Should he become president, Domagoso said he would pursue to build and complete a national fiber backbone that will connect all schools, government offices, law enforcement, and other agencies requiring connectivity.

“If government allocates even just 10 to 15 percent of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH) infrastructure funds, the amount, partnered with the private sector, would only be P45 billion,” Domagoso pointed out.

“After all, the information highway is itself a very important part of infrastructure development where the Philippines is a laggard compared to many countries,” he said.

“We can deliver this within the first two years of a new administration, if our people will decide on May 9 next year, ‘na iba naman, innovative naman’ ang leadership,” Domagoso added.

His proposal has been repeatedly rejected due to the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s low absorptive capacity.

“Only truly knowledgeable experts in information communications technology with hands on experience will run our systems to catch up with the modern world, just as we will re-orient our educational system towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses. Otherwise, mapag-iiwanan tayo ng panahon (we will be left behind) and our young people will be unable to get well-paying jobs,” he said.

Domagoso also promised that he would support public education by providing students with tablets and free bandwidth, school supplies as well as COVID hygiene kits, while teachers will be given laptops and free bandwidth connection.