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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Jul 27, 2022


President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has laid out his vision for the country and how his administration intends to accomplish it during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

One of the President’s priorities is to connect every island in the country and every Filipino through infrastructure development, both physical and digital. This is vital in ensuring that no Filipino community will live in isolation and disconnected from the rest of the country and the world. In this day and age, connectivity, whether in terms of physical access to basic needs, services jobs and livelihood, or online to access information, education, skills, and jobs, is crucial to guarantee that every Filipino can obtain their needs and opportunities for a better life.

President Marcos emphasized on the need to continue the infrastructure program of former President Rodrigo Duterte, stressing that infrastructure development, especially the construction of farm-to-market roads, tourism roads, upgrading of airports and seaports, are vital to the economy. Moreover,infrastructure development spending will be sustained at five to six percent of GDP.

He has also looked into areas where it can be expanded as he aspires to “Build Better More,” particularly in developing our rail transport system, by modernizing the old railway systems. The previous administration has laid out some of these projects, including the Metro Manila Subway, the country’s first-ever underground mass transport system. President Marcos has committed to continuing the ongoing projects not only to boost our economy but also to connect our islands and communities.

Universal connectivity

Realizing the speed at which the world is innovating and how digitalization has become crucial in more aspects of people’s lives and the economy, President Marcos stressed on the need for universal connectivity “to ensure that no citizen is left behind.”

It is a daunting task to bridge the digital divide, because as new opportunities emerge there will also be that continuing need to ensure that other sectors of society not only have access to technology but also are able to keep up with the skills and know-how.

The President’s marching orders for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)under the leadership of Secretary Ivan John Uy: “Deploy digital connectivity across our various islands.”

Among the priorities of the DICT is the Broad Band ng Masa project, which is the blueprint for the deployment of broadband connectivity across the nation. The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and DICT have completed the construction of the International Cable Landing Stations in Baler, Aurora and San Fernando, La Union and the 250-kilometer fiber conduit which will carry the 2 Tbps optical spectrum to DICT’s points of presence and BCDA’s ecozones. Last November 2021, BCDA handed over the keys of landing and repeater stations to DICT. As of May 31, 2022, 73.56 percent are completed in the National Fiber Backbone Phase 1 Project which includes the Fiber Blowing of 209,868.10m of the 253,000m Fiber Optic Cables.

The DICT’s Free Wi-Fi For All Program has already installed 11,618 free Wi-Fi sites nationwide encompassing all 81 provinces and 1,346 cities and municipalities. Meanwhile, the National Government Data Center (NGDC) will provide faster and reliable data exchange among agencies at a lower cost.

Other major programs of the DICT include the upskilling and reskilling program through Digital jobs PH, IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) upskilling and reskilling, and ICT literacy and capacity development in the Countryside; and the Tech4ED/Digital Transformation Centers, which allows Filipinos to have access to shared facilities with various ICT-enabled services and to different relevant digital learning content. The DICT will be upgrading these Tech4ED Centers into Digital Transformation Centers (DTCs) which are recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The DICT is fully committed to concretizing the pronouncements of President Marcos on information technology development and will face this challenge head on by improving the country’s ICT infrastructure to ensure that accessible, fast, reliable, and affordable internet is made available to every Filipino.

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