Launching of DICT Broadband ng Masa Program in Antique

March 3, 2023

Speech of Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda
Launching of DICT Broadband ng Masa Program in Antique
March 3, 2023 | University of Antique, Sibalom, Antique

In this constantly evolving world, our resilience and ability to adapt to changes have allowed us to capitalize on the benefits of new discoveries and technologies. When the pandemic struck, the world suddenly came to a standstill, but we swiftly harnessed the power of technology to shift into a digital environment as an alternative to physical interaction.

However, the pandemic also emphasized the digital gap. As those in the city shifted to virtual learning, work-from-home setup, online banking, and telemedicine; those in the countryside could barely access information from the internet due to the lack of or insufficient broadband connection. The digital divide became even more evident. Digital inclusion needed to be among our priorities.

As the principal author of Republic Act No. 10844, the law that created the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), I have always been aware of the importance of ICT in our nation’s progress. It is vital that we fast-track the provision of affordable, accessible, and reliable internet services to our communities. This is exactly what we are doing today.

I am glad that the DICT, headed by Secretary Ivan John Uy, heeded our call to bring the Broadband ng Masa Program to Antique to install Wi-Fi sites in the different University of Antique campuses, and in other parts of the province, including in indigenous community areas.

Access to the internet not only connects people, but also empowers citizens. A mobile phone with reliable internet connection can allow a student to learn; give a father access to employment opportunities; provide a mother with entrepreneurship possibilities. It will allow families access to information, virtual health and education platforms, and government services that are available online.

We can no longer stall digital transformation—it is inevitable. The launch of these free Wi-Fi sites is only the beginning. We are doing this not only to our kasimanwas in Antique, but also to our kababayans in the different parts of the country with our strengthened partnership with the DICT.

Our goal is to ensure that every community will be connected digitally, and every citizen will have the knowledge and skill to effectively use and access ICTs, so that in this highly-evolving digital world, we can all keep up, and no one gets left behind.

Thank you.