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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Solons hope for faster data connection
04 September 2019 07:05:47 PM

Legislators expressed hope for a faster and more affordable data connection at the soonest possible time when Secretary Gregorio Honasan conveyed that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is putting in efforts to advance the country, making it a digital Philippines.

These were discussed Tuesday when the House Committee on Appropriations chaired by Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City) in a hearing jointly presided by Vice Chairmen Reps. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1stDistrict, Bulacan) and Luis Campos Jr. (2nd District, Makati City) tackled the P5.15 billion budget proposal of the DICT for fiscal year 2020.

In his presentation, Honasan guaranteed that the initiatives of the DICT are aligned with the idea of establishing an innovative, safe and peaceful nation.

He further shared their thrusts towards a digital Philippines, which include programs on forming a digital government, a digital workforce, and digital communities.

“These are only ideas we can only imagine, so far. Kaya po kami dumudulog sa inyo, dahil the whole concept is just a glimpse of the future, far from the reality of the present. The vision of a digital Philippines is an arduous task, and we really need to work hard for it,” said Honasan.

Sy-Alvarado assured the DICT and said, “Pag-aaralan po namin nang masidhi yung inyong proposal upang hindi mag-suffer yung ating mga kababayan sa napakabagal na mobile data. Ito pong panahon na to, alam po nating lahat, na yung data parang necessity na yan.”

DICT Assistant Secretary Felino Castro V reported that while average data connection in the country is at 4 Mbps, the agency is already working on installing free WiFi in public areas across the Philippines that would offer a data connection of at least 10Mbps.

He vowed that the DICT can complete the installation in about 104,000 sites nationwide by the end of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term in 2022.

Meanwhile, DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. explained to the panel that a major solution to slow data connection is the lack of existing cell towers, with the Philippines having one of the lowest tower densities in Asia.

He then proposed to provide sufficient funding for the DICT that would allow them to mount a total of 50,000 cell towers to address the data needs of the Filipinos.

When Rep. Jose Atienza Jr. (Party-list, BUHAY) queried about the public clamor against radiation-emitting cell towers being mounted within their communities, Rio assured that these will not cause harm to the health of those residing within the vicinity of cell towers.

“Ang suggestion po namin, in line with what you said, we recommend to the DICT to call a massive orientation/education campaign among local officials and barangays,” said Atienza.| Molie Gonzales, News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau/ House of Representatives of the Philippines