The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is helping facilitate information and communication services in Catanduanes, Albay, and other areas dealing with the aftermath of super typhoon Rolly.

Rolly (internationally known as Goni), and considered as the strongest tropical typhoon of 2020 to date, made landfall on Catanduanes, Albay, Camarines Sur and neighboring areas of Quezon province last Sunday, November 1, leaving the Bicol Region devastated in its wake.

To aid the affected areas, DICT’s Albay Provincial Office is offering free Internet and charging services to Albayanos. Their office is located at Post Telecom Building, Lapu Lapu St., Legazpi City. Individuals can avail of the free services within the vicinity, provided they observe proper health protocols.

Further, in Pandan, Catanduanes, select Free Wi-Fi for All sites remain operational, offering connectivity services as Globe and Smart telecommunication services remain down within the locale. 

Councilor John Alcantara from the Pandan Local Government Unit (LGU) reported on the status of the area post-Rolly. He uploaded videos on social media using the Internet connection of Free Wi-Fi for All to give updates.

“Nananatiling walang signal ang telecommunication providers dito sa lalawigan ng Catanduanes matapos manalasa ang mapinsalang bagyong Rolly PH. Samantalang dito sa bayan ng Pandan, Catanduanes umabot na sa 578 ang kabuuang bilang ng mga bahay na winasak ng bagyo. Nananatili namang maganda ang panahon at malakas ang signal dahil sa DICT Free Wi-Fi for All,” said Alcantara.

The Department is also undertaking other initiatives to aid connectivity services in typhoon-hit areas from other regions. The DICT’s Luzon Cluster III (LC3) had installed emergency backup Internet connection in the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) MIMAROPA Regional Office located in PEO Compound, Kumintang Ilaya, Batangas City.The backup service aims to ensure uninterrupted connectivity services for the government office.

Restoring communication lines are crucial as electricity and telecommunication lines in the worst-hit areas remained down as strong winds caused substantial damage to electric posts and other infrastructures. The Office of Civil Defense stated that around 53,863 homes were left without electricity following the typhoon’s landfall.

While telco lines had been restored in Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, and Naga City, Catanduanes still lacked access to electricity, running water, or telecommunications. Albay Power and Energy Corporation (APEC) also released a statement recently that estimated a possible 2-month period to fully restore power in Albay province due to severely damaged transmission lines.

“Communication and access to information is crucial especially in areas badly hit by typhoon Rolly. Your DICT is fast-tracking its efforts to help our fellow Filipinos get their much-needed aid and we are closely working with other government agencies in expediting the rebuilding of infrastructure in the affected areas—to reconnect our people to the rest of the country,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.