The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) inked an agreement with the Province of Pangasinan and the Municipality of Manaoag for the implementation of the Free Wi-Fi for All Program and the construction of the Pangasinan Provincial Broadband Network and the Manaoag Municipal Broadband Network.

“Unang una, ang marching orders galing sa ating mahal na Pangulo ay connectivity. Sabi niya, ‘Secretary, ang mission mo ay connectivity: you connect government to other governments, domestic and global, connect government to business, para lumago ang ekonomiya natin; connect government to the citizens, yung ating mga mamamayan; and then connect everybody to each other’ because that is the only way you will unite this beautiful and blessed country that you call Philippines,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

This initiative is in line with the first phase of the National Broadband Program (NBP) which will link established provincial broadband networks to the national fiber backbone.

The NBP is a major component of the DICT’s Connect-Connect-Connect initiative, which aims to improve telecommunications and Internet services in the country. Once the provincial broadband networks are linked and activated, the corresponding government units can avail of the benefits of the NBP. Aside from Pangasinan, the DICT had already secured similar agreements with Baguio City, Zambales Province, and Negros Occidental.

Phase 1 of the NBP shall cover various provinces in Luzon and areas of the National Capital Region, whereas the 2nd phase aims to cover the whole country over the next two years, especially in areas that are remote, inaccessible, and considered unprofitable by the private sector.

The Pangasinan provincial government sees the provincial broadband network rollout as a game changer, stating that this will allow remote communities within the province to access digital opportunities through improved connectivity services.

“Napakalaki po ng silbi ng programang ito para sa probinsya ng Pangasinan, at hindi lang po ito sa probinsya mararamdaman, pati na rin po sa mga LGUs na aming nasasakupan. Please extend our gratitude also to the President…dahil nabigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga far-flung barangays sa buong Pilipinas na maka access sa Internet through the DICT,” Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino III said.

Secretary Honasan likewise lauded the efforts and dedication of the Pangasinan provincial and local government in implementing the initiative for their constituents:

“Lagi nating naririnig, ‘Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)’, ‘convergence’, pero sa tingin ko, ito ay mga salita lamang, except again for very few communities and local and provincial governments and communities all over the country that convert this into action,” Honasan asserted. “And I’m certain that with our MOA signing, we are on our way towards effective, efficient, cheaper connectivity that will promote unity and prosperity for the nation,” he concluded.