Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and local government officials conducted a press briefing today in Virac, Catanduanes using Internet connectivity provided by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT)’s flyaway very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT). Virac was classified as the ground zero of super typhoon Rolly.

The live broadcasting was made possible through the DICT’s provisioned Internet service. The flyaway VSAT is used for emergency telecommunications as it connects automatically to the satellite to provide connection in disaster-hit areas. The media staff and meeting attendees were also connected to the Department’s Free Wi-Fi for All Internet access points.

The press briefing provided updates on the status of response and assistance efforts to the island province. Officials also discussed the urgent needs of the province in terms of shelter, relief packages, healthcare, infrastructure repairs, and the overall need to replenish calamity funds.  Governor Joseph Cua of Catanduanes and Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento, Jr. of Virac, Catanduanes were present during the briefing.

“We hope to provide vital connectivity services to ground zero Catanduanes to help the government and the humanitarian community respond to the recovery needs of the province,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said. “By doing this, we can enable timely status updates, get relevant news, and improve coordination and assistance efforts,” he added.

The Department is continuously undertaking efforts to provide connectivity services to the island province of Catanduanes to support national and local initiatives to rehabilitate the typhoon-hit area.

As of November 3, 2020, there are now three (3) up and running Free Wi-Fi for All sites located in the Province of Catanduanes:

  1. Pandan Rural Health Unit (RHU)
  2. Viga Town Hall Viga
  3. Viga Rural DHS

Other sites are still down or experiencing intermittent connection due to damage from Typhoon Quinta and Rolly, respectively. However, the DICT is working to restore these sites at the soonest possible time to enable more extensive communication services in the community.