Bringing digital opportunities to the far-flung area of the Municipality of Balabac, Palawan is now possible with the launching of the first ever floating “Balsa Aralan” Tech4Ed Center. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) MIMAROPA Regional Office with its DICT Palawan Provincial Office is implementing this exciting new initiative.

“Through our partnership and commitment towards public service, we aim to address the digital divide and educational needs of the unserved and underserved areas, particularly for the community of Rabor, Palawan and adjacent areas. With this joint initiative, we have provided a much needed learning platform for the isolated fisher and community folks of Palawan through the Alternative Learning System brought closer to their homes,” DICT Regional Director for Regions IV-A (CALABARZON) and IV-B (MIMAROPA) Cheryl Ortega said.

“Moreover, our teachers and members of the community, previously needing to arduously cross miles of land and sea in order to access the internet, to join their online classes, or submit reports, can already do so within the community through DICT’s Free WiFi For All program,” she added.

The DICT MIMAROPA also partnered with the Department of Education (DepED) and the local government of Balabac, Palawan to launch the Free Wi-Fi for Balsa Aralan. The provision of free Internet aims to improve the access of beneficiaries to digital content and learning materials.

Furthermore, the DICT MIMAROPA also turned over the School-in-a-Bag, a portable digital classroom designed to facilitate basic education in remote areas without electricity. With the support of Huawei Philippines and PLDT Smart Foundation, the school-in-a-bag utilizes mobile technology, an innovative 21st-century teaching pedagogy, and K+12 content to enable digital  learning.

The Balsa Aralan Tech4ED, Free Wi-Fi for All, and School-in-a-Bag Project are breakthrough initiatives that aim to deliver accessible ICT services to even the remotest communities. Through these projects, the Department intends to bring inclusive community development to the countryside.