The University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) and Benguet State University (BSU), two of the biggest state universities in the Cordillera, are now connected to the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) Free Wi-Fi for All Program to bolster educational and social opportunities.
The installation of Free Wi-Fi commenced at the UPB before Luzon was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who were stranded on campus were then able to utilize the connection early on.
“Fortunately, it was installed before the pandemic. When communication is vital but scarce, nakatulong siya. And the Free Wi-Fi reaches up to our dorm. So our students, while they were here dahil hindi pa sila makauwi noon, hindi makatravel, nagamit nila. Right now, nagagamit ng personnel, ng public na pumupunta dito for any concerns, and even our students here in Baguio na pumupunta parin dito for their academic concerns,” Jose Kym Alvaro, UPB’s System / Network Office personnel shared.
The College of Nursing and the College of Agriculture of Benguet State University located at La Trinidad, Benguet were also provided with free public Internet connectivity by the Free Wi-Fi for All Program.
Outgoing BSU College of Nursing Dean Dr. Jude Tayaben said this is helpful in their plans to implement flexible learning this 2021.
“We’re planning on online and limited face-to-face, and most of the resources that we have now are in need of internet connection. This is a blessing that will help our facilitators and learners,” Tayaben said.
“Despite the challenges in establishing connectivity due to the topography, we have been pressing on to provide free internet access to as many communities and bridge the digital divide,” Engr. Alicia Piacos, DICT Benguet Provincial Officer said.
The provision of free internet at the BSU Bokod and Buguias Campuses is also in the pipeline.
“We at the DICT are intensifying the rollout of our programs under the connect, connect, connect initiative to make internet more accessible and more affordable nationwide,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said. “We hope to be able to reach more schools in various communities to ensure that more of our students and teachers can maximize online learning tools and strategies in the new normal,” he added.
Through the Free Wi-Fi for All program, DICT aims to enhance internet accessibility for Filipinos by providing free internet access in public places including national and local government offices, public schools, state universities and colleges, government hospitals, Rural Health Units, public parks, plazas, and public libraries, among others.