29 July 2019 – After being hit by consecutive earthquakes on Saturday, the town of Itbayat, Batanes was provided with emergency Wi-Fi access point by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as part of the government’s inter-agency disaster response.  

Located in Itbayat Plaza, the said Wi-Fi access point was made available for emergency responders and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to enable them to communicate with teammates and relatives as needed.

“We want to make sure it (Free Wi-Fi) is institutionalized in the sense that it will be permanent and we will just install additional Wi-Fi access points since we cannot predict when the next disaster will hit,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said.  

“The guidance of the President is that the government should have an independent communications system. The communications of the private telcos were activated but we cannot rely on that because they are private entities, so we want to make it redundant,” Honasan added.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte was briefed on Sunday, 28 July 2019 that Government Emergency Communications vehicles will soon be available for disaster response as it is set to arrive from Dubai, UAE by late August or early September. 

The emergency vehicles will be utilized to achieve the goals of communicating with LGUs before, during and after a disaster with Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as partners for deployment.