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Mapun and Turtle Islands in Tawi-Tawi, through Mindanao Cluster 1, were connected to the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT’s) Free Wi-Fi in Public Places Program as part of the agency’s efforts to provide connectivity to geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas across the country.

“We envision the Free Wi-Fi Program to provide last mile connectivity in the country, complementing the National Broadband Program. Through Free Wi-Fi, we want to reach places where there is minimal to no fiber and tower networks,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

Mandated by Republic Act No. 10929, the DICT aims to establish free Internet access points in various national government agencies, hospitals, public schools, state universities and colleges, airports and terminals, among others; and, thus, to open up online opportunities to millions of Filipinos across the country.

As of 10 March 2021, there are currently 8,170 Free Wi-Fi sites deployed across the country. The program witnessed a momentous increase in rollout figures after Secretary Honasan assumed office, compared to the 3,251 sites established back in 2019.

“Today, we advance one step ahead of our mission as we launch Free Wi-Fi sites in Mapun and Turtle Islands of Tawi-Tawi. Likewise, we are also establishing our Tech4ED ICT Facility in Mapun to provide ICT services and digital literacy trainings to the residents of the area,” Secretary Honasan said.

Free Internet access points were established in the following identified locations: Turtle Island National High School, Turtle Islands Municipal Hall, Mapun National High School, and Mapun Municipal Hall.     The DICT MC1 team reached the remote islands through the assistance of Western Mindanao Command and the Philippine Coast Guard.

“Your DICT recognizes the need and importance of preparing and empowering all Filipinos—wherever they are in the country—to grow and prosper in the digital world,” Secretary Honasan said.