December 3, 2020

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DICT provides free Wi-Fi to boost military education in the Philippines

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Education, Training, and Doctrine Command (AFPETDC) has installed free connectivity services under the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) Free Wi-Fi for All – Free Public Internet Access Program.

The AFPETDC, which houses the AFP Command General Staff College (CGSC), is mandated to provide professional military education to AFP uniformed personnel for higher command responsibilities and doctrine development.

According to a press release, to commemorate the establishment of free Wi-Fi at AFPETDC, a virtual launching ceremony was held on 28 October with DICT and AFPETDC officials in attendance.

“We understand the plight of our educators, trainers, and learners during these unprecedented times, and we cannot take this sitting down. We hope that by making free Internet available in public schools, colleges, and universities, we can help alleviate the situation,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II asserted. “We likewise hope that we were also able to help the AFPETDC in its quest of providing quality education and training to its learners by providing free Wi-Fi Internet in the AFPETDC premises,” he added.

Free Wi-Fi has been made available at the AFPETDC’s library for the benefit of both professors and students, allowing them access to limitless learning and teaching resources online. Officers on-site may also use free Wi-Fi services for the submission of reports and other daily tasks requiring an Internet connection.

The Free Wi-Fi for All is one of the greatest leaps that the government has made to accelerate the efforts of enhancing accessibility for the Filipinos, Major General Edgard A. Arevalo of the AFPETDC said. “We are grateful that DICT has chosen AFPETDC as one of its recipients as it has tremendously helped us, especially our students in their academic requirements amid the COVID-19,” he added.

The prioritisation of the connectivity needs of the education sector for S.Y. 2020-2021 is one of the key objectives of the Free Wi-Fi for All Program’s intensified rollout. Presently, the project has established free Wi-Fi sites in 138 public libraries, 1,018 public schools, 967 state universities/colleges, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) institutions.

The intensified rollout of the Free Wi-Fi for All Program is a significant component of the department’s commitment to accelerate the provision of equitable Internet access for Filipinos so that they may benefit from the economic, social, and educational opportunities of the new normal, Honasan explained.

There are currently 6,723 Free Wi-Fi for All sites nationwide as of 27 October, covering 80 provinces, including Metro Manila, and 1,021 municipalities and cities. DICT is targeting the rollout 10, 069 live sites by the end of 2020. It also plans to establish up to 100,000 Wi-Fi access sites by 2023, following the deployment of the National Broadband Program. DICT has also expressed complete support for the vision of e-governance as outlined in the Senate Bill 1738 (E-Governance Act of 2020) as a means of institutionalising e-governance in the Philippines to cope with the transition to the new normal and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 threat.