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In all corners of the Philippines, there are countless Juans and Juanas determined to thrive in this new normal. Juan has been looking into using social media to reach new customers for his struggling food business. Juana, meanwhile, has been sitting through one online class after another using a worn-down laptop shared among her siblings, worried that their intermittent home Internet connection would stop working at any moment.

In all corners of the Philippines, there are countless Juans and Juanas determined to thrive in this new normal. Juan has been looking into using social media to reach new customers for his struggling food business. Juana, meanwhile, has been sitting through one online class after another using a worn-down laptop shared among her siblings, worried that their intermittent home Internet connection would stop working at any moment.

It is with these aspirations in mind that the DICT’s Free Wi-Fi for All Program strives to provide free Wi-Fi connectivity at public places nationwide. With the inking of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Provincial Government of Zambales last January 2020, and the consequent launching of Free Wi-Fi for All sites last 29 September 2020, an event which coincided with the Provincial Broadband Network Memorandum of Agreement Signing, comes an improvement in the information and communication landscape in the province.

Gracing this momentous event are officials from both the DICT and the Provincial Government of Zambales, along with a few representatives from respective beneficiary sites. Attendance has been limited, with strict distancing protocols observed, due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

“Looking back, the Internet is the best thing that ever happened in this world. Looking forward, this partnership between the DICT and the Provincial Government of Zambales and its people is the best opportunity that will create a positive impact in the lives of our people,” said Governor Hermogenes E. Ebdane, Jr. during his opening remarks.

A popular tourist destination for its sandy beaches and bountiful coral reefs beneath clear waters, the Province of Zambales will soon be a Free Wi-Fi for All-connected province as well.

Given the urgency to provide free Internet access in hospitals and public schools due to the current pandemic situation, the rollout of Wi-Fi sites has been prioritized in these locations, including the following in Zambales: Zambales Capitol; President Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital; San Marcelino District Hospital; Candelaria District Hospital; Polytechnic College of Botolan; Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) in San Narciso; Kolehiyo ng Subic; and seven (7) campuses of the President Ramon Magsaysay State University (PRMSU). Free Wi-Fi for All services at these sites along with more than fifty others are operational 24/7 and can be used free of charge.

As DICT Secretary Honasan said in his own message during the event, “How do you unite a beautiful country like the Philippines? You unite it through communications, through information, and through technology…”

The Free Wi-Fi for All Program remains steadfast in bridging the digital gap in the Philippines, bringing free Internet access to each and every Filipino no matter where they may be.

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