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Itbayat residents using the emergency internet access

“Nakakatulong [Free Wi-Fi] po sa amin kasi yung mga kamag-anak naming nasa Basco, sa Manila, at sa abroad, kailangan nila kaming ma-contact dahil sa nangyari,”

(It [Free Wi-Fi] helped us because we have relatives based in Basco, Manila, and abroad, so they can reach us after what happened. )

Itbayat, Batanes resident

Zoey is just one of the many Itbayat residents who were able to reach loved ones and update them about their situation through the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) Free Wi-Fi for All Program.

Itbayat, the largest island of the Batanes Group of Islands, was severely damaged by magnitude 5 earthquakes last July 27, 2019 and following aftershocks.

This natural disaster left a dent not only to the iconic stone houses of the Ivatans but also impaired their normal way of life – especially with regard to outside communications.  

The emergency responders using the free Wi-Fi for All access point to relay information and to communicate with their loved ones.

Being one of the many far-flung islands in the country, the exchange of information to and from Itbayat is already difficult in the first place.  

People using Free Wi-Fi for All in Basco Airport
People using emergency communications provided in Basco Airport by Free Wi-Fi for All.

It is with this in mind that the DICT installed emergency Wi-Fi access points at Itbayat Plaza to extend information and communication relief for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and emergency responders. An access point was also installed in Basco Airport to further expand communication lines in this crucial time of recovery for the Ivatans.

Free Wi-Fi for All is an initiative of the DICT which provides Internet access at public places nationwide at no charge as mandated by Republic Act No. 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.

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