No Free WiFi for Guihulngan Village – Government Disappoints Again

October 08, 2019 – by Mary Judaline Partlow posted on Philippine News Agency

After announcing their glories “FREE WIFI” for a barangay in Guihulngan City, the Department of Information and Communications Technology or DICT gives excuses for not pushing through. Not a month ago, the regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Edward Du mentioned that the free internet connection was to help the local schools for better education. Now, the student’s dream of better learning is shattered. Read more below!

No “Free WiFi” for Guihulngan Village – Government Disappoints Again

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has announced it cannot push through with providing the bandwidth needed for the free Wi-Fi promised to one of the insurgency-affected areas in Negros Oriental.

The announcement came weeks after the Negros Oriental Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF-ELCAC), through its business partner, the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI), and DICT-Negros Oriental, promised to install free Wi-Fi to Barangay Trinidad in Guihulngan City.

Dumaguete-based businessman Edward Du, the Central Visayas regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and NOCCI past president, confirmed that DICT provincial head, Engr. Aurelio Tinapay made the announcement during the meeting of the NOTF-ELCAC last week.

“This will cause quite a stir and will present a bad image for the government considering that not only has the DICT signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the province for free Wi-Fi in public schools but this is also one of the services promised under the NOTF-ELCAC,” Du said in a telephone interview Monday.

Du quoted Tinapay as saying that DICT could no longer provide the bandwidth required as the agency has a pending case with the contractor that won the bidding in Vallerhermoso, Negros Oriental. The bandwidth intended for Barangay Trinidad would have been sourced from Vallehermoso, the town next to Guihulngan City, he explained.

Du lamented DICT’s announcement, saying that it would be an embarrassment not only for NOCCI or the provincial government or NOTF-ELCAC but the national government as well for failure to deliver on its promise.

Following the launching of the NOTF-ELCAC last August, the task force of 12 clusters met to organize and identify their respective services and target audiences, and Tinapay had then offered the use of its 34 towers in the province and provide the bandwidth while NOCCI will provide the technology, Du recalled.

On the other hand, the provincial government and/or the NOTF-ELCAC will fund the acquisition of the middle-mile wireless infrastructure, and the local government unit, in this case, Guihulngan City, will spend for the last mile infrastructure to connect the bandwidth to the barangay hall.

Du said everything was already in place for the Barangay Trinidad free Wi-Fi project after having talked to its village chief, Luciana Montecino, during the NOTF-ELCAC’s Dagyawan: Talakayan ng Mamayan in Guihulngan City last Sept. 10. Montecino had even assured that the barangay would pass a resolution for the proposed free Wi-Fi project.

“This will definitely have a huge impact on efforts to address the insurgency problem in the province,” Du said in the Cebuano dialect.

Providing communication access to far-flung areas and especially insurgency-affected villages would certainly help the government end the decades-long problem, he added.

At present, the partnership inked through an agreement with DICT and provincial and local government officials will no longer hold water unless another option or alternative is presented. When the MOA was signed last year, the project successfully installed free Wi-Fi access to 36 public schools in Negros Oriental, Du said.

Governor Roel Degamo, who chairs the NOTF-ELCAC, is hoping that DICT will find alternatives to be able to fulfill its part of the arrangement for the benefit of communities affected by the insurgency and for schools in far-flung barangays.

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