P187.2 million earmarked for Cordillera inter-connectivity

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet December 24 – The Cordillera office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-CAR) will implement over P187.25 million worth of inter-connectivity projects starting next year  that will establish free WiFi zones in fourth to sixth class municipalities region wide to help spur economic development in the countryside.

Dr. Julius Caesar V. Sicat, DOST-CAR regional director, said the funding acquired by the region is part of the over P3 billion earmarked by their central office to help people living in remote communities get access to the worldwide web and be updated on the latest developments around the global village.

He pointed out the agency’s inter-connectivity project is part of the Aquino administration’s goal of providing people all over the country access to the internet for various purposes, especially in their quest for growth and development in the rural areas.

“The budget that we have initially acquired is not enough because of the region’s very low percentage in terms of inter-connectivity that is why we are constantly lobbying with our project implementors to increase our budget allocations so that we will be able to triple our inter-connectivity in the region by the middle of 2016,” Sicat stressed.

According to him, only 25 percent of the 77 municipalities in the region have access to the internet and most of the areas are urban centers and their neighboring municipalities that is why there is a need to increase the inter-connectivity up to the remotes villages so that people will be empowered to increase economic activities which will be instrumental in spurring the desired economic growth and that there will be easier access to the latest information regarding socio-economic development.

He disclosed the inter-connectivity concept that the DOST-CAR wants to put in place in the country is the television wave space program, which is a specialized transmission of data signals from their identified sites up to their projected targets even in the far flung communities.

Sicat projects the putting in place of free wifi zones in the remote communities will allow people from all walks of life to be able to be connected to the internet and could easily interact with their friends and relatives in the different parts of the world.

For example, he cited that farmers who take a brief rest after attending to their plants usually get hold of their mobile phones and start texting but with access to the internet, they could easily browse through the net and have access to various sites that could help entertain them while resting.

Sicat is confident local officials in the areas where the inter-connectivity project will be put in place will support it considering the enormous benefits that having access to the internet will provide not only to concerned government agencies, local governments but also the general public.

He said appropriate coordination activities were already done by the DOST-CAR with the identified project sites region wide in order to ensure the smooth implementation and completion of the inter-connectivity projects beneficial to the overall socio-economic growth and development, especially in remote villages that have difficulty accessing the latest modes of information and communication technology in the different parts of the world.

By Dexter A. See

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