“We are committed to promoting quality education in the modern era and bridging the digital divide,” said the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy during the Free Wi-fi for All: Broadband ng Masa Program (BBMP) Launching in State University and Colleges (SUCs) at the College of Information and Computing (CIC)- AVR, University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP)- Obrero campus, on March 29, 2023.
BBMP, a flagship program of the DICT, aims to establish and install 22 Free Wi-Fi sites in the Davao Region, citing the need to bridge the digital divide and provide digital connectivity in areas with little to no internet connection, particularly the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) and indigenous communities.
USeP Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), Dr. Bonifacio G. Gabales, Jr., representing University President, Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao, expressed gratefulness to the DICT for choosing the University to be a beneficiary of the transformational program and the help the BBMP can provide in the attainment of the University’s vision, mission and goals.
“This free Wi-Fi for all program would greatly contribute to the achievement of the University’s vision to become ‘a premier research university transforming communities in the ASEAN and beyond’ as more and more students will have free, easier, and faster access to significant information knowing that as a state University, we have a large number of students here,” he said.
In his keynote speech, Sec. Uy stressed the importance of addressing the ‘digital divide’ which exists in the country today. “As we all know, this digital divide refers to the gap between those who have access to technology and those who do not. And this gap is mostly seen or felt between not only the urban and rural areas or low-income households but also rests with respect to age, with respect to gender. And with the launch of this program, we are helping bridge this divide by providing access to digital tools and resources, to those who otherwise would have been left behind,” he emphasized.
Engr. Jose Benjamin M. Valencia II, the focal person of the Free Wi-Fi for all program, revealed that the DICT has scheduled installation of free Wi-Fi sites in the region starting April 2023 where remote communities and all campuses of USeP will benefit from the BBMP.
Also present during the launching were USeP Vice President for Administration, Dr. Ma. Luisa B. Faunillan; USeP Vice President for Planning and Quality Assurance, Dr. Tamara Cher R. Mercado; USeP CIC Dean, Dr. Ivy Kim C. Machica and the CIC Faculty, DICT Assistant Secretary Philip A. Varilla; DICT XI Regional Director, Evamay C. Dela Rosa, CESE; DICT XI Assistant Regional Director Erlito Tancontian; DICT personnel and officers, University students and media partners.