MANILA –Senator Ralph Recto on Saturday welcomed the plan of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to set up free Wi-Fi in airports and seaports, saying “these would be a big help to tourists and travelers.”
“2015 is Visit Philippines Year. It is also the year we’ll be hosting 15,000 delegates to the APEC Leaders’ Summit and run-up activities. As part of our preparations, we’re sprucing up NAIA, building flyovers, and repairing our roads. Wi-Fi in gateways should be a parcel of this,” Recto said.
Recto, however, urged the DOST to come up with special guidelines so as not to put the free internet to as the government rolls out free Wi-Fi hotspots in 167 towns, Metro Manila and 14 key cities this coming July.
Recto sponsored in the 2015 national budget the Php 1 billion funding to ensure that the project will get “more bytes and benefits out of the buck.”
The senator said DOST must choose installation areas which will yield the greatest public benefit such as hospitals, schools, transport hubs and libraries must be prioritized.
“We would like these Wi-Fi areas to create value, promote education, help trade and travel, and be a lifeline to those who are in distress,” Recto said.
“That’s why I have told the DOST to pilot it in some public hospitals so that those who are sick or those who are taking care of the sick, be they doctors or relatives, will be able to communicate with family members and medical staff,” he added.
Recto said the rationale behind the program was to tap it for social good.
“So it’s the reason why it will be set up in libraries so it can aid in research and instruction, and promote reading,” the senator said.
Other priority areas should be front-line government offices, which draw the longest queues and the largest crowds like the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to help the Filipino workers overseas.
According to the DOST, access points in 967 3rd to 6th class towns and Metro Manila will be set up based on the Php1.4 billion budget. It will also have “points of presence” in 6 Luzon, 4 Visayas, and 4 Mindanao cities.
In all, there will be 9,706 rural links in unserved and underserved areas.