PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc., (Smart) are partnering with the municipalities of San Miguel and Inabanga in Bohol to bring high-speed internet access closer to people and communities, providing much needed connectivity in these agriculture-dependent towns.
The installation of fast, reliable, and fiber-powered Smart WiFi in the towns’ plazas, municipal halls, public markets, Inabanga Cultural and Creative Park, and a VOC-TEC (Vocational-Technical) school in San Miguel, helps fulfill the daily internet needs of residents, not only for entertainment and recreation but also for learning and education.
In separate virtual ceremonies, San Miguel Mayor Virgilio Mendez and Inabanga Mayor Josephine Jumamoy underscored the importance of providing reliable connectivity to their constituents, especially in the New Normal.
“Over the past few years, I personally witnessed how difficult it is for school-age children without the means for internet access to meet the demands of modular learning and other alternative methods. With better connectivity in San Miguel, they are assured that no learner is left behind, following the massive shift from traditional learning to online education,” said Mayor Virgilio Mendez, who also aims to modernize schools under his municipality. “On behalf of San Miguel, there are no words to express our gratitude to PLDT and Smart for giving us an opportunity to enjoy this kind of development in our community and for not leaving us on the sidelines,” he added.
“Thank you PLDT and Smart for making this partnership possible and for bringing the residents of Inabanga digitally closer during these unprecedented times. The free public WiFi service to be installed on our municipal ground allows us to stay together in an era of physical distancing,” Inabanga Mayor Josephine Jumamoy said. "Internet connectivity, which is particularly crucial these days, will really be a big help to our citizens," she added, highlighting that the Internet plays a key role in the town's vision to become globally competitive.
Leveling up agri towns
To boost San Miguel's agricultural sector, Mayor Mendez also seeks to explore the role of technology, e-commerce, and digital trading to rural development. Gaining access to PLDT and Smart’s internet service will allow farmers to interact with consumers online and to make contactless transactions, especially during this pandemic.
Similarly, Mayor Jumamoy's vision of transforming Inabanga into a globally competitive agri-business center has been supported by PLDT's Beyond Fiber lines, fueling enterprises of all sizes. This business-grade plan boosts productivity and efficiency through bundled digital tools and customizable packages, thus spurring the town’s economic growth.
Leading the virtual partnership ceremonies in San Miguel were Mayor Mendez and Vice Mayor Faustino Bulaga. In Inabanga, at the helm were Mayor Josephine Jumamoy and Vice Mayor Rodrigo Jumamoy.
Both events were joined by Smart and PLDT representatives led by FVP and Head of Smart Regional Customer Development for VisMin Hoyle Raul Disuanco, AVP and Head of Corporate Relationship Management, PLDT Enterprise Jimmy V. Chua, VP and Center Head of Consumer WiFi and Mobile Advertising Nikko Galvez, and AVP, Smart Head of Community Solutions and Business Development Pedro Luis de Guzman.
Internet for development
Amid the surge of infections, fast and reliable internet connectivity has also been essential in both towns’ immunization efforts. When managing mass vaccination campaigns, LGUs can reduce queue lines and service delays through streamlined online registration systems. With health services as a key deliverable of municipalities, PLDT and Smart collaborate with them to provide Filipinos the benefits of technology-enabled health care.
Apart from the existing PLDT broadband services and ongoing fiber expansion across the province, PLDT through PLDT Enterprise is also preparing future growth opportunities in the said municipalities, including the provision of more postpaid plans, the introduction of cybersecurity solutions, and the implementation of a unified trunk line, allowing centralized government responses.
“A number of divides still exist in society – one of which is unequal access to internet and communication infrastructures between the rural and urban areas. PLDT and Smart ensure to bridge this gap by promoting an inclusive digital transformation across every region so that technological opportunities are harnessed by all,” said Disuanco, emphasizing the company’s commitment to bring the benefits of the internet closer to more Filipinos, creating a Better World for all.
“With the internet as a key enabler of change, PLDT and Smart will continue to deliver innovations that will help San Miguel and Inabanga in their transformation journey,” Chua said. “We are committed to answering the call of the provincial government through the office of Gov. Arthur Yap to assist in bringing connectivity closer to critical municipalities in Bohol, irrespective of economic, political, social, or geographical circumstances,” he added.
These initiatives are aligned with Smart's thrust in its "Live Smarter for a Better World" campaign, which elevates Smart's long-running community partnership programs and enables "personal revolutions" that inspire lasting positive change through connectivity and CSR initiatives.
The deployment of Smart WiFi is part of PLDT and Smart’s nationwide rollout and expansion of their integrated fixed wireless networks. To date, Smart’s wireless network, the fastest mobile network in the country according to third-party analytics firm Ookla, covers 96% of the Philippine population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.
Enabling these services is parent company PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country at over 524,000 kilometers as of end-June 2021.
PLDT and Smart’s push to provide connectivity for all is aligned with the group’s long-standing commitment to help the Philippines attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure and SDG #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Know more about PLDT and Smart’s network expansion and improvement efforts by following #LevelUpToSmart, #LevelUpToPLDT and #SmartWiFi on social media.