PLDT’s wireless unit Smart teams up with one of the country’s largest cooperatives, the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC). The partnership, which makes Smart the newest telco partner for Lamac, enables farmers’ livelihood through digital solutions at a time of a disruptive pandemic.
Lamac, a remote town situated 50 kilometers from Cebu City, enjoyed its first cellular signal and connectivity in 2018. Three years after Smart fired up its first cellsite, the availability of reliable signal and connectivity have enabled economic activity in the community and connected its residents with the rest of the world. “For the first time,” says Maria Elena Limocon, LMPC General Manager, “all our members may now have the chance to own a smartphone that would aid them in their farming knowledge and techniques. We are especially thankful for this partnership with Smart.”
A midwife by profession, Limocon was assigned in barangay Lamac in 1986. Back then, Lamac was an underdeveloped part of Pinamungajan with no available drinking water, electricity, concrete roads, and other basic commodities. Limocon recalls having to travel seven kilometers by foot from her hometown to Lamac, which made it unimaginably difficult for her to keep working there. However, she knew that she had to do more to help the rest of the community. “We have come a long way because we have no room for fear,” says Limoncon. “For us, every problem has a solution. At first, we only wished for clean drinking water, but now we have been given so much, including digital solutions from partners like Smart. To all beginners, never lose sight of your goals. Success starts in your willingness to achieve it.”
Limocon traces LMPC's success from humble beginnings. From an organization of only 70 farmers, LMPC now currently has 103,000 regular members, 42 branches, 7 satellite offices, and 88 institutional buyers. Reliable connectivity provided by Smart has also enabled the cooperative and its members to safely mobilize and continue their operations despite challenges posed by COVID-19.
Under the partnership, Smart is providing LMPC discounted smartphones and a Smart Infocast facility, which would help facilitate seamless communication with their members amid the pandemic. LMPC is also a certified Smart Load Ka-Partner which would help serve their load and data needs, and also help provide their members with extra income. Farmer-members will be trained under Smart's Digital Farmers Program, which will equip them with basic knowledge on mobile technology. Smart is putting the spotlight on its long-running community partnership and corporate social responsibility programs to inspire Filipinos to commit to "personal revolutions" to generate lasting positive impact to society.
“On behalf of Smart, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude for naming us one of LMPC’s most valued partners. I can see how the cooperative sets itself as an honorable example for other cooperatives and institutions through their dedication and collective effort. We at Smart are in full support to Lamac’s digitalization programs,” says Carmencita Nancy Nacua, Smart Community Solutions and Business Development Manager.
Smart’s digital solutions for an empowered LMPC
To support digitalization efforts of grassroots organizations like LMPC, PLDT and Smart have further accelerated their network rollout across the country. As of December 2020, PLDT's fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country, comprised more than 429,000 kilometers. This fiber infrastructure supports Smart's mobile networks, which now cover 96% of the population from Batanes to Sulu.
"Our customers are increasingly turning to the internet to conduct their daily business. We continue to expand and upgrade our network to cover areas like Lamac, Pinamungajan, so our customers can have better mobile internet experience as they go online to safely keep in touch with their loved ones, run their online businesses, work from home, and participate on online learning platforms," says Mario G. Tamayo, Head of Technology at PLDT and Smart.
PLDT and Smart have been expanding their network to cover remote areas in order to deliver a better mobile experience for more customers across the country, especially at a time when the internet is deemed most necessary in a pandemic.