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Isko to invest in national fiber backbone to provide stable internet connectivity in case he wins presidency

Presidential aspirant and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno vowed that he will invest in improving the country’s internet connectivity if he wins the May 2022 polls.

During a meeting at Ynares Auditorium on Tuesday, Moreno underscored the need to improve the country’s internet bandwidth, which is a requirement during the distance learning modalities amid COVID-19 pandemic.

“Yung connectivity, we will invest more with our bandwidth to make it available to our students in relation to blended future distance learning, which is merong (there is) face-to-face and meron pa din (also an) online learning,” Moreno said in his speech.

As these initiatives are being implemented in Manila, Moreno cited that these initiatives could be done in other places.

“Now, can this thing be duplicated? Yes, it can. Can it be escalated? Yes, it can also. Because that’s the way to do it para mairaos natin ang pag-aaral ng mga bata sa panahon ng pandemya (so that we can sustain the education of the children during the pandemic),” he said.

Moreno said that he will pursue a national fiber backbone that will connect all schools, government offices and other agencies requiring connectivity if he wins in the next year’s elections.

He said that a national fiber optic backbone could already connect other islands and provide stable and reliable interconnectivity.

“If government allocates even just 10 to 15% of the annual budget given the past years to the Department of Public Works and Highways for roads and bridges, the amount, partnered with the private sector, would only be P45 billion, which is just 1% of the national budget,” Moreno said.

“After all, the information highway is itself a very important part of infrastructure development where the Philippines is a laggard compared to many countries,” he added.

The Manila mayor said the initiative could be delivered within the first two years of his administration.

Moreno, however, noted that his proposal was repeatedly rejected due to the Department of Information and Computer Technology’s low absorptive capacity.

“The bulk of its budget reverted to treasury year in and year out due to lack of vision for digital transformation,” he bared.

“Only truly knowledgeable experts in information communications technology with hands-on experience will run our systems to catch up with the modern world, just as we will re-orient our educational system towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses. Otherwise, mapag-iiwanan tayo ng panahon (we will be left behind) and our young people will be unable to get well-paying jobs,” he said.

Moreno underscored that he will also provide public school students and teachers with gadgets such as tablets and laptops with free bandwidth connection.

“We must level up on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs because these are the most relevant careers that will allow our people to catch up with the rest of the world,” he added. — Richa Noriega/RSJ, GMA News