P50M set aside for free Wi-Fi in ARMM areas
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—More residents of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), including those living in the far-flung areas of the five-province region such as Badjao boat dwellers, will soon be connected with the rest of the world through the Internet.
Recently, the ARMM government has set aside P50 million for the expansion of its Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) links under the National Connectivity Program of the Department of Science and Technology.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the fund, which would support the establishment of more Wi-Fi zones, was made available through the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
Among those being listed for connectivity is a school in Pagasinan Settlement in Barangay Sanga-Sanga in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi province. The school was built with the help of 44 Badjao residents, according to Bibelyn Abdurasad, municipal facilitator for ARMM’s Learning and Livelihood Food Sufficiency program in Bongao.
Maaji Harnain, head of the local people’s organization, Kasambulan sin Kauman Pagasinan Tribal Groups (Federation for Livelihood of Pagasinan Tribal Groups), said his group wanted computer literacy program to be part of the ongoing alternative learning system attended by the tribe’s adult members and their dependents.
This way, Haranain said, Badjaos in the Pagasinan settlement would be electronically connected with the rest of the world.
Noor Saada, director of the ARMM Integrated Project Management Office, said under the program, the government aims to establish Wi-Fi connectivity in all 66 fourth and sixth class municipalities in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Nash Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao