LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Free Internet access in Pangasinan will soon be a reality, as Gov. Amado I. Espino III and Department of Information and Communication Technology Director Cheryl C. Ortega have signed an agreement to establish PIPOL KONEK, a free public Wi-Fi service in public places in the province.
DICT Assistant Secretary Alan A. Silor, Digital Communities Program for Countryside project manager Engineer Enrico Toledo, and DICT Mindanao Cluster 1 Director Maria Teresa M. Camba signed as witnesses at the Sison Auditorium.
Espino thanked the DICT officials “for bringing noble and timely projects to Pangasinan.”
More than 400 participants converged for the two-day conference in Lingayen to share each center’s achievements in reaching the unserved and underserved communities in the country. They represented Pangasinan-based TECH4ED Centers, and 11 other province-based centers from Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Zambales, Tarlac, and Rizal.
At the conference dubbed “Empowering Communities through Digital Opportunities,” Silor presented the agency’s milestones in raising awareness on DICT’s efforts in eliminating the digital divide to create digital inclusion through TECH4ED and PIPOL KONEK.
PIPOL KONEK—one of the three flagship programs launched by DICT along with the National Government Portal and the National Broadband Plan that would serve as the country’s data backbone—was earlier launched by DICT and envisioned to provide free Internet access in municipal plazas, public schools, libraries, hospitals, rural health units, police stations, and state universities, among other areas nationwide.
The project was initially launched to service fourth to sixth-class municipalities nationwide. In Pangasinan, it currently serves the towns of Laoac and Sta. Maria, and the City of Dagupan.
According to Knowledge Education Center Chairman Engineer Mario Antonio V. Aya-ay, PIPOL KONEK has a multi-level registration system that determines data allocation per user.
A user can choose among Level 1 (50 mbps)—anonymous gadget log-in; Level 2 (100-150mbps)—requires user to register with an email account; and Level 3 (300mbps)—where user is required to register using a Citizen’s Digital ID for their daily internet data allocation.
Topics tackled during the two-day event were best practices from five TECH4ED Centers, Cyberproofing, Virtual Awareness, Skills Development and Enhancement Program for Online workers, online English teaching, Agri E-marketing, and data visualization and infographics.
The free hotspots aim to improve communication, stimulate socio-economic growth, and accelerate social and educational opportunities.
During the Governor’s Fellowship Night, the governor took pride in recalling the leadership of his predecessor and father, current Rep. Amado T. Espino Jr. The elder Espino spent his nine years as governor “in making massive improvements in the province through good governance and programs, which improved lives of fellow Pangasinenses,” the son said.
In line with his government’s thrust to deliver effective and efficient governance, the young governor welcomed the participants at Sison Auditorium, renowned as one of the best events centers in the country.
On his 1 year and 26 days in office, “Governor Pogi” vowed to sustain and preserve advocacies that help improve the lives of Pangasinenses.