PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is supporting the distance learning initiatives of Mandaluyong City by giving 5G-ready SIM cards to 41,000 students in the 4th to 12th grade.
The turnover ceremony was led by Mandaluyong Mayor Menchie Abalos, Councilor Charisse Abalos-Vargas, Councilor Benjie Abalos, Department of Education – Mandaluyong officials, PLDT-Smart VP and Head of Customer Development for NCR and Palawan Gia Palafox, Smart AVP and Regional Development Head for NCR 2 Jowel Du, Smart VP for Trade Marketing Jacqueline Bocalan, and Smart Regional Trade Marketing Supervisor Korie Raymundo.
“The pandemic has disrupted the lives of many. Even moreso these days with the critical need to ensure the continuing education of school children who cannot physically attend their classes. Distance learning has become the norm and reliable internet has become an essential tool for both the school teacher and their students. By providing free Smart 5G-ready sim cards, we are enabling them to connect to the nation's fastest LTE network and at the same time providing them with access to mobile data loads designed specifically for online education,” said Alex O. Caeg, Senior Vice President and Head of the Consumer Sales Group at PLDT and Smart. “We are pleased to support the initiatives of the Mandaluyong city government and its education sector, and we thank Mayor Menchie Abalos for the opportunity to collaborate in this endeavor,” he added.
These SIM cards will power the tablets that the local government has given to the students in the city. The learners will also be able to conveniently access the learning modules that have been pre-loaded in their gadget.
“Our city government was able to save around 1.6 million pesos because of this donation. It would help our learners with their communication needs, as well as their connectivity needs for distance learning,” said Mayor Abalos. “On behalf of the 41,000 learners in the City of Mandaluyong, we would like to thank Smart. This is a big help especially to the parents and teachers,” she added.
Empowering education for Filipinos
The Philippines’ largest and only integrated telco has also partnered with other local government units and schools, colleges and universities nationwide to make connectivity and digital solutions more accessible to the education sector.
These initiatives include discounted PLDT Home Wifi and Smart Bro Pocket Wifi units powered by Smart LTE. To date, Smart provides high-speed mobile internet service to over 93% of the country’s cities and municipalities and 95% of the population.
Under the Study Smart program, Smart and its partner distributors have provided these devices to various academic institutions nationwide. The company also partnered with the local offices of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Pasig City, Batangas City, Lipa City, Noveleta in Cavite, to name a few — to provide pre-loaded 5G-ready SIMs for the use of students with their LGU-issued tablets for this school year. In Bayambang, Pangasinan, Smart donated LTE pocket WiFi devices to the local government and the DepEd district, to help teachers when they visited the poorer barangays in the municipality.
In Mindanao, the local government of General Santos City and the Schools Division of GenSan also partnered with PLDT Enterprise to provide devices and GIGA Study subscription for the 5,000 public school teachers in the city. Newly launched nationwide by Smart as a package tailor-fit for education, the GIGA Study pack has generous load allocations and access to various academic suites and other learning management systems.
These key initiatives of PLDT and Smart demonstrate the application of ICT for development, in support of the Group-wide advocacy to promote digital inclusion. These initiatives also aim to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDG #4 of providing quality education.