Importance of contact during disasters cited

July 15, 2021 Steve A. Gosuico 223 views

CABANATUAN CITY – “May contact ba, may communications ba?”

Thus, asked Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II as he underscored the importance of connectivity especially during natural or man-made calamities and in conducting emergency disaster responses.

Honasan said communication and access to information are crucial especially during disasters and relief operations. He said it is wrong to ask first if there is power supply in the affected area. He stressed that the right question should be — is there any contact, is the line of communications available?

“Kapag may bagyo, natural o man-made calamity, ang unang tanong ay may kuryente ba? Mali ang tanong na iyon, dapat ang tanong may contact ba, may communications ba, para malaman natin kung sino ang walang kuryente, kung sino ang nawash-out ang tulay, at ano ang mga isolated barangays na nagugutom para doon tayo makapagresponde agad. Iyan ang impact ng connectivity,” said the DICT chief who was in Nueva Ecija on Monday to unveil some 163 “Free Wi-Fi For All” hotspot sites in 44 locations in the province.

During his visit here, Sec. Honasan and Gov. Aurelio M. Umali, assisted by Galing Sa Puso party-list Rep. Jose Gay G. Padiernos led the ceremonial launching of the new 163 Wi-Fi sites at the old capitol building.

In an interview with newsmen, Sec. Honasan, who mentioned that Umali, being a former deputy commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission himself before becoming a governor, knew that the DICT is on the right track as per its vital role in accomplishing President Duterte’s marching order that is to provide wireless inter-connectivity for the people.

“Connect the government to other governments, domestic and global, government to businesses, government to citizens, and everybody to each other. We must do this in a faster, cheaper, if not free, and more secure manner,” he said.

In their goal of activating a significant number of sites wherein phone calls and internet connectivity are possible for fast and easy access for the people, the DICT Secretary noted that the agency already issued a common tower policy which is meant to ensure universal access to quality, affordable, reliable and secure ICT services in the country.

“Dati-rati, bawat telco, isang tore kaniya-kaniya, sabi namin saan nyo babawiin ang pinagpatayo ninyo, so magsama-sama kayo sa isang tower, may common tower policy tayo, kayo magsingilan, pero huwag ninyo sisingilin ang subscriber,” said Honasan, in replying to this Journal Group reporter’s query.