DICT provides free Wi-Fi access in COVID-19 quarantine, testing centers for patients, frontliners

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Friday said that patients with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) staying in monitoring and quarantine facilities will now have an opportunity to communicate via the internet with their loved ones as they battle the disease in isolation.

In a statement, the DICT said that through its Free Wi-Fi For All Program, free internet access has been provided to more than 30 COVID-19 monitoring and control centers in the country, including those designated as quarantine areas, lodging for frontliners, and emergency operations centers.

Among these free Wi-Fi-enabled facilities are the Ninoy Aquino Stadium (RMSC) in Malate, Manila; Leyte Provincial Emergency Operations Center in Palo, Leyte; COVID-19 Center for Central Visayas located at the Sacred Heart School–Ateneo de Cebu in Cebu City; and Incident Command Post/Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against COVID-19 in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte.  

In addition, there are also existing free Wi-Fi services in five accredited COVID-19 testing centers nationwide: the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City, the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, and the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City.

Aside from giving an opportunity for COVID-19 patients to communicate with their families during their hospital treatment, the DICT said the free internet access will also enable swift data gathering and exchange among hospitals.

“The DICT is committed to responding to the challenge that this pandemic has brought. Now, more than ever, connecting the Filipino to the Internet, especially those fighting in the frontlines of this war, has become an important task—crucial to aid communication between these facilities and help our medical professionals and other front liners stay connected with their loved ones,” ICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said in a statement.

Pursuant to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to the DICT as a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the Free Wi-Fi for All Program aims to accelerate the Philippine government’s efforts in enhancing Internet accessibility during the COVID-19 crisis.

The updated list of sites covered by DICT’s free Wi-Fi for all programs can be viewed here.

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