Marcos vows to improve online connectivity, cyber security

Alexis Romero – The Philippine Star

January 19, 2023 | 12:00am

DAVOS – President Marcos, cognizant of low internet speed and access in the Philippines, vowed to undertake measures to improve online connectivity and step up cyber security.

During an open forum at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday in this Swiss city, Marcos admitted that the government has to do better in connecting Filipinos and advancing the digital economy.

“The connectivity in the Philippines is still pretty low. And it’s unfortunate because in some of the studies we’ve made, the general consumer, if you want to call them that, talks to every facet of their lives through the internet, except for (the) government,” Marcos said.

To address the issue, local governments have stepped in to ensure that internet connectivity infrastructure are in place to reach Filipinos in the regions, he added.

“Local governments and some agencies within the national government would really take on the initiative and start their own systems so as to be able to communicate… So this has now got to be consolidated and put together,” the President said.

During the telco summit last December, Marcos said the Philippines’ connectivity rate has to improve since it is “still pretty low” at below 70 percent.

“That’s not good enough, especially for an archipelagic country such as ours where connectivity is exceedingly important because we have many isolated communities who need some form of contact, some form of communication with the rest of the country, with the rest of the world,” he said at the time.

In its National Broadband Plan published in 2017, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the Philippines lagged behind its neighbors on the affordability, availability and speed of internet access.

Citing the Global Information Technology Report 2016 of the WEF, the DICT said the Philippines fell behind in terms of affordability of information and communication services among the ASEAN-5 countries, which also consists of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

The DICT seeks to launch more than 15,000 free WiFi sites this year to improve internet access in the…