L-R: EDC Negros CSR head Norreen Bautista, Gov. Roel Degamo, DICT regional director 7 OIC Frederick Amores, PCCI Region 7 governor Ed Du, barangay captain Leonarda Sarita, DICT provincial director Aurelio Tinapay and NTC provincial director Engr. Felipe GumaloThe residents of Brgy. Puhagan, Valencia, Negros Oriental will no longer have to travel for at least 40 minutes to Dumaguete City to get free WiFi, thanks to the wireless internet connection that Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has provided with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI), and the Valencia local government unit (LGU).
The combined on-site and Zoom event for the switch-on ceremony for the country’s first off-grid e-community was symbolic of the new normal way of holding meetings, gatherings and even connecting with family and friends since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Little did we know that a good internet connection will become essential for people to cope with their daily lives as students, employees, even as priests and other religious people, for companies to actually do business and, most of all, for all of us to emotionally connect with our loved ones both near and far. Having an internet connection has become a must for all of us to live,” said Atty. Allan Barcena, head of EDC’s CSR and PR division in his message during the switch-on ceremony.
Located in an off-grid or geographically isolated mountainous area, Brgy. Puhagan is one of EDC’s three partner barangays in the municipality that also include Caidiocan and Malaunay.
DICT spearheaded the procurement of the fixed wireless broadband network with a 40-Mbps bandwidth, Valencia mayor Edgar Teves and the LGU extended logistical and regulatory support, while NOCCI supplied the fixed wireless solar technology and a redundant broadband network design. EDC shouldered the cost of labor and the purchase of materials and equipment.
“This initiative is part of our mission to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future—which is essentially about creating exponential positive impact by elevating our environment and our stakeholders,” added Barcena.
This pilot project will soon be duplicated in other EDC partner barangays in the municipality. (Story/Photos by: Frances Ariola)