A promise fulfilled!
The remote southern islands of Taganak, also known as Turtle Island, and Mapun, along with 24 communities in the Basiland, Sulu, Tawitawi Islands (BASULTA) will be linked to the outside world next month when the Department of Information and Communications Technology sets up VSAT facilities and WI-FI Hotspots.
The installation of the VSAT in the remote islands, acronym for Very Small Aperture Terminal, which is linked to a satellite to provide digital connections, comes one year after a Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) team which I headed visited Taganak and Baguan, both belonging to the Turtle Islands Group of Tawitawi Province.
Mapun Island asol belongs to the Province of Tawitawi but is located south of Palawan Island..
During my visit to Taganak, I discovered that residents of the island had to go up to a higher ground to be able to get cellphone signals from a Malaysian telecommunications facility.
During my engagement with the local officials of Taganak, I promised that MinDA would work for the activation of communications facilities in the Island and that I would come back.
Following the visit, MinDA sought the help of DICT in establishing communications facilities to link up the people of the island to the outside world.
Next month, March, I will return to the Turtle Island to join the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in the activation of the VSAT facilities.
According to DICT Region 9 Director Tess Camba the islands of Taganak and Mapun will each receive two VSAT facilities establishing six access points per island.
Twenty four other areas in the BASULTA Region will also get VSAT facilities.
In Taganak Island, one of the VSAT facilities will be established this week in the island’s high school compound allowing students and residents nearby access to the internet.
Four desktop computers will be set up in Taganak Island while another six will be in Mapun Island, according to the DICT.
A total of 20 WI-FI Hotspots will be established by the DICT in the BASULTA area, addressing a problem which had isolated most of the residents of the islands from the rest of the country.
The Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. will provide security and facilitate the deployment of several DICT teams for the installation of the VSAT facilities and the WI-FI equipment.
Alongside the DICT team headed by ARD Eng. Gevere, a team also from PTV-4 will join them as well as engineers from Smart Telecoms who will reactivate the cell tower which is under upgrading to 4gLTE status.