PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are providing connectivity support to the Office of the Vice President’s drive-thru vaccination site in Harbour Square, Manila.
PLDT and Smart turned over Smart Bro Pocket Wifi and PLDT Prepaid Home WiFi units that will be used by frontliners and volunteers at the OVP’s Vaccine Express site. Held in collaboration with the City Government of Manila, the site is expected to cater to tricycle drivers, pedicab drivers and delivery riders from the city.
Smart has also turned over five School-in-a-Bag units to the OVP, in support of its Community Learning Hubs, where students can get free access to computers, gadgets, equipment, and the internet, as well as tutors, to ensure that no learner is left behind, especially during the crisis. The School-in-a-Bag is designed to provide access to technology, connectivity, content, and a disaster-resilient pedagogy even for schools in remote areas without electricity. Each water-resistant backpack carries a laptop and pocket WiFi for the teacher and 10 tablets for the students, all pre-loaded with interactive, multimedia content accessible even if offline. Through various initiatives implemented with PLDT and with the support of external organizations, Smart deployed 86 School-in-a-Bag packages in 2020 alone. Since its launch in 2016, around 300 bags have been deployed, benefiting over 83,000 students and more than 4,000 teachers in last-mile communities.
PLDT and Smart also previously rolled out fast and free Smart WiFi connectivity in isolation sites set-up by the OVP in Malabon City.
“This is our way of helping ensure that our trike and pedicab drivers and riders–our economic frontliners–have access to vaccines. We thank the City of Manila and our partners like PLDT and Smart for working with us in this project,” Vice President Leni Robredo said.
“Connectivity is a key component in our country’s COVID-19 response. We are always ready to work with our government to ensure that vaccination sites and other COVID-19 facilities have access to fast and reliable connectivity, and we take this mission to heart,” said PLDT Inc and Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio.