State-owned Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the procurement of Wi-Fi infrastructure system in line with the government’s bid provide free Internet access nationwide.
The procurement, expected to cost P2.39 billion, will “benefit Filipinos in 81 provinces all over the country as we democratize access to the internet and information which can fuel economic growth, especially in small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” PITC President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Almarinez said.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed into law Republic Act 10929, also known as the “Free Internet Access In Public Access Act”, which institutionalizes free Internet access in public places nationwide.
The DICT, which is the lead implementing agency, will through the “PipolKonek” project” roll out Free Public Wi-Fi hotspots in public plazas and parks; public libraries, schools, colleges and universities; rural health units and government hospitals; train stations, airports, and seaports; and national and local government offices.
The department aims to reach over 13,000 public places across 145 cities and 1,489 municipalities.
The PITC has likewise partnered with the Department of National Defense (DND) for the procurement of defense equipment for the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“The procurement of the defense equipment is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s goal of modernizing the supplies and weapons of our soldiers as one way of recognizing their bravery and selfless sacrifices for the nation,” Almarinez said.
The PITC, an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, has facilitated various government to government, business to government, business to business, and business to consumer transactions through its international trade and procurement services.
It aims to engage in exports, trade services and special trading arrangements; ensure the most efficient and cost-effective procurement services; contribute to price/supply stabilization of goods and services and create strategic alliances that promote the growth and sustainability of businesses and enterprises.
The PITC recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s Geo Spectrum, an agency similar to the functions of PITC, for the procurement of a broad range of goods such as coconut oil, marine and agriculture products, and pharmaceuticals that the Philippines can export to Russia.
“We have been firm with our goal to create more jobs and opportunities for the Filipino people by opening our doors to other trading partners. This will further empower entrepreneurs and local industries to compete in the global arena,” Almarinez said.