Duterte vows free Wi-Fi access in public places: ‘Happy lahat’

  • The President promised to provide free Wi-Fi access in selected public areas
  • Areas would include parks, plazas, public libraries, schools, etc.
  • He also directed the DICT to come up with better and faster Internet services

MANILA, Philippines – Expect faster and wider Wi-Fi coverage under a Duterte administration.

During his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte promised the long-suffering public more access to Wi-Fi and faster Internet services.

“Wi-Fi access shall be provided at no charge in selected public places including parks, plazas, public libraries, schools, government hospitals, train stations, airports and seaports,” ABS-CBN quoted him as saying. “Happy lahat [Everybody’ll be happy.]

Duterte also said he has directed the newly-created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to upgrade the country’s Internet speeds.

“I have ordered the newly-created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to develop a national broadband plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technology to improve Internet speed,” he said.

The Philippines has notoriously one of the world’s slowest Internet speeds. Ironically, its Internet speeds are also one of the world’s most expensive.

Critics have blamed the current duopoly of PLDT and Globe, government inaction and lack of infrastructure as the reasons for the poor Internet conditions in the country. Financial pundits also estimate the country to be losing millions of pesos everyday due to slow Internet speed.

Lower Taxes, Faster Business Permit Processing

Other promises of the president include lowering both corporate and personal income taxes and faster processing times for business permits.

“On taxation, my administration will pursue tax reforms towards a simpler, and more equitable, and more efficient tax system that can foster investment and job creation. We will lower personal and corporate income tax rates,” he said.

“Processing time in issuing permits and licenses shall be reduced to the barest minimum, in my city, it is always three days for local governments. That will bind the Office of the President down to the last barangay elect. Three days,” Duterte added.