Lawmakers laud gov’t’s ‘Agila’ internet satellite program for PH’s far-flung areas
Lawmakers from both chambers of Congress lauded President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s plan to bring the first two internet satellites solely dedicated to the Philippines to serve far-flung areas.
During Marcos’ working visit to the United States, Astranis Space Technologies Corp. formally signed the agreement with Orbits Corp. to bring internet connectivity to unserved and underserved areas in the Philippines by launching MicroGEO satellites.
Senator Francis Tolentino, Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Science and Technology, said Marcos’ initiative would unlock stronger economic activities and more opportunities in the country’s far-flung areas.
Tolentino highlighted the program’s potential benefits, including improved education for the youth, enhanced marketing capabilities for local products, and crucial access to regular weather information, particularly vital for farmers.
“Many areas in the country suffer from technological poverty and they are internet poor because telcos find the cost of servicing them as economically unfeasible. And this contributes to economic stagnation,” Tolentino said.
“Internet satellite will open these areas to opportunities that will improve the education of their youth, the marketing of their products, and even weather information which is what farmers need on a regular basis,” he added.
Addressing the digital divide
Bulacan’s San Jose del Monte City Rep. Rida Robes, member of the House Information And Communications Technology Committee, emphasized Marcos’ crucial role to address the country’s digital divide.
Despite the prevalence of platforms like TikTok and YouTube, Robes highlighted that approximately 25 million Filipinos still lack internet access, particularly in remote areas where both physical and broadband isolation persist.
“Kahit uso na ang TikTok, kahit YouTube na ang bagong TV, 25 milyon pa ring mga Pilipino ang hindi internet users dahil walang serbisyo sa kanila. Yung liblib na lugar ay hindi lang physically isolated, broadband isolated pa,” Robes said.
“At ang daming economic opportunities na magpapaganda sana ng buhay ang hindi nila napapakinabangan. Hindi lang sa pangkabuhayan ang pagunlad, lalago rin ang demokrasya, kasi ang access sa malayang impormasyon ang lumilikha ng mulat na mamamayan,” she added.
More jobs, more investments
Marcos’ program to bring Astranis and Orbits’ two internet satellites dedicated to the Philippines is expected to generate US$400 million investment over the next eight years.
These MicroGEO satellites will provide internet service in the unserved and underserved areas of the Philippines, covering up to 10 million users and 30,000 barangays.
The program is projected to create more than 10,000 jobs for direct and indirect employees and partners.
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