BAGUIO CITY – – The National Broadband Plan(NBP) which aims to provide affordable, fast and secured internet connectivity gains more ground with the Department of Information and Communication Technology(DICT) partnering with electric cooperatives.

DICT signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Transmission Corporation and the Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) for the NBP pilot project utilizing BENECO’s Fiber Optics infrastructure in bringing internet connectivity to government offices and facilities in its franchise area.

The MOA signing was held Tuesday (January 8) at the BENECO office here with DICT Undersecretary Denis Villorente and Assistant Secretary Alan Silor; TRANSCO Vice President for Concession and Contract Management Group, lawyer Rowaldo Del Mundo, and BENECO Board President Rocky Aliping and General Manager Gerardo Verzosa as the main signatories.

Also present to witness the MOA signing were National Electrification Authority Deputy Administrator lawyer Rossan Rosero – Lee and Philippine Rural Electric Cooperative Association Inc. officials, lawyers Noel De Leon and Janeen Colingan.

Villorente, in his keynote message, outlined that partnering with electric cooperatives for the NBP is in line with DICT’s mandate to strengthen the capacity of government agencies to use technology in order to deliver better service to the Filipino people.

“Internet is already pervasive in our country. We want to improve so government can deliver better services to the people. This is in order to address the growing public appeal for faster internet connection as directed by President Rodrigo Duterte,” Villorente stressed.

For the NBP Pilot Project, Silor explained that DICT has a tripartite agreement with Transco and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines for DICT to be given the right of use or utilize the fiber backbone of NGCP for telecommunication purposes of government agencies, and that various electric cooperative are being tapped for such purpose.

For the partnership with BENECO, Silor disclosed that there are initially 14 government agencies being provided with internet connectivity. These are the Police Regional Office – Cordillera, Benguet Provincial Capitol, DOST Regional Office, La Trinidad Municipal Hall and Police Office, Benguet General Hospital, Benguet State University, Baguio City Hall, Baguio City Police Station 7, PAGASA – Baguio Agromet and Radar, NGCP La Trinidad Substation, BCDA, and BENECO headquarters.

Del Mundo highlighted the importance of faster and dependable internet connectivity for the development of the country and the Filipino people. TRANSCO, he said, is hoping that with this NBP Pilot Project with BENECO at the forefront, other electric cooperatives will respond to the government’s call for collaboration in bringing internet connectivity in every rural community in the country.

For BENECO’S part, Verzosa expressed gratitude for the partnership and assured that they will play their part in helping the government in reaching to the Filipino masses through the provision of electricity with competitive rate, and now also for the provision of quality, reliable and secured internet connection through the NBP to the electric consumers down to the remote areas in the province of Benguet. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)