PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have been working closely with local government units across the country to provide communications support to their respective COVID-19 vaccination drives.
To date, PLDT and Smart have supported the rollout of vaccines in more than 100 LGU vaccination sites in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao by providing free internet connectivity for their frontliners through Smart Bro Pocket Wifi, Prepaid Home Wifi, or a fiber connection. Smart has also been providing communications support to COVID-19 frontliners by providing them SIMs with load.
This initiative has helped vaccine rollouts even in far-flung barangays, particularly in registration efforts. In Cebu, for instance, Cebu City Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Ibones emphasized the need to bring the vaccines closer to residents in far-flung communities to address vaccine hesitancy, as well as the difficulties residents have encountered in signing up for their schedules and in travelling to the city and back to get their jabs.
Ashley Ramirez, one of the encoders from Cebu City’s Vaccination Operation Center, also shared that Smart’s availability in the mountain barangays helped fast-track the pre-vaccination process. “Connectivity is normally a challenge in the mountain barangays, but Smart’s coverage has reached long distances. We were able to accommodate a lot of residents who wanted to get vaccinated,” shared Ramirez.
Project Hotline, Smart Infocast
Smart has also launched with various LGUs Project Hotline, which provides a smartphone kit, load allocation and a dedicated number for the LGU for emergency response and citizen concerns. Since last year, Smart has been teaming up with around 350 barangays, municipalities, cities, and provincial local government units for this ongoing nationwide initiative, which empowers LGUs with a direct channel to communicate with their constituents.
On the other hand, Smart Infocast, a web-based text broadcasting solution that enables LGUs and other organizations to easily distribute information, has also been helping more than 300 LGUs, barangays and national government agencies ramp up their efforts to respond to emergencies, calamities, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart Infocast is available in Metro Manila and the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Benguet, Batanes, La Union, Isabela, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Kalinga, Aurora, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Bataan, Rizal, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sr, Masbate, Sorsogon, Batangas, Marinduque, Albay, Laguna, Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, Quezon, Cavite, Cebu, Antique, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Aklan, Negros Occidental, Capiz, Iloilo, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Surigao del Norte, Tawi-Tawi, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato, South Cotabato and Basilan, among others.This initiative is part of Smart’s advocacy to improve the lives of the Filipino people by delivering digital solutions to its partner communities, supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal # 11 of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.