LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET—Mt. Pulag is Luzon’s highest peak but it is also the mythical dwelling place of “Kabunian,” the supreme deity who showered indigenous Benguet communities with blessings. By 2024, count free internet connections for schools among Kabunian’s many gifts. Straddling Benguet and the provinces of Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya, Mt. Pulag (at 2,928 meters above sea level) will serve as a key relay station alongside Baguio City’s Mt. Santo Tomas (2,260 masl) that will use microwaves to transmit internet data to most of the Cordillera. Schools in the mountain region may start benefiting from the Cordillera Internet Connectivity project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) by the first quarter of 2024, according to resource persons at the Education Convergence Conference hosted by the Cordillera regional office of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Dec. 5. “Only 28 percent of the entire Cordillera has decent internet connectivity, and that is a problem for the DepEd and many towns and agencies,” said Allan Lao, the DICT technical operations division chief in the Cordillera, who spoke at the conference. Technology was quickly embraced by educators in the region to ensure that children continue to learn while locked down in their homes for almost two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said DepEd Cordillera Director Estela Leon Cariño, who presented the state of Cordillera education during the conference. She said many schools had since adopted DepEd Cordillera’s Project Hyteq (Hybrid Learning using Technology with Equity and Quality), which uses a digital management system to combine in-person classes with virtual classrooms. First phase But for mountain villages to march toward full digitalization, they need a steady internet connection, Cariño stressed. The Cordillera provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, Abra and Mountain Province are part of the first phase of forming the National Broadband Network, the internet highway to be governed by the Philippine government which still buys internet and cloud storage services from commercial firms, Lao said. Since it began in 2015, the broadband project “has progressed so slowly,” he said. “[But] this December they will light up the tunnel where the line that comes from California (in the United States) connects to Baler town in Aurora province,” Lao said, adding that the broadband may be switched on by February. The Baler line links to San Fernando City in La Union province and runs up to La Trinidad town in Benguet

2023-12-08T22:27:19Z dg43tfdfdgfd