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PHL looks to US, Japanese tech to improve connectivity

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Tuesday that it hopes to tap US and Japanese technology to improve connectivity in the Philippines.

The department will work to bring in “low-orbit satellites from the US and high-altitude platform stations from Japan, among others,” DICT Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Foreign Relations Anna Mae Y. Lamentillo told reporters via chat. 

Ms. Lamentillo has yet to confirm whether the department is in talks with other US satellite companies. Starlink Internet Services Philippines, Inc., a unit of Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is expected to start serving remote communities in the Philippines by the middle of 2023.

About 65% of the country still has no access to the internet, according to Ms. Lamentillo.

Separately, the DICT announced that it hopes to collaborate with Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information on e-governance and cybersecurity.

Ms. Lamentillo met with Singapore’s Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho Wei Hong on Monday to discuss further the areas of cooperation in relation to the recently signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) on digital cooperation.

“We discussed with Ambassador Ho how we can implement this MoU and which areas we should focus on. Singapore has so much experience in the area of e-governance and cybersecurity and they can share with us their best practices in these areas,” Ms. Lamentillo said.

The department said that the MoU on digital cooperation was signed on Sept. 7 during the state visit to Singapore of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

“The MoU covers digital cooperation, including digital connectivity, particularly in inter-operable systems and frameworks that enable electronic documentation; cybersecurity, such as organizing training courses and technical programs through the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence to develop and enhance skills related to cybersecurity; and digital government/e-governance, such as in the areas of digital government strategy, digital government services, and digital identity,” the DICT said. — Arjay L. Balinbin