PLDT, Inc. and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have provided connectivity support to various free co-working and learning spaces in areas severely affected by Super Typhoon Odette in Bohol and Cebu.
These initiatives aim to assist residents in work-from-home (WFH) setups but are still challenged by the unavailability of electricity and stable internet connection at their homes. In partnership with PLDT and Smart, the co-working spaces set up by local government units enable residents to latch on to Libreng WiFi powered by PLDT Fibr and avail of Smart’s Libreng Tawag and Text services.
Novell Cynet Omac, a social media coordinator, is one of the Oponganons benefiting from this initiative. “My work requires me to be always online, and this collaboration of Lapu-Lapu City and PLDT and Smart really helped in fulfilling my online tasks. I’m also thankful that this is near my place, which helps me save my fare going to another city for work,” she said.
PLDT and Smart have powered the following free co-working spaces in Cebu and Bohol via seamless connectivity: E-Library Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City, New Carcar City Hall, Talisay City Hall and Liloan Municipal Hall Grounds in Cebu, and Bohol Tropics Resort in Tagbilaran City.
“We are happy to partner with local government units in providing connectivity to workers and students relying on the internet to perform their tasks. This inspires us more to work harder and expedite our restoration efforts so we can work again in the comforts of our homes,” said Rodel Miagao, PLDT Consumer Service-North Cebu Zone Head.
Louie de los Santos, Officer-In-Charge of Lapu-Lapu City’s IT Department, said that the connectivity support from PLDT and Smart has been very helpful for this project. “Each beneficiary I spoke to is very thankful for this initiative. They say, they were able to save the money that would've had been spent on expensive co-working space rental fees that usually cost at least P500 per day,” he said.
The workstations in Talisay City, Carcar City, Liloan, and Lapu-Lapu City operate 24/7, perfect for employees working graveyard shifts. Meanwhile, the co-working space in Bohol Tropics Resort opens daily from 9AM to 10PM.
“Most of them are paid by the hour which means that if they're not able to log in because of the unavailability of electricity or internet issues, they won't be earning anything for that day. And this affects their capacity to feed their families. But through this project, they were able to get their jobs back and earn money for food and house repairs,” de los Santos added.
These efforts are part of PLDT and Smart’s #SafeandSmart advocacy, which promotes preparedness and immediate response through network resilience, continuous availability of communication services, and relief assistance to help communities mitigate disaster risks. These initiatives also align with the companies’ commitment to helping the country achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) #11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities.