Globe Telecom promotes digital inclusion for residents in remote island of Antique
Providing better network connectivity, innovative digital applications, and building digital skills for over 19,000 Semirara Island residents
Over 19,000 residents of Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique now have access to better mobile connectivity, digital applications, and cyber wellness training, as Globe and its partners promote digital inclusion in the remote island community.
Almost an hour flight from Manila, Semirara Island has an area of 55 square kilometers and home to the country’s richest coal reserves. Most of the workers and their families residing in the island are from nearby provinces of Mindanao. Mobile connectivity and digital applications are indispensable in their way of life.
Globe collaborated with the largest coal producer in the Philippines, Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC), and the local government unit to digitally transform the island.
“Digital inclusion is a huge undertaking because it requires cooperation from a broad set of stakeholders – private enterprises, local residents, and local government. We are happy that the stakeholders have given their support so we can bring about change that would eventually result to a more progressive island community,” said Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu.
Firing up LTE
To improve voice and video communication, Globe teamed up with SMPC to upgrade all cell towers in the island with LTE technology. As a result, better network connectivity serves as a bridge between Semirara Island and the outside world. Forecasts about typhoons become readily available for the fisherfolk community. Semirara Island residents are now able to keep in touch with family members elsewhere whenever they like. The network upgrade also significantly enriches the residents’ free time as movies, music streaming and mobile gaming are now available.
Onboarding to a modern payroll system
Mynt, a financial tech startup of Ant Financial, Globe, and Ayala, is providing SMPC with a modern payroll solution that allows the company to easily disburse salaries, loans, or allowances. SMPC is the single biggest employer in Semirara island and its nearby areas, providing jobs to over 3,300 individuals with over a billion pesos in annual value.
Through GCash, SMPC employees can send money to other GCash users anywhere in the Philippines – perhaps to their relatives in other parts of the country – for free, and within seconds. It also allows them to pay bills at the comfort of their homes, and without falling in line at automated teller machines.
Promoting digital literacy
Globe is also working closely with public and private high schools in the island to promote responsible online citizenship to the youth and teachers of Semirara. Globe Bridging Communities will roll out the Digital Thumbprint Program to public schools Semirara National High School and Tinogboc National High School, and a private school Divine Word School of Semirara Island, Inc. in June 2019. Developed by Globe, Optus, and Singtel, this program offers free workshops that educate students about their online behavior. Since 2016, Digital Thumbprint Program has reached over 1.9 million students across the Philippines.
These initiatives are in line with the commitment of Globe to UN Sustainable Development Goals No. 9 (build a resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation); as well as No. 4 (ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all).