More online transactions needed

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes - The Philippine Star

The country’s biggest telecommunications company is on its way to hitting one million new fiber customers this year.

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), the fastest growing and preferred fiber network in the country, has already recorded close to half a million new fiber customers in the first half of 2021. According to company officials, they are on track to close the year with one million new fiber customers, solidifying its position as the leading and most reliable telco provider for robust home connectivity.

According to PLDT and Smart Communications president Al Panlilio, in order to support the increasing connectivity requirements of the market, they are investing more on network bandwidth capacity and have fast-tracked their rollout of additional fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) ports as they continue to provide the most extensive fiber infrastructure in the country.

Panlilio said they have ramped up their fiber installation and repair capabilities despite the restrictions brought about by the pandemic, allowing the company to outpace its nearest competitor’s fiber deployment and to deliver exceptional customer experience to all Filipinos.

PLDT has emphasized that with the pandemic, strong connectivity at home has become more critical for professionals and students to keep themselves safe and help curb the spread of the virus.

In connection with the spread of the virus, with telecommunications companies improving internet access and speeds, it is our hope that government agencies and the private sector alike will help bring down the rate of infections by keeping transactions with them strictly and exclusively online.

There are activities that obviously need physical presence, such as getting vaccinated. But there are things that can be done online and many of these activities could be super spreaders just because government agencies require applicants to personally go to a limited number of sites for registration.

Take the case of the registration under the Philippine Identification System.

There must be some way to obtain a person’s biometrics and verify it without having to be physically present.

To apply for the ID, one has to go to the registration site to claim a slot stub. Once a stub is received, a Philsys application form will be given upon entry.

About 200 slots are open per day, at least for one particular venue. That by itself poses a huge risk of infection.

After accomplishing the form and submitting the supporting documents, the applicant has to proceed to the data capture area for biometrics and photo capture.

Once done, the applicant has to wait for further announcement for the delivery of their PhilSys National ID.

In Canada, if one is applying for a visa or a study or work permit for the first time and the biometrics are no longer valid, they can go to an official biometrics collection service point.

Getting one’s fingerprints can also be done online.

In some cases, some provide forms that are printable and where one can capture the fingerprint requested by the system.

Taking one’s photo obviously can easily be done online. Some online payment apps, for instance, make it a prerequisite for verification, aside from the submission of copies of their valid government IDs.

Applicants have their photos submitted or taken using a system provided, and then require the submission of  a video of the applicant holding their IDs.

Given the advances in technology that are available for our use these days, many things can be accomplished without having to go out of one’s home.

To a greener recovery

A healthy world equals a healthy population.

According to the World Health Organization, healthier environments could prevent disease by up to a quarter, while globally, 71 percent of citizens believe that climate change is as serious as COVID-19.

This World Environmental Health Day, everyone is encouraged to work towards a healthier and greener recovery from the pandemic.

With most of us staying at home, now is the best time to adopt certain practices for a more sustainable lifestyle.

A report from major life insurer Allianz PNB Life noted that the growing need for personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and face shields, has increased waste and pollution.

Imagine all those used masks and shields that are being thrown away.

Cutting back on waste is not impossible. The report revealed that organizations like Green Antz, Green Haven, and The Plaf turn waste into construction materials.

They also offer pickups or have designated drop-off points to make recycling from home easier.

The report also emphasized that composting goes hand-in-hand with managing non-biodegrable trash.

As home cooking and healthy eating, and may I say home deliveries, make a comeback, households produce more food waste, which is already part of the world’s most abundant kind of waste.

Recycling may not be as daunting even for the inexperienced. It revealed that groups like Bokashi.Pinoy simplify composting, even for urban residents who do not have their own gardens.

The same report mentioned that cycling reduced traffic and carbon emissions, provides good exercise, and saves money on fuel and maintenance in the long run.

A number of people have turned to cycling since public transportation has been hard hit by several lockdowns and strict health protocols.

As a result, more cities have become bike-friendly for their residents. There is also Allianz Ride Safe, which aims to promote healthy and sustainable cycling culture among Filipinos.

According to Allianz CEO Alexander Grenz, the pandemic has pushed more and more Filipinos to get insurance, but the company also strives to meet that demand while balancing it with working for a more sustainable future.



For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

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