(From left) The author, MVP Group Media Bureau managing director; Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, PLDT-Smart chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan and Smart president and PLDT chief revenue officer Alfredo Panlilio.
Free Smart Wi-Fi for Manila
MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo (The Philippine Star) - August 27, 2019 - 12:00am

You read the title right.

PLDT Inc. and wireless unit, Smart Communications, recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the city of Manila to provide fast and free Smart Wi-Fi across the city, particularly government offices, hospitals, universities and other key areas.

Proposed areas for fast and free Wi-Fi coverage include the Manila City Hall, Ospital ng Maynila, Tondo Medical Center, Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, Universidad de Manila and Museo Pambata.

The MOA was signed by PLDT-Smart chairman and CEO and PLDT president Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP), Smart president and PLDT EVP and chief revenue officer Alfredo Panlilio and Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso in ceremonies held at Manila City Hall. Also present during the signing was Google Philippines head of public policy Yves Gonzalez.

(From left) Manila City Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, Mayor Isko Moreno, Manuel V. Pangilinan, Alfredo Panlilio and Manila City administrator Felix Espiritu.

To recall, Smart and Google Philippines forged a partnership for the implementation of the Google Station project involving the establishment of Wi-Fi platforms providing “free, open and high-quality” internet access to users. These free public Wi-Fi stations will be established in what they call heavily trafficked locations across the country.

Once fully deployed, these fast and free Wi-Fi sites in the City of Manila will join the growing list of more than 400 live Smart-Google stations.

Hats off to the hardworking women and men of PLDT-Smart for laying the groundwork for this venture to happen, like PLDT-Smart Enterprise Business Groups SVP and head Jovy Hernandez, PLDT-Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto, PLDT Alpha FVP and head Vic Tria, PLDT Alpha CRB public sector head Joy Rodriguez Hilao and Smart Wi-Fi group head Ina Pineda.

This was another opportunity for the private sector to partner for progress with the public sector, an example of public-private partnership (PPP) working at the local government level.

Manuel V. Pangilinan and Mayor Isko Moreno.

I previously wrote of another successful PPP on the local level, the iconic and highly anticipated Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway. Construction is ongoing, so do watch for it.

This partnership with the city of Manila could not have come at a better time. For one, incumbent Mayor Francisco Domagoso, or “Yorme Isko Moreno” as he is more popularly known, is enjoying a huge wave of popularity not just from his constituents but also from fans both local and abroad for his no-nonsense, “aksyon-agad” approach to local governance, an approach that has been the peg in LGUs across the country.

For the other, the good mayor’s current approach and advocacy works well with Smart’s no-nonsense and ongoing network expansion and modernization program, not just in Manila but all over the country.

This was also a way for MVP to give back to the city of his birth and where he, during his childhood years, lived for a time at his grandparents’ house in Sampaloc, and spent his grade school and high school years at San Beda College. (Disclosure: I also spent my formative years in San Beda and have held the Bedan spirit and ideals close to my heart.)

(From left) PLDT Alpha FVP and head Vic Tria, PLDT-Smart Enterprise Business Groups SVP and head Jovy Hernandez, Mayor Isko Moreno, the author and Alfredo Panlilio.

To quote MVP in his speech during the signing, “We are happy to work with Mayor Moreno and his team in helping provide ‘Fast and Free Wi-Fi for Everyone’ in the city, in order to bring the benefits of the internet closer to Manileños, and help improve their quality of life.”

 MVP likewise thanked the good mayor and the local government for trusting PLDT and Smart as their digital solutions and connectivity partner and looking forward to a fruitful partnership with the city in the years to come.

MVP and Mayor Isko, both Manileños, both fully hands-on, no-nonsense, hardworking and dedicated.

And that’s no tolongges.

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