A mountainous barangay in Valencia, Negros Oriental will soon be the first village in Negros Island to have free wireless internet access in public areas through a public-private partnership led by Energy Development Corporation (EDC).

This privilege will be given to residents of Brgy. Puhagan once the facility is put up this May 2019 through the public-private partnership of EDC, the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce & Industry (NOCCI), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT),  the Municipality of Valencia, and Barangay Puhagan.

EDC donated P735,000.00 to the barangay for the materials and equipment necessary to construct the public wifi facility, while DICT will give provision for bandwidth, the local government of Valencia will allocate of 5mpbs of their 20mbps bandwidth to Brgy. Puhagan, which in turn, will provide the site and maintain the facility. NOCCI will provide technical support to the barangay.

In the recent signing of the Deed of Donation, Brgy Puhagan Chairman Leonarda Sarita expressed,  “my gratitude cannot be measured as this will be a big help to the community, most especially to the students who don’t need to travel to Dumaguete City to do online research.”

DICT Provincial Director Engr. Aurelio Tinapay revealed that no telecommunications company was willing to provide this service because doing so in a mountainous area was expensive. ““Thankfully we have proactive partners like Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves who was willing to allocate 5mbps for Puhagan, NOCCI for their technical support, and EDC for the infrastructure.”

Norreen G. Bautista, head of EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility team in Negros Island, emphasized the importance of this project because it is the company’s way of empowering its community by being globally connected through the internet. As confirmed by DICT, EDC’s donation is historic because Brgy. Puhagan is the first “off-grid” disaster-prone barangay in the country to be connected to the internet for free.