Consumer advocate CitizenWatch Philippines urged business groups to help local government units (LGUs) with digital solutions to strengthen their ongoing COVID-19 response so they can return to normalcy and economic activities.

CitizenWatch convenor Atty. Tim Abejo said the ongoing COVID-19 response and vaccination deployment in LGUs need to be empowered with the capability to harness digital technologies and fast connectivity to avoid leakages and delays. By helping LGUs, he said, the vaccination rollout program will be faster that bodes well in bringing back local economies on track.

Abejo noted that the daily infections still hovering at 5,000 a day only showed that the COVID-19 virus is still spreading at an alarming rate. “Sustained communication, accurate data gathering, and monitoring of vaccination data will be useful not just for implementation but will be a valuable reference for any unforeseen permutations of the virus,” Abejo said.

“A practicable and very doable example is the Free Wifi initiative deployed by the local government of Mandaluyong in cooperation with Globe to support daily information and communication for its vaccination operations and ongoing COVID-19 response. We strongly encourage more private sector interventions that would help hasten population herd immunity that we need to achieve as soon as possible to reverse the trajectory of this deep economic crisis,” Abejo added.

Mandaluyong Mayor Carmelita Abalos echoed the consumer group’s position citing how critical communication has become at this time. “Every day, we need to reach out one by one to 10,000 Mandalenyos to inform them of their vaccination schedule, but Globe’s AMBER facilities help us make a better and smoother coordination for our MandaVax program.”

Last year, GoWiFi hotspots were also installed at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), Mandaluyong Public Markets 1 & 2, and Puregold Price Club-Shaw.

Peter Maquera, senior vice president of Globe Business, for his part, said that “With digital solutions proven to be critical to overcome the challenges of the pandemic going into the new normal, I’m happy to share that Globe will be supporting the city with Globe GoWiFi and AMBER, technologies that we hope will improve emergency-preparedness and manage the safety of Mandalenyos.”

“Digital readiness is a complex challenge for government and private sector leaders as we are just beginning to appreciate the vast benefits of digital technologies as an indispensable tool for continuity and sustainability towards what we hope will be a better balanced world that has learned from the lessons of this global pandemic,”Abejo added.

“The fight against COVID-19 is far from over, and nothing short of an all of society synergy and a total victory against the virus will get us back on track to development mode,” he concluded.

Source: Manila Bulletin (