PLDT empowers Arakan women community, bridges digital divide amid pandemic

With community quarantine restrictions still in place, local upland communities face travel and trade challenges that affect their access to goods and services. Localized lockdowns also impact pre-existing gender inequalities, causing digital exclusion of females in remote communities. 

Girls of Barangay Salasang answer some modules with the help of digital technology.

Through its long-standing partnership with the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), PLDT helped bridge this digital divide and equipped the women of upland communities with digital knowledge and technological tools. Three upload communities of Arakan, North Cotabato, gained access information and tools via on-site digital webinars conducted by PLDT. The company also helped mothers facilitate home-based modular learning of their kids during the pandemic. 

“With technological and livelihood opportunities, we hope to help the women and girls in Arakan overcome the challenges of digital exclusion in far-flung communities. We are optimistic that the lessons learned through our webinars and modular learning, will enable them and their children to cope with the new normal,” said PLDT Community Relations Head Katherine P. Diaz De Rivera. 

In 2020, PLDT launched the program in Sitios Kaguko, Paraiso, and Pag-asa in Barangay Salasang. The session was led by three parents who served as volunteer teachers. As a result, close to 50 community mothers and children benefitted from the parent-facilitated modular learning. 

PLDT, through the Philippine Eagle Foundation, provides a webinar series for the women and girls of the Arakan community in North Cotabato.

“Nag-guol mi nga tungod sa pandemic, wala dyuy matun-an ang among mga anak. Pero pinaagi sa PLDT-PEF project, malipay ug makatulog mig sakto kay kada semana maka-attend ug session ang among mga anak. Dili na lang sila pirmi gadula. (We were worried that our kids were not learning well enough because of the pandemic. Because of the PLDT-PEF project, we are very happy and can sleep well knowing that our kids join weekly learning sessions and were not just playing all day,” said Kaguko Paraiso Pag-asa Environmental Conversation Association (KPP-ECA) member Norme Y. Bruno. 

“The Kaguko Paraiso Pag-asa Environmental Conversation Association of Salasang has been at the forefront of conversing a Philippine eagle family in Arakan. The project is our way of thanking the women and their families for protecting eagles and forests on behalf of everyone,” said Philippine Eagle Foundation Executive Director Dennis Salvador. 

Over the years, PLDT has reinforced its support to women and indigenous peoples by providing livelihood opportunities to help create positive change in various communities nationwide. These efforts underscore the company’s commitment to support the 17 Sustainable Goals of the United Nations, particularly in promoting decent work and economic growth, as well as upholding gender equality.