Pacquiao seeks study on portable cell sites as classes, work shift online in new normal

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2020 07:58 PM

Sen. Manny Pacquiao on March 23, 2020 urges his colleagues to support the President by passing the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to prevent or minimize the spread of coronavirus in the country. Henzberg Austria, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao has filed a resolution seeking to look into the "availability and accessibility" of portable cell sites in the Philippines as the country shifts to online classes and work-from-home schemes to limit physical interactions and stem the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Senate needs to study if the "deployment of these cell sites on wheels or portable cell towers" can help the government in addressing the shift "towards distance learning and virtual communications to promote physical distancing," Pacquiao said in his Senate Resolution No. 435.

"Portable cell sites can be deployed right away to address the slower internet connectivity in affected areas" but Philippine telcos are "charging hefty internet bills to consumers compared with other countries," he said.

The portable devices have to be considered as the "increase in demand resulted in significantly slower internet connectivity," he said.

Several companies have shifted to work-from-home schemes with lockdowns enforced across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Public and private schools are also preparing to hold online classes after President Rodrigo Duterte banned face-to-face classes while a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to be available.

Pacquiao's resolution is expected to be referred to a Senate Committee once Congress resumes sessions in July.