Presidential forum viewers hope 2022 bets can prioritize internet connectivity if they win

February 4, 2022 - 12:46 PM
Illustration by Viki_B via Pixabay, screenshot of Dinosaur game by Interaksyon

Viewers expressed hopes that internet connection in the country would be given attention following the connectivity disruption experienced by some presidential candidates during the KBP Presidential Forum on Friday.

The virtual forum is organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas in partnership with other member networks and it aims to give them a chance to present their platforms, as well as share their views on some issues.

Those who are in attendance are Vice President Leni Robredo, Sens. Ping Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and labor leader Ka Leody de Guzman.

Some Twitter users noticed that some presidential bets’ internet connection was unstable during the first part of the forum, preventing them from thoroughly sharing their views with the voters.

This prompted them to hope that the next president would give more attention to the state of internet connectivity in the country.

“Internet connection is a problem in the Philippines. This is experienced by the Presidentiables based in Manila. Imagine our students doing synchronous classes nationwide. This must be acted upon by whoever will win. #KBPForum,” a Twitter user said.

Synchronous classes refer to live classes in which students attend as a class at a scheduled time.

Most students adapted to online classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. During which, they attend classes via teleconferencing platforms like Zoom or other internet-based programs.

“Students could relate to Leni right now. INTERNET! KAPIIIIIIIIT!” another online user wrote.

“Very complementary ang platforms nina VP Leni at Ka Leody. Kaso parehas mahina yung internet connection (loudly crying face emoji). Sana maayos nila ASAP,” a different Filipino commented.

Others, however, claimed that De Guzman has a “smooth” online connection.

Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, acknowledged the internet-related issue in a tweet.

“I feel your pain, guys. We all want to see VP Leni at her best and internet issues get in the way of that. That she was in a borrowed office is no excuse, and if you need someone to blame, blame me. That hate will be motivation to make sure this won’t happen again,” he said on Friday morning.

At some point in the forum, Robredo was seen using a telephone to participate.

“Dalawang bagay na maaasahan ninyo: 1) Anumang hirap, maghahanap kami lagi ng paraan.  2) We learn from mistakes, and we WILL do better. Salamat sa pagsubaybay, sa payo, sa suporta, at sa pag-intindi. Fighting!” Gutierrez tweeted.

The vice president previously shared that her team temporarily settled in an office near an airport as she was slated to fly to areas affected by Typhoon Odette that damaged some parts of the country last year.

“Nanghiram kami ng opisina malapit sa airport kung saan puwede kami maki-Zoom para maka-attend ng KBP Presidential Candidates Forum. Naka-schedule sana kaming lumipad ngayong umaga para balikan ang Odette-affected areas, pero pinush back namin ng lunchtime to make time for this event,” she wrote.

After the forum, Robredo apologized for the bad connectivity.

“I apologize for the bad connectivity during the forum. The fault is all mine,” she said on her social media post.

“Our team tried hard to convince me to cancel all other engagements today, pero pinilit ko pa din hanapan ng paraan to fulfill all our commitments, dahil alam kong naghihintay rin ‘yung mga communities na pupuntahan namin para maihatid ‘yung tulong na pabahay bago magstart ang campaign period,” Robredo added.

“Again, our apologies. Maraming lessons learned. We will do better next time,” the vice president continued.

Robredo also bared that she was listening to the audio during the forum via landline phone service.

Philippine internet connection and distance learning

Internet connection remains a problem among Filipinos.

According to a survey conducted in April 2021, teachers, students and parents in distance learning mode continue to experience difficulties in this setup.

Months before that, the National Telecommunications Commission reported that the country’s download speeds have supposedly improved.

This received rebuttals from some Filipinos who claimed that it does not reflect in their own internet usages.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the public to rely on the internet more than ever since most transactions and workflow adopted digital systems to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.