Island town protests slow internet connection

Placards read "Cuyo: Airplane Mode Capital of the Philippines" and "4G Scammed" made by students and teachers exasperated by poor Internet signal in Cuyo town. | Contributed photo.

Students and teachers from Cuyo flocked to the town square on Saturday (March 27) afternoon to protest the dismally slow internet connection in the town.

One of the organizers explained that the situation has gotten so bad not just for teachers and students doing online classes, but even for government employees who need to submit reports and other documents online.

“Ginawa namin ito kasi malala na talaga ang kawalan ng maayos na Internet connection dito sa Cuyo, lalo na para sa mga estudyante, mga teacher. Ang iba kailangan pang umakyat ng mga bundok para sa maayos na signal. Hirap na hirap na talaga kami,” said John Michael Evio, a teacher and one of the demonstration’s initiators.

Evio explained that initially, an estimated 200 residents were willing to hold a rally. However, because of current mass gathering restrictions, organizers decided just to go to the town’s Freedom Park and take pictures with the intent of going viral.

“Estimate ko nasa 20 lang kami na pumunta doon. Mga high school students, college students, at mga teacher kami. Pero doon sa GC (group chat) na binuo namin, mas marami talaga ang gustong pumunta. ‘Yon nga lang, hindi na-approve ni mayor (Mark delos Reyes) at ng PNP (Philippine National Police) ‘yong permit namin. Kaya naisip na lang namin na for pictures na lang, baka sakaling makita para maaksyunan,” he added.

The demonstrators did not experience any reprimands from local authorities, according to Evio. However, passers-by began to join the rally, which made them decide to pack up before too many would attract undue attention.

“Ayaw rin kasi namin na kasuhan pa kami, o maaresto, kaya noong nakita na namin na dumadami na, umalis na rin kami,” said Evio.

“Sana ay maaksyunan talaga ito, sana makarating ang problemang ito sa mga telecoms para makagawa sila ng paraan,” he added.

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