PLDT, Smart lead digital welfare of senior citizens and other vulnerable sectors

Digital training for Cebuano seniors

PLDT and Smart championed the digital welfare of Filipino senior citizens in 2023, via their Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Advocacy through Technology (IDEATe) program.

“PLDT and Smart have long been implementing programs for senior citizens nationwide. We remain committed to serving more Filipino elderly and other vulnerable groups through our services and programs that improve their everyday lives through technology,” said Cathy Yang, FVP and Head of Group Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart.

Throughout the SIM Registration period from December 2022 to July 2023, Smart and TNT provided thorough assistance to senior citizen subscribers, recognizing them as among the most vulnerable to text scams and various forms of online fraud.

Smart and TNT boosted their multimedia information drive and worked closely with LGUs and national agencies to bring assisted SIM registration desks closer to the public, prioritizing senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and legacy phone users.

These initiatives, positively received by senior customers, underscored PLDT’s broader goal of protecting subscribers from online criminal activities.

PLDT and Smart also expanded their inclusion efforts in Cebu, upskilling 200 Cebuano seniors through digital literacy training.

Together with French NGO Passerelles Numériques Philippines (PNPh) and the Lapu-Lapu City and Cebu City LGUs, the group taught senior participants smartphone and internet usage basics, assisted by youth volunteers.

To emphasize the importance of digital wellness among the elderly, PLDT and Smart also gave enlightening discussions on internet safety and balancing social media use to ensure one’s mental wellness in today’s increasingly digital landscape.

Upskilling seniors since 2017

In 2017, PLDT and Smart launched a digital literacy initiative specifically for senior citizens. Dubbed Smart Millenniors—a combination of the words ‘senior’ and ‘millennials’ — the program taught seniors about smartphones, mobile data, social media, cybersecurity, mobile photography and harnessing technology in disaster response. In three years, the program empowered over 400 senior citizens nationwide, equipping them with digital literacy skills, aided by 200 youth volunteers.

This award-winning initiative was eventually expanded to include programs covering other vulnerable sectors, including farmers, fisherfolk, persons with disabilities, and women in challenging situations, among others.

These initiatives are aligned with PLDT and Smart’s efforts to help the country achieve UNSDG #10 on reducing inequality by empowering and promoting the social and economic inclusion of all, and underscore the PLDT Group’s commitment to assist in the government’s key digitalization efforts.

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News and Media Blog in Iloilo City, Philippines.

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