Brand & BusinessPress Release

PLDT and Smart support visually impaired persons with digital training for everyday tasks

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, together with non-profit organization ATRIEV, successfully trained 20 visually impaired persons in using the Android Accessibility Suite program so they can maximize the use of their smartphones for daily living. 

“PLDT and Smart have long championed digital inclusion, accessibility, and innovation. Together with our partners, we support learning programs that break barriers and ensure that no one is left behind,” said Stephanie Orlino, AVP and Head of Stakeholder Management at PLDT and Smart

The PLDT Group partnered with ATRIEV, which empowers visually impaired persons through technology-enabled assistive programs, which conducted the free five-day learning program. 


The trainers, who are themselves visually impaired, coached participants on how to operate Android devices with the help of a TalkBack screen reader. The technology enables them to use Android-based smartphones independently. 

The course featured learning sessions on angle gestures or two-part swipes that help students open and close menus, toggle between pages and operate other essential Android-based applications. 

It also demonstrated the use of an onscreen keyboard in composing messages and filling out forms and search boxes. Participants were also taught how to download and install applications. 

Thelma Alcantara, a voice talent and a radio drama scriptwriter who was born blind, said, “I realized that with the advent of technology, smartphones greatly help in productivity, especially for blind persons like me. Through the training, I have added new tasks I can do on my own like booking my own ride. It’s now easier for me to attend online or virtual meetings.” 

PLDT and Smart’s partnership with ATRIEV is an opportunity to assist and help improve the quality of life of the visually impaired sector through “Inclusive Technology.” This effort highlights the PLDT Group’s commitment to the “Social” pillar of its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) framework. 

Co-sponsored by PLDT and tucked under its Infoteach program, the training is also supported by the National Council on Disability Affairs, NORFIL Foundation, and Liliane Fonds

The Infoteach program underscores PLDT and Smart’s efforts to help the nation meet UN Sustainability Development Goal 10 on reducing inequality by empowering and promoting the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, including persons with disabilities. It also helps underscore the PLDT Group’s commitment to innovation and digital inclusion, and to assist in the government’s key digitalization efforts. The PLDT Group is a founding member of the Digital Infrastructure pillar of the presidential Private Sector Advisory Council or PSAC.

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