HOR COMPLEX, Quezon City (DWDD) – The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology laid down its legislative priorities and thrusts for the 17th Congress, which include improving public access to the internet and communications services, cyber security and enactment of bills on telecommunications services and standards, among others.
Members of the committee chaired by Rep. Victor Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) discussed their priorities
and raised issues about the quality of service of telecommunications companies in the country.
“This organizational meeting of the committee for the 17th Congress will target enactment of bills on open access interconnections and convergence, enactment of bills for Free Wi-Fi connection in public areas, bills on cyber bullying, cyber security and cyber fraud, enactment of bills on telecommunications service and standards, and most importantly, the possibility of institutionalizing the establishment of Philippine Big Data Centers and e-government master plan,” said Yap.
Rep. Enrico A. Pineda (Party-list, 1-PACMAN) criticized the two telecommunications companies in the country for poor and expensive cellular and internet services despite a study showing an improved internet speed in the country.
Rep. Aniceto D. Bertiz III (Party-list, ACTS OFW) questioned the establishment of shared government information system for migrants.
Secretary Rodolfo Salalima of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) explained that the establishment of the shared government information system can be answered by the iGovPhil Project and the national broadband project.
It was also brought up during the hearing that one problem hindering the telecommunications companies from putting up more cell sites is the numerous permits needed to put up even just a single cell tower.
According to Smart Communications representative lawyer Sherwin de Joya, a single tower could require up to 30 permits from local and national agencies.
Meanwhile, Salalima said the DICT has not yet formalized its own legislative agenda for the improvement of policies needed by the department.
“Since the department is just four months old, we have not yet finalized the policies that we need to suggest. But I have reviewed the proposed House bills and these are appropriate measures because it raised issues of privacy, improving public access in the internet and communication services,” said Salalima.
Other legislative agenda of the committee includes amending outdated provisions of Republic Act 7925 or the “Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines” as well as the Commonwealth Act 146 or the “Public Service Act of 1936.”
The committee also discussed the realization of a national broadband plan and the accelerated deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies to improve internet speed.
Yap emphasized the urgent need for the government to enhance assistance to the public through accessible and affordable internet services. CONGRESS / MCAG