The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s voice of business, has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order on Satellite Access Liberalization to effect an immediate expanded Internet coverage and improve connectivity in the country.
“The fastest means is the signing of an Executive Order on Satellite Access Liberalization, which will allow internet service providers, including those without congressional franchise, to build their own network using satellite technology for Internet connectivity,” said PCCI President Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico during the Metro Manila Sulong Pilipinas, which had Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez as guest speaker.
The proposed EO should take effect while the internet bills are still pending at the legislative level.
Pending in the legislature are bills on Open Access in Digital Technology Act and Better Internet Connection Act, which aim to make it easier for prospective investors to enter in the broadband market.
“Technology, as we have seen, has and will continue to play a big role in responding to the challenge of survival, recovery, resilience and sustainability,” he said.
During an exchange of text messages, Yujuico told Business Bulletin that the law governing spectrum in the Philippines is based on 1932 regulations.
“Do you know that in the Philippines, one has to have a Congressional Franchise to establish a satellite broadband company? In other Asian countries, no congressional franchise needed,” said Yujuico.
He stressed that since the Philippines is an archipelagic country, it is more important to have internet connection everywhere, like Thailand.
For instance, he said, “If we want to do remote education, remote health delivery service, agricultural applications etc. etc.”
Aside from the proposed Malacanang Internet EO, the PCCI also continued to reiterate for the passage of another economic stimulus package under the proposed CREATE Act.
Yujuico said the proposed CREATE Act would augment the P165.5 billion economic stimulus under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
He lauded Dominguez for having a conservative stimulus program because of the uncertainty of the length and depth of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic fall-out, calling Bayanihan 2 is on “solid
But he also noted that economists are now saying that the substantial stimulus packages of developed economies could mire local businesses in debt that could lead to a situation worse than the Great Depression.
He agreed though with the government’s position to ensure “that we continue to have a robust fiscal resource to turn to, as we rebuild our economy and develop our own production capabilities and domestic markets.”
He lauded the determination of the national leadership to pursue infrastructure build-up and promote agriculture modernization and self-sufficiency. “These two economic sectors are recognized to have multiplier effects and economic benefits that are higher than fiscal interventions,” he said.